When we wish to improve our life we assume we need to make radical changes. We look for some programme or person who will fundamentally change our life. However, with this attitude we forget that we can radically change our life just by making a few small changes.
Try these suggestions and consider what impact they have.
When you are standing in a line waiting for slow customer service, instead of getting frustrated see this as an opportunity to remain calm and peaceful. Many people regularly get upset and angry because of small defects in the quality of a good / service. However, becoming upset does not help in any way; all you do is to try and spread your unhappiness. The next time you are victim to an unavoidable delay, don’t lose your equanimity, but be patient. If you can retain peace of mind in these situations you life will benefit immeasurably. All we are trying to do is change our habitual response and perspective to these unavoidable events.
A smile costs nothing, but it creates a powerful positive vibration. When we smile we are offering our good will to the other person. Furthermore, this good will is much more effective than anything we can say. We should not just smile at our friends, but also at those who cause us consternation. If our smile is sincere it can remove many negative feelings and defuse tense situations. People will unconsciously respond positively to us when we smile. Whatever the situation, smiling will help. Research also suggests that smiling helps ourselves.
Smile, my heart, smile.
Your smile means so much to me,
Your smile feeds my reality within,
Your smile liberates me from world-clamour and
Smile, my heart, smile.
Smile at least once in a while.
- Sri Chinmoy
It only takes a moment, but if we appreciate the efforts / presence of other people, it will create much goodwill. Our gratitude does not have to be an ostentatious display of affection. It may merely be a recognition of someone’s efforts. To recognise someone’s efforts is, in a way, to offer gratitude to that person. In particular, try to offer gratitude to people who are working without demanding immediate recognition. Offering gratitude also helps ourselves; by appreciating the good qualities of others we help to make these part of ourselves. Gratitude is therefore a powerful antidote to developing jealousy.
Don’t do Two Things at once.
Quite often I try to do several things at once, especially when I have my computer turned on. However, when I concentrate on only one thing at a time, it is much more effective and powerful. Doing one thing at a time enables great focus and it relieves us of much tension. Whatever we do, we should try to give it our undivided attention. When we eat food, don’t try to read the newspaper as well. When we speak to a friend, don’t be thinking of a work problem. By concentrating on only thing we will do things quicker and better.
Do something Good Without demanding recognition.
It is easy to do one good deed in the day. However, the problem is that we also feel that this deed deserves recognition and praise. If we can work without demanding recognition, people will eventually appreciate our selfless service. But, importantly if we can work without a demand for recognition we are acting with the best selfless motives; through this we can make tremendous progress and gain inner peace.
Avoid Gossip and say something positive.
If people at work or at home are criticising somebody, go against the prevailing mood and find something positive to say about the person. Even if this person deserves to be criticised, it does not help to magnify his negative qualities. If you can find something positive to say, it will help immensely.
Remove One desire from your endless list.
At any one point in time, we have countless desires for material things and for outer recognition. Try making a list and then cross of at least one of these desires. If we can reduce our desires and expectations we can learn to appreciate that happiness does not depend on the fulfilment of desire.
Photo and Article by: Tejvan Pettinger, Oxford Sri Chinmoy Centre.