Some Good Advice for the Soul

MeditationThe Ririan Project blog almost always has great tips on personal development, but today’s post, Get Your Soul In Shape With These 11 Most Deeply Held Wisdoms, was fantastic. Many people only focus on how to have a nice looking outer appearance, but utterly fall short in terms of having a beautiful spirit as well. While many of the ideas included on the list are probably second nature to some yogis, I imagine that you might find some new ideas for living more peacefully, such as by hanging your troubles on a tree (see #4) or developing compassion by saving tears in a cup (see #11). Here’s the list:

1. Learn to quiet your mind.

Is your mind awash in all kinds of debris – trivia, worries, “to do” lists? We tend to be unaware that we are thinking virtually all the time. The incessant stream of thoughts flowing through our minds leaves us very little respite for inner quiet.

But our most valuable and profound moments in life happen when our thoughts become momentarily quiet, and we open up to a direct heartfelt encounter with the world around us. So try some very basic meditation and remember, you’re striving for a quiet, focused mind. Don’t be discouraged. Learning to quiet your mind may take some time. Just keep trying.

2. Develop the happiness habit.

And do this by always looking at the bright side of life and endeavoring to be happy. Don’t let some outer circumstances decide your happiness for you. Happiness is here, within you. Just calm your mind and stay relaxed, and you will experience it. Happiness is inherent in our souls; it is not something to be gained anew, and all that is necessary to do is to uncover it.

3. Just lighten up.

Lighten up. Spring is here at last. The sun is shining, birds are singing and life in general seems that little bit brighter. G.K. Chesterton wrote: “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” And what works for angels can’t help but be good for us. Levity addresses worry’s tendency to obsess, scoffs at the demon of perfectionism, and exposes the self-absorption that lies at the root of unhappiness.

4. Hang up your troubles.

Before entering your house at night, walk over to a tree and close your eyes for a moment. Rather than taking your worries inside your house, hang them on that “worry tree.” You won’t believe how well it works, and when you’ll pause in the morning to collect your worries, most of them will be gone.

5. Develop tolerance, patience, tact and consideration for others.

Respect is key to our ability to function. It really is following this simple rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It is the value that makes the world a more decent and civilized place. And when you learn to acknowledge, accept, and value yourself and others you fundamentally shift your perspective in a way that changes how you think and act. So develop tolerance, tact, patience, respect and consideration for others.

6. Soulful housekeeping.

When you want clarity, joy or sexiness – de-clutter on the basis of your intention for a room. Be brave, be bold, be relentless. Once a room is set up, when you bring one thing in, take one thing out. You have to attend to it the way you attend to a garden. It’s about how you nurture yourself: if you’re not doing it with your home, you’re not doing it with yourself. De-cluttering is about the transformation of self. The relief you feel when you let go is amazing. You cannot carry your life around with you.

7. Conjuring everyday bliss.

To be happy we don’t need beauty, but we must accept and like ourselves. Instead of fame, we need optimism. Rather than wealth, we need a purpose. We don’t have to have a special talent but need a job or activities we enjoy. We need wisdom rather than intelligence, autonomy rather than conformity. Happy people resist social pressure and exert personal control. The things needed for happiness are all within our control, and we can work toward them. Act now!

8. Unwrap the present.

Accept the past, focus on the present and don’t stress about the future. The past is over and the future so uncertain. Nostalgia dwells on loss, and expectation is often nothing more than premeditated resentment. But when you reject them both – by wanting what you have, doing what you can, and being who you are – the gift of time is yours to savor.

9. Pray for someone you hate.

Have you ever tried to pray for someone you haven’t forgiven or you hold anger? Hatred was never good for the soul so close your eyes and imagine your enemy’s face in your mind; and then pray, “May so-and-so find peace within his or her soul.” It always works, you simply can’t hate a person and pray for him at the same time.

10. Take the love drug.

What does science know about love? Not much at all. But we do know that people who are in committed relationships and people who are sexually expressive are less depressed; a romantic-love relationship allows both partners to fill their physical, emotional, and intellectual needs without any losses or compromises. Such a relationship provides major personal benefits and increased pleasures from life. So immerse your soul in some love.

11. Pool your tears.

Learn from the ancient Hebrews, they kept tear cups on their mantels – those little porcelain cups in which they saved their tears. Next time you’re crying, try blessing your tears as they fall. And when others grieve, recognize your own tears in their eyes. When we pool our tears, they do everyone a world of good. When we wallow in them, we drown alone.

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