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Ten Practices That Can Dramatically Change Your Life
By Dr. Ray Angelini
April 17, 2007
A wise man (or woman) once said that "We teach what we most need to learn." In that vein, I wanted to once again share with you some spiritual wisdom that has been truly life-altering for me. Please know that by no means do I have these practices mastered. Mastery is a lifelong process and our focus needs to be on progress, not perfection. The following 10 practices were developed by the late Thomas Leonard. It is my hope that they will be as impactful for you as they continue to be for me.
Be fully present in the moment.
Being fully in the present means that you are not distracted by thoughts of the past or future. On average, about 80 percent of our daily thoughts are about the past or future. That is a tremendous waste of energy. Learn to become fully engaged in what's taking place in the exact moment, and watch what happens.
I know that you are probably tired of hearing about the benefits of meditation. You may have even concluded that it is not for you. If you have, I encourage you to rethink your position. Deriving benefits from meditation requires patience and practice, both of which are usually in short supply in most people's lives. It usually takes three to six months to begin to notice significant changes due to meditation, but it is definitely worth the wait.
Most of our daily activity is dictated in whole, or in part, by external demands. To act deliberately is to act in a manner that is not dictated by externals, but rather is based on a deep internal calm. Instead of reacting to whatever emotion is being triggered by the given person or situation, you respond in a calm and appropriate manner. Acting deliberately takes practice and requires monitoring your actions regularly. Again, this requires effort, but if you try it, you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference that it makes.
Develop a sense of pace.
Everything and everyone in life has a rhythm. Developing pace means being in tune with your own natural rhythm. The key to developing rhythm is to be relaxed. Approach everything in a relaxed manner and you'll be amazed how different you and those you interact with will respond.
Withdraw and recharge regularly.
All of our great spiritual leaders took time on a regular basis to recharge. Acting deliberately and with a sense of pace require a sense of calm and full presence. We cannot sustain this unless we refresh and replenish regularly.
Take steps to eliminate anything and anyone in your environment that drains your energy.
Clean off your desk, turn off the television; distance yourself from those who use you to meet their own needs. Someone once described a master as one from which everything extraneous has been removed. Mastery, in its highest sense, is purity. When you eliminate the unnecessary, you purify.
Commit to service.
True success is measured by what you give, not by what you get. When you start focusing more on giving rather than receiving, good things come into your life more effortlessly and life becomes easier. Opportunities to serve present themselves daily. All you have to do is pay attention and take action.
Stop chasing your mission.
Become fully engaged in the present and let your mission find you. I assure you, it will come, and when it does, you will know it.
Let go of your attachments.
Everything to which you are attached restricts your freedom. Letting go of our attachments is absolutely necessary in order to attain peace and serenity. The key is to make letting go a joyous act rather than a personal sacrifice.
To love unconditionally means to love without any strings attached. It's the toughest kind of love, because it is most often required in situations that can best be described as unjust and unfair. Unconditional love is necessary because it is the greatest source of healing in the universe. So, begin practicing unconditional love with your friends, relatives, co-workers, and acquaintances.
Any one of these practices, consistently followed, can make a huge difference in your life. So don't delay, start changing your life today.