Sometimes it is good to look at life from a different perspective and offer ourselves challenges. Challenges don’t have to be physical challenges of running a marathon or climbing a mountain. These questions test our inner attitude to life; it tests how much we hang onto our ego and how much we can be liberated from the confines of the mind. They are not necessarily easy to do, but, it is an interesting experience and offers a different perspective on life.
Could you get Joy from Your Enemies Achievement?
Think of a person that you dislike or someone who just irritates you. Suppose that they did something really great for the world, how would you feel? Would you be happy and proud they had at last done something good? Or would you be unable to offer appreciation, feeling a mixture of jealousy and pride that you are still better than them. If we can appreciate people who have irritated us, it means we have a magnanimous heart. It means we can detach from insignificant problems and worries. Too often we allow certain things to permanently cloud our judgement and opinion of others.
Feel Grateful for Criticism
We like praise, we dislike criticism. This is an instinctive view of life. However, it is often very difficult to receive criticism in the right way. The problem is that when criticised we feel personally offended, even though the criticism is for maybe a small action. Maybe the criticism is unjustified, but, also maybe it spot on. Even if criticism is offered with unkind words, it can still contain very good advice which can help us improve. If we just took criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow, we could look upon criticism as beneficial as praise. In fact criticism maybe more useful than praise; we learn little from praise, but it does boost the ego.
Work Entirely without Recognition
Could we work really hard without any desire or need for recognition and appreciation? Quite often we might serve others, but, there is some condition attached to our service. In particular, we expect to have some kind of recognition and reward. Often we may do something with genuinely selfless motives; we act from the heart because we feel it is the right thing to do. However, at a later stage the mind comes to the fore demanding recognition or feeling slighted because we haven’t been praised to the skies. It is as if we have a split personality. Part of us is happy to be unnoticed; but, another part spoils everything by being distressed at a lack of recognition. To work entirely selflessly means we are working for a sincere cause and not for our human ego
Keep the Mind Perfectly Silent for 3 Minutes.
Man has conquered space, man has conquered Everest. But, how many people have conquered their own mind – which should, in theory, be the easiest thing to control? Try sitting quiet and still and then observe the thoughts going through your mind. Then try to stop all thoughts, try to think of absolutely nothing – just concentrate on your breathing. If you can have an absolutely still mind for 3 minutes then you will make very good progress with meditation; it will be an invaluable tool for cultivating inner peace. (BTW falling asleep for 3 minutes does not count as meditation – although it is one way to quieten the mind.) However, you may also find it is really quite difficult to control your mind. But, this seems a paradox, if it is our mind and we can decide, why is it so difficult to calm and be at our command?
Spend a Day Without Criticising Anybody
The world has plenty of critics, there are countless justifications for complaining about x,y,z. But, could you spend a day without criticising your friends, family and work colleagues? Here, we should avoid criticising on an inner plane as well as with words. It is difficult to avoid gossiping about people, but to keep our thoughts clear of gossip is even more difficult.