This is part 3 in a series of articles looking at the path to happiness and living your values. Please read part 1 and part 2. Or read part 1 in Spanish. Thank you and Enjoy.
Choosing Perspective Over External Conditions part 3
The second step in this process is to live what you value. This step obviously takes more practice than the first one, but is not complicated. All that is required to live your value is to observe your actions, your words, and your thoughts and see if these are aligned with what it is you value. It is a simple trial and error process. From the place you begin it is likely you are very far from where you want to be. For this reason it is important you remember to be like nature in how you seek your goals and to live the present moment. The present moment is all that exists. Everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen all occur within the present moment. It is critical a person understands this. If a person doesn’t understand this they will use methods to achieve their values that go against their values. This occurs in anyone who sees time as linear and that they can create a future which will make it worth it to sacrifice the present moment. This means people will create pain for themselves and others now in order to achieve what they value at a future time. Every tyrant has used this method of thinking. They create hell now to reach heaven later. The ends always justify the means. If someone creates pain now it means that in some way they see that pain as valuable or useful to them.
Each experience you have you can align your behavior a little more closely to what you value. You simply observe, analyze, and change your actions. This process is 100% certain to succeed for anyone as long they do not quit or give up. Eventually you will live your values totally and they will be constant for you. This is impossible to fail at because as long as you truly observe and question yourself in an honest way you will keep finding more answers in how to reach your value just by looking at what produces your desired state and what does not. The best part is this all comes from your very own first-hand experience of your life. No one can convince you it didn’t happen. You will know when you are right because you have experienced your behaviors first-hand. There is no faith involved in this process. Any fool could master this. In my own experience through this process I noticed that thinking a lot always prolonged negativity, but focused and honest thought was useful. It helps to practice focusing your attention on a task. Meditation is a great supplement to this practice, as well as any activity where all of your attention is on what you are doing in the present moment. To give a few examples, my favorite ways to practice the present moment are to exercise, read or learn from videos, and to talk with friends. These are what help me put myself in the present because while I am doing those activities I know that there isn’t something more important to be thinking or worried about. Focus yourself on the situation that is at hand and whatever is going on within that situation. This concept can be difficult to grasp. I strongly recommend the power of now by Eckhart Tolle for anyone who wants a very detailed explanation on living in the now.
Begin trying to implement your inner state in your everyday life as often as possible. You of course will have many failures, but you simply learn from those mistakes and keep going. After practicing this enough you will find that your inner state, your state of mind, becomes invincible to all external circumstances. Nothing can shake you or trouble you all that much. Decisions and situations become very easy to deal with. This comes from an understanding of reality that is deep and genuine. Your inner state becomes like a deep body of water within you. Even if the surface is disturbed it doesn’t affect the depth of it. This may be why Buddhists name their greatest teachers Dalai Llama which translates to Ocean teacher. When you mess up and fall out of it you will come back to it faster and gradually you will mess up less often.
To a person who lives in the now they know that to achieve any goal requires a series of ordered steps. Their attention is focused on the step that they take in the present. For you, the steps will be questioning your thoughts and opinions in an introspective and logical way. It takes all of the steps to reach the top of the mountain, if you miss even one you will fall, take too few steps and you will not get there. Success is not achieved through overcoming a foe, clashes, or cataclysms. Success is achieved through constant and persistent movement towards a goal, just as nature continues to succeed despite all that humanity has done to it.
An important reminder: if you value compassion for example and you find yourself getting angry at people who hurt others you are not living your value while you are angry. This means you are normally compassionate, but when someone else is not compassionate your value suddenly changes to vengeance. This is very common because it is logical that if you want compassion you want others to follow it too. However you are only responsible for you, they are responsible for them. It would be absolutely insane to want to feel angry or scared or nervous so these types of feelings fade as you learn through your experience what reduces them or encourages them.
You will have to decide for yourself if you believe it is worth it to use negative emotions to achieve positive ones. In my own experience negative emotions are always an additional problem to whatever I am dealing with in my life. They have never resolved any issues in my life, they have never improved my quality of life, and they have never helped anyone else. The negative emotion is the problem. When you find yourself in a negative state do what you can to improve your feeling before you take any external actions. Focusing on breathing and practicing meditation which will help you carry your inner state into difficult circumstances.
How one manages to go through these negative emotions is to use the same method that nature uses. You know your value and in any given situation you will seek that value. If you can do something helpful – do it. If you cannot do anything do nothing. This implies that you do not need to complain. Complaining only hurts you, it never changes anything or solves any problems. It is pure negativity.
The cut grass does not complain or feel bad for itself, and neither should you when someone insults you, disrespects you, or betrays you. Those actions are the other person acting out their values, usually without questioning their actions. They are doing what they believe is best even if they do not know what is best. Why should you change what you value because of what they do? Do they know better than you?
The only reason you would want to feel upset over this is if being upset is something you value. What to do in life then becomes very simple and easy. As practical examples: is someone abusive to you? Leave them out of your life. Is someone doing something that upsets you? Talk to them to find out why they do that. Usually through understanding another person’s perspective you can talk to them in a way that is very influential. These two examples come from reason. They are obvious logical conclusions that build your value even stronger.
This is a very short explanation of a way of being that takes practice to master. It is a full shift in how one approaches life. To phrase it in a few simple sentences: put your attention on what you do, say, and especially what you think. Ask yourself if these actions of yours are what you want them to be. If you want them to be different change them towards whatever it is you value in the present. Do this first in your mind and thoughts, see it reflect in what you say, and watch it come naturally in your actions. Over time you will become deeply aware of yourself and gain immense self-control that becomes self-mastery. Even if you lose everything you have or die you will carry this way of being with you because it is you.
This world is full of people who will never realize what they could be. Full of people who will never question themselves and never control themselves. Full of people who will be pulled and controlled by all the rapid fluctuations of life’s uncertainties. You can be one of the people who make a difference in this world. You can be a center of strength and virtue in this insane world. All the people you know or do not know in this world need this from you now. All you have to do is choose it. Anyone may feel free to ask questions here in the comments section or email me for any clarification.
Thank you for reading
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