Development of a practice is a very personal endeavor. It entails a desire for true fulfillment and the strength to open our eyes. It involves the courage to look upon aspects of ourselves we may not love, with compassion and acceptance. It requires understanding that self-transformation is a life-long quest without a tangible beginning or end. It means giving up the safety and security of the habits that bind us, for the balance and peace that will set us free. ~ The Un-Acquisitional Quest
The reasons for taking up personal practice are as unique as the individuals practicing. But, before designing a routine that works with our minds at the depth required to develop lasting change, a singular element must first be considered: motivation. Exploring the impetus to engage each day with our fullest potential is just one spark igniting the inspirational fire. Sustaining this enthusiasm is equally critical and involves examining the ideals supporting our desire for growth — the fuel shifting our practice from inspiration into action.
Uncovering our values is a critical factor in creating this momentum, particularly during the foundational stages, when our practice is most fragile. There are certain truisms most of us comprehend. We all know that personal relationships are more valuable than money. Time with loved ones is more precious than possessions; and a healthy body generates more gratification than temporary satiation.
Behaviors however, are not driven by intellect.
We are emotional creatures that act instinctively and habitually, and as years pass it becomes more challenging to train ourselves to behave differently. Every decision we make today impacts how our future unfolds. It is in this continuum that the you of this moment, will always make the decisions that ensures the you of tomorrow is a happier, stronger and more balanced individual. Decisions will also be made that are not in line with this objective.
Our time on this planet is finite. Even a belief in rebirth doesn’t change the instinctive feeling that this is our only ride on the merry-go-round. Without memories pointing in another direction, our limited exposure to living, is seen through a very small portal. This lends to an issue within our society that is rarely addressed and almost always ignored — we will all face death. There is no getting around this point, no matter the wealth, fame, power or possessions we accumulate.
Using lifespan expectations as a benchmark, we are provided a relative idea of how many years we’ve got left. This inevitable process of aging can be approached with a clear, calm mind, reasonably healthy body and a gradual maneuvering of our priorities to where they belong — or not. With this, we are being presented with a generous opportunity to assess our lives. There will not be a better time to accept this gift.
Taking pen to paper, spend fifteen minutes to answer the following two questions:
- What does realizing personal happiness mean to you?
- Why is this important?
Do not move on until a clear idea of what this sense of happiness and contentment represents and why this means something to you. Now, consider the response to question number two. Ask yourself — Why is this particular aspect of satisfaction important to me? Then ask yourself why this response is important. Continue this method of inquiry, refining the answer until it’s been reduced to a single word. The word is special. It’s worth the energy to discover it’s meaning.
Once a single word has been discovered, briefly contemplate how it relates to your life. Think about your morning. Upon waking, what were your first thoughts? Were the qualities of this expression present? Throughout your day, did you feel the undercurrent of related values? How about interactions with colleagues, loved ones and acquaintances — what where they like? Which exchanges felt conducive to growing your connection with these qualities and which were in opposition?
When our lives are merrily rolling along, we may not question the intentions driving our actions. It is often only during periods of crisis — a divorce, death, unemployment, health complications or simply an unexplained awakening, that we begin to closely scrutinize our circumstances. Think about the experiences in your past that have left you significantly changed and contemplate the congruency of these events within your current views of fulfillment.
Identifying that something more is hovering just outside our periphery can be both exhilarating and frightening. The cultural framework, which supports the leisure time and wealth we’ve grown accustomed to, is often also blinding. The exceptional fortune we are presented with — the privilege to choose between constellations of alternatives, is beyond extraordinary. The culmination of actions from our past is now opening windows of opportunity, the alignment of which, are extremely rare. Developing the courage to walk through these portals, in search of our ultimate potential, is one of these choices.
Embarking upon this self-revolution is the first step. Understanding why, is the next. Along the quest, others heading in the same direction will impart the encouragement, reassurance, and wisdom necessary to keep moving forward. Our guideword will provide a beacon, lighting the way.
Yet, realizing the truest vision of who we are, is not a destination.
And a word is not going to change your life.
~ by Christine Fowle
~ Cover Image Credit: MachiavelliCro (deviant art)
~ Embedded Image Credit: www.zastavki.com
This post was inspired, in part, by an abstract written by Satinder Dhiman, Personal Mastery: Our Quest for Self-Actualization, Meaning, and Highest Purpose. It’s a gorgeous read and worth taking the time to enjoy.