The true remedies for life’s challenges come not from memorizing facts and formulas but from absorbing key principles only when we are able to see clearly and are ready to walk the good path.
Q: It’s easy to feel centered during quiet activity like meditation, yoga or even when taking a walk. During these times, answers come to me with clarity and I feel at peace. When I’m in the “real world” dealing with real world challenges, I don’t feel as connected or capable of finding the answers or peace I need at the moment I need it. How can I handle life’s daily challenges with the centered peace I feel when I’m engaged in quieter, more soulful activity?
The main goal as one goes about their daily activities is to achieve balance. Meditation can help one achieve that balance; it can be broken down into two types - sitting meditation and “walking meditation.” In general, proper sitting meditation leads to achieving a deeper spiritual state or awakening, and walking meditation can be understood as meditation during daily life—you check yourself to see, Am I on the correct road or not; ultimately, are my actions good or bad?
Regardless of one’s meditation practice, the key is to purify one’s self. Purifying is like cleaning your mind. Meditating is like looking into a mirror, the mirror representing your mind. If the mirror is clear you see red as red, green as green, gray as gray…you see accurately; if your mirror is fogged, dusty or dirty you cannot see a clear picture. It is important that you constantly clean and purify your mirror. This is how the mind works. We must continuously clean and purify ourselves. Stress, overwork, anxiety, pressure, etc…all of these factors throw off the balance of your mind and your thinking…this is no different than a dirty mirror. This is why one meditates, since meditation is one of the most powerful ways to clean up your mirror and balance your mind, and therefore your daily life. As you walk through your daily life you constantly purify yourself. You check yourself to see, am I on the correct road or not; ultimately, am I seeing positive or negative results flow from my actions?
Life is a constant cycle, there is a time to clean up and time to become dirty—this is the challenge of life. When one is able to balance her or himself through the process of purifying, this process soon leads to good habits; if one is unable to balance, this leads to bad habits. If you choose to follow the correct road and create good habits, then you do not need to sit to find peace. Peace will follow you throughout any and every circumstance, because peace comes from within.
Q: What do we do with feelings like anger, anxiety, fear and jealousy when we’re trying to find the right path for us? How do we not let these emotions get in our way?
Similar to the principle covered in the previous answer, if you purify then there is no such thing as looking/wishing to get rid of certain emotions. If you are able to see yourself clearly and purify yourself, you become grounded and secure; then, there will be no want to remove these emotions because they will not exist. These emotions often arise when one keeps looking and wishing to achieve or attain something and they are unable to. Once you purify and see clearly there is no such thing as having to try to not feel anger, anxiety, fear, jealousy, because through seeing life clearly and making correct choices you are able to flow naturally with the circumstances you come across. One of the principles of human life is that there is no limit to our wishes. Our limits come from within. We must remember to find balance. For example, if a person likes bacon, a few pieces of bacon can suffice, but someone who cannot balance will keep looking for an entire pig to satisfy their hunger, this constant search and yearning for more will soon lead to anger, anxiety, fear and jealousy. They key is learning how to limit and balance. Know how much you need.
In general, if a person has a 6 ounce cup, they are only able to fill that cup 6 ounces; otherwise, it will overflow. If someone has a 6 ounce cup and they want to fill their cup with a gallon of water, then clearly they do not know what their capacity is. You must know your capacity. You must know your limit. In the beginning you have to train yourself - what do I need and what is my capacity? It is important to see where you are standing; this will turn into a habit and then naturally you will be able to balance properly and not get in your own way.
Just as one is able to look into a mirror to see their external appearance, the same works internally and mentally; you have an internal mirror. Stress, anxiety, and overwork clouds your mirror and makes it hard to see yourself clearly; when you cannot see yourself clearly, it is easy to get off balance. It is just as if a person is intoxicated…they may think they are driving straight but if their brain is not seeing clearly, then they run a much greater risk of veering off the road and crashing. So many people think they are clear but they do not know that they cannot see clearly…they do not know that they do not know. Through purifying yourself you are able to you gain correct judgment.
You purify, balance, and gain perspective by always being aware and regularly asking yourself the following questions:
Who am I?
Where am I going?
Are the actions, emotions, and interactions in my life consistent with a good life?
Have I been here before? Was the result good or bad?
By consistently and deliberately asking yourself these questions as you go about your daily life, your ability to clearly see yourself increases, and your daily habits change for the better. Through this clarity you are able to stay on the correct path, become more grounded and secure; thereby making you stronger and less likely to be influenced by negative emotions from within or those that may surround you.
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Jenelle Kim does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. In the event you use any of the information in this column for yourself, neither Jenelle Kim, contributors to this website, nor the publisher accepts responsibility for your actions.