Today I want to dive into a couple of things that I have been working on for myself and really what I would classify as basic first principles. This is all in the realm of going deep into our mind and as always it is not about creating 'rules' as opposed to markers for us to be able to check where we're at. These principles are things that I have been gathering up over the last couple of weeks, simply because I have noticed them starting to creep into my mind, so I hope you find some value in these as well;
1. Stop Criticising other people - the sound coming out of your mouth can be toxic. When I took a step back and looked at where some of my frustrations were coming from, I started to notice that I was living with so much criticism in my mind. This does not mean we get rid of discernment, there is nothing more important in the world today then our capacity for critical thought. But the condemning language that happens on a regular basis, be it in our heads or the literal words we speak, does not serve and is really only there to make us feel superior or serve the ego. Finding fault with other people and how you would 'do things so much better', can consume your mind and be toxic in your thoughts.
2. Become more tolerant - Dealing with life's situations as they are and stop blaming the world for your circumstances. Don't find fault in what is happening around and remember that we have the ability to choose to be more empathetic, compassionate and tolerant in everything we do.
3. "I take no offence" - Meaning I will not get offended on a regular basis. This is a powerful one as being offended can only come from you, no one can actually offend you. It is also the cool way to be these days, the media loves to show all the views that we might find offensive (ultimately leading to criticism). On occasions, we think people have something against us or we hold resentment to a person who might have something against us. The thing is, this can only lead to distrust in the world, which leads to us carrying the burden of resentment around with us. Sometimes people do hurt us like deliberately go out of their way to wrong us. Yet still, this pillar stands. I love the idea that nothing is happening to me, rather it is happening for me. This offence is there as an opportunity for me to actively practice these pillars and challenge myself in relation to them. So in this situation, it's worth being empathetic and reaching out to support this person, we shouldn't be heartless in other peoples suffering.
4. See the good in others and let them know - Instead of looking at what people are doing wrong, take some time to look at what they are doing right and share that with them. This is huge in this day and age as it is so easy to hate and judge. If we lock into our world views, it is so easy now to find fault in others, but really what we are looking for is what is good in them. There is a danger in seeing the world as us and them. This happens because we forget the similarities between them and us, not focusing on the differences and then share our appreciation for them. This will be a relationship saver in your day to day life as well, by sharing this appreciation you will create power in your world that is beyond anything you can imagine.
5. Quick to apologise & apologise Sincerely - When you have done something and you need to regain integrity, we need to apologise and we need to do it sincerely. It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity. You have to have a high level of personal security to show your vulnerability and take responsibility when you are out of integrity. "It is the weak who are cruel, gentleness can only be expected from the strong". It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, the mistake of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.
6. Being grateful for how fortunate we are - Another way I like to say this one is, check your privilege. But checking our privilege isn't simply acknowledging that "there are people in Africa starving so I should feel lucky". It is diving deep into what we believe we deserve. In the end, it all boils down to the fact that we live in an interconnected world. So when you believe you deserve something, you should be also appreciating that what you deserve should not be causing suffering further down the chain. This is why ethical consumerism is so important. Fundamentally, you cannot offset your responsibility for the reduction of suffering. Every choice you make, daily, contributes to a cause and tells the world what you believe to be praiseworthy behaviour or not. By taking the time to be grateful for the luck we have had in our existence is always a humbling experience and on a personal level, it will allow you to appreciate the world around you more.
Take what you will from these points and I hope they are helpful to you as they have been for me over the last couple of weeks. This is a forever process and sometimes having little markers like this help pull our minds back to a place where we can show up as who we want to be in this world!