Thursday, June 16, 2016

Self-Mastery--Essential Practices by Maher Sagrillo

Self-Mastery--Essential Practices by Maher Sagrillo:

In the modern age, with its endless and intoxicating distractions bombarding us and pulling our consciousness in many directions, it is vital for us to develop and follow a personal discipline that keeps us focused on the real purposes and meanings in our lives, so that we can slowly attain the fruits of our practices.
When we live for instant gratification, or live to chase “happiness” — as many have come to conceive of it — we ultimately end up disappointed. Hence the old adage that, “one who chases happiness is sure to avoid it”.
This is the strange irony: The human spirit does not gain authentic and lasting happiness from satisfying base desires and from being briefly satisfied with some outer stimuli because it forms nothing lasting or solid.
Instead, people become truly and authentically happy when they place such things as discipline, values, purpose and meaning above immediate gratification. Then we can attain true fruits of the spirit — which in turn makes us truly, authentically happy — without ever striving for it as an end goal in itself. Eventually, through practice, one comes to realize that their spirit is already everything they truly need, and so much more. The whole inner world is rich with all the soil and seeds needed for any growth, and this growth is true and sincere, because it is unique and comes from within.
Sacrifice, discipline, and attainment makes us joyful because, and when, they enable us to create something true and meaningful. We are willing to put aside the distractions and take on the real work and challenges that push us beyond our ourselves and our cravings.
Below are practices for cultivating oneself and attaining lasting, meaningful happiness:
Contemplation: Think before speaking or acting on anything. If you don’t have a good reason, don’t do it or say it. Speaking little is ideal. Think for yourself and don’t use other people’s reasoning unless you really understand it and can’t think of anything better after exhausting your own ideas. Beware of biases, cognitive dissonance, logical fallacies, and wishful thinking.
Emotion: Find the roots of worry, anxiety, fear, etc., to solve them rationally, emotionally, and spiritually. Never let emotions lead, but also do not deny or suppress them; try to understand, resolve, and grow from them.
Stillness: If you cannot rationally decide on what to do, don’t do anything. Return to the Tao and act from there. If you get emotional, you lose Tao. Go elsewhere and wait until you return to calm, think over your emotions, and consider your next actions.
Will: Once you’ve thought something through, put all of your power behind it. Do not allow doubt. You cannot travel effectively nor enjoyably while constantly questioning and doubting the craftsmanship of your map.
Discipline: It takes about three weeks without interruption to form or discard a habit. Aim to feed good habits, and be very wary of feeding poor habits. Remember that your spirit and responsibilities are more important than your happiness.
Simplicity: Keep all matters as clear and simple as possible. Use reasoning to sublimate things, reducing them to only what is really important and matters. Let go of burdensome emotions, desires, memories, and thoughts.
Health: Thinking clearly, deciding specifically, avoid your own and other peoples’ toxic behaviors. Distance yourself from toxic substances, foods, habits, people, ideas, and avoid producing further toxicity in the world. Feed the body nutritious foods, meditate to calm/focus the spirit, and contemplate to strengthen/order the mind. Exercise regularly, even if it’s brief, and expend your energy fully.
Compassion: Even if someone has a poor behavior towards you, be compassionate, noble, polite, but distant from their toxicity. Have genuine empathy and understanding for others, even in the face of hate.
Truth: To thine own self be true. Always be honest and sincere in your actions, thoughts, estimations, and judgements. Weigh truth rationally and to its logical limits in any given context. Accept that many truths are not enjoyable or pleasant, and that things often have far more than one “truth” to them.

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