I may be different in my interests, make and abilities to others but that affects what and how I do. But why of life — the underlying purpose and guiding principles of determining success remain common for all. Would like to share some of these I got exposed to in my self-learning journey. These help everyone in maintaining a sense of direction and avoid decision fatigue.
It means I am there totally present where ever I am — not divided into past and future, aware of my being or doing. Awareness wells up if I pay attention to attention quality and sustain the purity of intent.
If that is not the case then I need to review why what and how of my key choices. Awareness is a fundamental aspect of everything that I get involved in.
With more awareness in life, mind clutter should reduce and should wander less and lesser. If there are more gaps in non-thinking awareness, then more peace and power will be available to us. Moreover, one who can be 100% present in the task can also come out of it 100% — making it safe for the brain.
For meaningful success, one has to choose the right things, do it right, and do it with pure intentions.
The degree of awareness will reveal a lot about my progress and hence I should keep this parameter in my tracking plate.
Doing work with pure intentions and quality attention, meditation, contemplation, journaling, spending time in nature, doing some selfless service projects, spending time with loved ones with full attention — all this helps in making one more aware in life.
The equanimity is the ability to stay calm and cool in all kinds of circumstances and outcomes. One ceases to react to likes and dislikes at body, mind or intellect level.
Usually, the pattern is — if I don’t see things happening in my way, I get upset and react to it. Or if things happen in my favor I feel excited and cling to circumstances or people. In either case, I weaken the mind and miss the appropriate response, and deepen further the mental conditioning.
Reactivity is one of the deepest patterns and is the key difference between a robot and a human being.
Equanimity is yet another powerful way to check the self-progress in life. This is utmost need of life to remain healthy, sane and in the flow.
Nature will place me into situations that will test my equanimity. And often that will hit the weakness hidden in my core to cleanse away. If I am aware and equanimous then Nature succeeds in helping me free up the clutter stored. Or else if I interfere and react then my emotional reactivity increases.
So one needs to learn to stay calm and nonjudgmental during hard times. Everything passes sooner or later, reacting to the situation only complicates the matter.
The challenges may come in any form, any taste, and any proportions. It can be at body level like conveniences or discomforts. Or at mind levels like annoyances, oppositions, arguments or favors, compliments, and acknowledgments.
One should make every effort to learn not to react and remain equanimous. Equanimous life is a pure life — it is a seat of power and freedom.
3. Struggles in relationships
If I am doing good in all spheres of life then all my relationships will reflect that. My interactions will be loving, natural, and devoid of any struggles. I may choose to drop out of some but that will not leave any serious judgments or grievances. My communications will be open, free, and uncomplicated.
This is one of the sure sort parameters to rely on to check holistic growth. Because when I am growing then I become conscious of taking charge of any mess or suffering. I do not blame that on the other even if other apparently looks to be the cause.
I realize clearly that I am the owner of my inner space and until I approve nobody else can disturb my peace. That deepens my wisdom that nobody else to blame for any suffering experienced inside us.
This realization will have an immensely positive effect on all my relationships. As it encourages me to take the charge and correct within first. As a result, people will feel more comfortable and peaceful in my company.
With this understanding, my interpretations change, perspectives become clearer and purer. I endeavor to keep my inside clear, and able to give space and freedom to other.
The summary is
- The health of my relationships reflects my holistic progress.
- For any issues that I observe in my inner space, the other should not be held responsible.
- How can my suffering be caused by other? Never. Or else nobody on this earth can ever be free. Knowing this truth is great freedom and changes the focus of expectations of change from other to self.
With my consistent growth, my degree of faith should also improve. And the more confidence I have the less worried I will be about the future.
Whenever there is self-doubt lingering in mind, one should do introspection. Few questions one may ask to check his confidence.
How committed I am for removing harmful patterns from my life?
How much I care about fulfilling promises made to self?
How much I care about my long-term goals?
How well I apply what I learn in life from my own experiences and surroundings?
How dependable I am when given some responsibility?
5. Peace and stillness
Nature gifts everyone with peace and stillness at the end of every worthy project. Small or big, ordinary or special, if executed without greed for credit or attachment to outcomes.
Ego investment in any tasks creates worries about outcomes and struggles to secure credit for the work done.
Attachment to outcomes makes one vulnerable to distractions during the process and anxious about the results at the end.
Mostly, such mindsets miss the peace that descends post tasks completion. And usually queues up the next task in mind and increases the mental clutter.
So peace is also one of the jewels to safeguard in life. Peace and stillness is a seat of power — all ideas and inspiration come from a place of stillness only.
Imagine what will happen to a person not having enough sleep? He/she will go mad. Similarly, if I miss the peace and stillness in my daily routines then I am nearing madness for sure. And it is naturally gifted if I stay away from ego-driven projects, value needs over greed, balance focus and detachment, balance activity and rest, keep improving over unhealthy patterns.
It is a vicious loop that to fill the emptiness within I do a hundred things to find peace and those very things clutter my mind and distance further from the peace within. The more I lose peace the more I repeat faulty behaviors.
So one has to review their moves, audit the routines and behaviors, learn and readjust for past mistakes, and above all never lose hope.
Stillness is so natural to all humans and is present within and not to be created by practice or any hard-work. The more I try for it, search it outside, the more I lose it.
If I stop all the search and effort, then peace is already there. Peace and stillness make happiness and emotional wellness stay longer. I have to align my life with the laws of nature.
Nature taps into my intentions and less concerned about what one does. If that is pure and attention is not scattered then it is certain that I will be rewarded with peace and stillness at the end of the tasks.
First, let’s be clear on what does it mean to be powerful. It doesn’t mean I can do whatever I wish — that is insanity. Rather it is about letting happen what should be done and not letting happen what should not be done. To be able to hold back no matter how strong is the momentum created by external or internal pressure.
Most people do certain things, think certain thoughts, spend time on addictive behaviors and later on repent on time and energy lost. Things don’t feel like in control and on track.
So, power means to be able to hold back self from doing what in one’s own wisdom should not be done. Stopping is not easy and is actually much more important than what one should be doing.
What I should do is dependent on how good I am at stopping what I should not do.
If I am on track in my holistic progress then power within me should increase. A simple check is — Am I doing any harm in any way to anyone including myself?
This reserves strength for all valuable projects and rejoicing the fullness of life.
Selfless love, compassion or empathy — all these qualities are actually the real wealth of a human being. Love is the nectar of life without which people are simply machines who have learned to think. Without emotional wellness — inner emptiness, loneliness, busy-ness, stress become the normal state of humans.
If humans are growing in a balanced way then it is most natural to feel connected to each other. And understand each other better, share inspiration and energy.
This is the deepest need of every human being — to love and to be loved, to feel important. To be noticed and respected, to take interest and be friendly.
In a healthy state, one would respond with happiness in other’s successes and with compassion in other’s miseries. And in an unhealthy state, happiness and compassion for others will be replaced by jealousy and indifference.
8. Freedom from negativity
This is the first thing that will get cleared away if I am doing good in life. But negativity has deep roots and is an ultimate blocker of all goodness and joy in life. It keeps lingering in life in various shades and intensities.
By negativity, I mean unconscious reactions, suppressed anger, frustrations, sadness, boredom, impatience, ambition, useless desires, compulsiveness, cut-throat competitive attitude, complaints. And literally, everything that is unnatural, detrimental to life, and ego-created.
Accumulated negativity present inside us serves the basis for all reactions triggered. Through reactive behavior, negativity keeps renewing itself.
My judgments of experiences in the form of likes and dislikes pile up in deep layers of mind (often termed conditioning) which drives all human behaviors.
The more I live in the moment consciously, compassionately, and responsibly then I get good at dodging the reactive patterns.
And eventually, even the deep-seated patterns are eradicated over the period. All my actions and thoughts will rise from the place of love and compassion.
Hence this is also a perfect parameter to check the progress and take needful action.
I have suffered a lot from confusion and decision fatigue about many things. It took a big chunk of my life to reach a clear understanding of signs and parameters of real success.
I wish that my fellow beings do not waste as much time as I did. Hence whenever there is confusion then:
- Refer to this list of parameters and pick up which one is relevant to the current situation and then reflect.
- If needed, review WHY, HOW and WHAT of key choices and try to align as per the introspection pointers.
- Sometimes introspection may not lead to any concrete conclusion and all above parameters may also appear okay. Because there are traces of fears, shame, guilt or self-doubt seen in the inner space due to old conditioning. So let those pass by without judgment or reaction. Gradually one becomes trained in identifying false alarms and able to ignore and sustain the focus on priorities.