I hope you know that more than the external factors, it is you, yourself, who stops you from living, living your life of dreams. A lot of people are afraid of saying “Yes” to life. And why are they scared of opening up, to spread their wings, to scan new horizons? After all, who in their right mind would say no to joy, bliss and happiness? Do you know why? Primarily because from the early childhood we had to seek external affirmations, there was always someone around who would need to approve your actions, someone whose permission was necessary. Parents at home, teachers at school, bosses at work, friends in the society, governments, organizations, religious authorities, you name it.
Not only are we brought up in a conditioned environment but it is conditional too. Before you can have what you want, there is some condition you are expected to fulfill. Consider the following usual conversations most people go through in their lives:
Child and parent
“Can I have a candy?”
“Finish your dinner first!”
“Can I play?”
“After you finish your homework.”
“Can I watch TV?”
“Clean up your room first.”
“Go to sleep now!”
“Okay, I’m going to bed.”
“Make sure you brush your teeth first.”
“Can I take a day off from school today?”
Can I this, can I that, can I here, can I there, can I now, can I later and on and on and on, you fill in your own memories.
No, no, no, first do this, first do that. No, no, have you thought about this, have you thought about that etc. etc. Say Sorry, say Thank you, say Please.
Employee and boss
“Is it okay if I leave an hour early today?”
“Today? Are you serious?”
“I’m planning to go on a family vacation next month.”
“Next month? You know it’s the busiest time of the year.”
During your performance appraisal: “Your performance is good but you could improve in some areas. Congratulations, you get the maximum raise. Three percent.”
“Thank you.” The inflation rate is nine percent you say to yourself in your head.
“Can I ask you a question please?”, “I’m sorry for not meeting the project deadline.”, “Thank you so much…” and so on and so forth. You learn to utilize these golden words in a conditional environment. You are treated like a kid in a grownup body.
Imagine the nature of most conversations between two partners, with other family members, with your coworkers, other people in the society, with your accountant. Simple living made reasonably, if not unnecessarily, complex. And this is intelligence?
There is a difference between being childlike and being treated like a child. In a way, if you do not start living for yourself, this world will never let you graduate from your school. It will treat you as a child — forever telling you what is good or bad for you, feeding you with what it thinks is right for you. I hope you have had the time to reflect on how precious your life is. The difference between life and death is just that one breath, just one moment. You inhale but do not exhale, that is death. You exhale and do not inhale again, that is death.
All those infinite possibilities you could be exploring, flying several thousand feet up from the ground or being six feet under, it mostly depends on that one moment, between breathing versus not-breathing. If you are waiting for the work to finish, if you simply have to tick off a few items before you start being yourself, I am afraid such a moment will never come. I am not suggesting you run away from your responsibilities but if saying Yes to life is your priority, there are opportunities waiting for you. Now is the time to live, now is the moment to enjoy.
Mulla Nasrudin went with his friend to attend the funeral of a rich man. His friend was flabbergasted at the plush and luxury settings.
“Look at that coffin, it’s made from sandalwood,” he exclaimed, “and they have spent ten thousand gold coins on the decorations. See his dress, it’s made from handwoven silk! They are putting precious stones, gems and pearls next to him. The tombstone is made from exquisite marble.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Mulla, “now, that’s life!”
Do not deprive yourself of the joys just because you are not fulfilling certain conditions others have placed on you. As long as you are not hurting anyone, you are good. Live! Do what you have always wanted to do, be what you have always wished. Give yourself a chance, do not be so hard on yourself, give it a try. Now is the perfect time, for perfection is simply a perspective, and ‘now’ the only real moment.
Go on! Say Yes to life. Break free. Discover your own truth.
If living in the moment is the answer to living a life of dreams, let us further explore some of the practices that will help us live in the moment.
Art of Meditation
Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
Practice 1 to live in the moment: Meditation
How should I meditate? Which method is best for me? My mind doesn’t stay still when I meditate; how do I stop it from wandering off? When it comes to meditation, these are the three most common questions I get asked. Of course, the mind doesn’t stay still and that’s why we are meditating. I know what you mean though; the harder you try to meditate, the louder becomes the chatter. Patanjali calls it vritti, fluctuations of consciousness or thought-waves. And, meditation is the art of subduing the fluctuations to experience the supreme bliss known only to a quiet mind.
So, what is the best system of meditation since there seem to be many? This method, that method, this way, that way, this system, that system and so on and so forth. What’s noteworthy though is that most of these methods are actually good methods. They work but like any other system, they only work for those who persist. The problem is not with the method per se, it is with the practitioner. My advice? Go back to the basics. Sit down and concentrate or sit down and contemplate. Read more here.
Practice 2 to live in the moment: Mindfulness - Practicing Zen
Zen says, just let me be in the present moment, that even breathing is a blessing. If I can’t be happy with what I have now, I can never be happy with whatever I may have in the future.
An easy and beautiful way to experience Zen is to keep a flower at your desk at work, and perhaps one on your dining table and in your bedroom too. Don’t water it. Don’t replace it every day, either. Replace it only when it withers. Read more here.
Practice 3 to live in the moment: Compassion
Almost in all walks of life, if your inner strength, your focus, your efforts can outlive the adversities, you can succeed at pretty much anything you set your mind to. A compassionate heart leads to greater mental strength. It may sound paradoxical but compassion and tenacity are directly proportional to each other.
Today, I am sharing with you a powerful practice to gain inner strength, to purify yourself, to help you transform yourself emotionally, mentally, so you may be the person you have always wanted to be. Compassion is one of the shortest routes to divinity.
To learn how to demonstrate compassion – go here.
Practice 4 to live in the moment: Gratitude
Let me reiterate: gratitude is one of the most profound emotions. If you are grateful you become loving, blissful, peaceful, and calm automatically. Remaining calm or being at peace, to be able to love anyone and everyone are the natural outcomes of a grateful soul.
In a way, gratitude is not just about being thankful, it is about being gracefully thankful with tolerance, with acceptance and contentment.
Practice gratitude and I promise you will experience the dawning of a transformation within you, keep at it, and you will amaze yourself before long. Gratitude is not always about grand gestures, it may range from a sincere thank you to an act of extraordinary compassion. Let me spell out the practice for you – here.
Practice 5 to live in the moment: Random Acts of Kindness
An unexpected gift at an unexpected time given to an unexpected (or even unsuspecting) person with no expectations in return is a random act of kindness, a kind gesture for someone who is not expecting it from you.
When you regularly do random acts of kindness, one day, something amazing happens — Nature chooses you as the subject for its random act of kindness. Such kind acts are always happening in the Universe, at every moment, to millions out there. Read more here.
If you are interested in exploring kindness further get a copy of The Book of Kindness – this book will help you understand, practice and master kindness, the key to inner bliss and fulfilment, and the only means to attain the happiness that you seek.
Practice 6 to live in the moment: Practice non-judgment
In my humble view, our first emotion towards anyone should be compassion, let’s give them the benefit of doubt. Due to our upbringing and the way our brain functions, we can’t stop judging people. It comes to us naturally. We look at a man lying by the roadside and we believe he must be drunk, whereas he might have just suffered a heart attack. Based on race, appearance, clothes, speech and so on, we quickly label the other person. This unwholesome way of making sense of our surroundings and people around us is non-spiritual and unreasonable. Read more here.
Practice 7 to live in the moment: Make charity a habit
Charity is a deeply spiritual act.
Charity is not just measured in monetary donations. Compassion too is charity as is empathy. When you help someone in any which way you can, you are exercising charity. It could be as simple as helping a lady stow her luggage in the overhead compartment on the plane, or giving that window seat to the child next to you. Giving a smile to the one who hurt you is charity too as is sharing your bread.
Interestingly, not surprisingly though, thesauri list the following synonyms for the word charity. Compassion, kindness, sympathy, kind-heartedness, graciousness, consideration, concern, tolerance, leniency. When you practice or feel any of these, you are exercising charity.
Charity is not an expense or a gift. It is your contribution to the society. Read more here.
Practice 8 to live in the moment: Keep it simple - learn to flow with life
The moment we start seeing life as something we flow with as opposed to something we have to make, our perspective changes naturally. Unnecessary struggle takes a back seat and you become increasingly aware of where you need to surrender versus when you ought to take charge.
Not all shades of life will appeal to us but they are there for a purpose. Sometimes, it helps to let Nature paint our canvas, to say to life “take me where you want”, to accept the wisdom of the universe. We don’t always have to burden ourselves to make things, to make them right or make them now. Sometimes, all we have to do is to be patient and let go. At times, we must allow life to manifest the way it wants to. Read more here.