Category Archives: Inner Peace Articles

THE “STRONGEST” PEOPLE ALL HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it was never about them anyway.”

Alicia Keys on inner strengthThe strongest people we have ever known throughout history, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth the first, Martin Luther King Jr, Abe Lincoln, all had one thing in common…compassion. In our society, compassion, or being sensitive has always been deemed a weakness. Why? Because others have been able to take advantage of the weak in the past. However, being compassionate, sensitive and understanding are all strengths; they just have to be viewed as such, by you, and used as such, by you.

So what makes one person “strong” and another “weak” according to our social stereotypes? Why do people consider being kind, nice, sensitive a weakness?

Because history has also shown us that the weak get taken advantage of, so anything we consider a weakness makes us vulnerable to the more ruthless people of the world. But being sensitive, understanding, compassionate should not be considered a weakness by our society or by you, and it can become your greatest strength if you know how to use it correctly.

Compassion is all about being in tune to those around you: putting yourself in someone else’s (everyone else’s) shoes. When you are able to do that, you can connect to people on a much higher level and they will want to connect to you. That is powerful. Being understanding of the plight of others puts you in a position to offer them what they need, and in the business world, that is a great asset to have.

Being sensitive means you are able to pick up on the subtle shifts in our world, in another human being, in yourself; again, a powerful asset to have. We tend to look at these qualities in completely the wrong way even ourselves. People think we are “babies”, “wimps”, weak for having these traits, but we ourselves should ignore that and look at these traits as benefits, assets, strengths.

Those who do not have compassionate, understanding or sensitivity, lack the real ability to connect well with others. If you turn these traits into assets you can become a very powerful and influential person in society or the business world. Think about it.

So from now on, if you are a compassionate, sensitive, understanding person that others have taken advantage of in the past, realize that these qualities are really a strength you possess far greater than the people who are misjudging you for it. That will give you the confidence you need to put those people in their place within your mind – where it really matters.

Step 9: Finding Your Path.

A great many people never seek their path. They spend their lives raising a family, excelling at their job, just getting by, and they never look for anything more. If you are content with that, than so be it, but for others, life needs more purpose, more self meaning, more….happiness, realization or spirituality.

It goes without saying that everybody’s path is different. What leads one person to be a certain way will not lead another. This is as it should be, otherwise, we would be a society of drones. So finding your path is going to be unique to you, all we are going to attempt to do with this article is guide you toward finding it.

All the steps leading up to this one will set you on your path to finding your inner self, your strengths, your weaknesses and your soul and spirit will then be able to develop later because of these preliminary steps you have taken toward getting back on your true path. A cluttered mind, a negative mind, a hurt mind, a weak mind will never find its way toward true happiness, contentment with life or enlightenment – as some would label it.

Meditation, clearing your mind and simplifying your life all go a long way toward setting you free so you can discover your soul or spirituality. Your inner you. Once you are able to calm the forces blocking your path, you will be able to see your path much more clearly. Your path being the person you want to be, the whole you, the best you can be; and isn’t that what living should be all about? Being all you can be with the one chance you are given to be it?

Some people believe this takes more work than it is worth, but it is really the opposite: it takes more work, energy, stress and anguish to struggle against your true nature or inner nature. You are like a fish trying to always swim upstream; against the current of your true inner nature and desire for happiness, peace and clarity. Swimming against the current that is life.

Many followers are surprised that when they follow all our previous steps, their true path seems to automatically start to evolve all on it’s own with little effort. They wake up one day, or pause one moment and say, “Oh, there it is.” This is because what they have done is to remove all the obstacles blocking their already existing path that was buried or unattainable rather than actually building a new path. For some, they do need to build a new path, because their past has lead them down the wrong path. But for most of us, it’s more a matter of clearing our exiting path of all the debris we have thrown on it during our lifetime and the many diversions or tributaries we created along the way.

Still others have no idea what a path is and why they should want one. So…we will try to explain. When we do things against our inner nature, live our lives against our inner nature, we go off of our path to happiness and true contentment with life. We are unhappy, unfulfilled, miserable, hateful, bored, cynical whatever label you wish to put on just being unhappy. And 90% of the population is unhappy. Oh, they may say they are happy if you ask them, but then they get depressed whenever they don’t get what they want, they blame others, they are negative, they do things to get even with others etc. All signs that they are not truly happy, they are fooling themselves and others. Just as in the movie The Matrix, in which everybody is living in a dream world created by illusions that they think are reality.

Always purchasing material things to feel fulfilled, always seeking that other person that will make you happy, always driving yourself in your career because more money and prestige will make you happier; these are all fantasies to happiness, not reality. They are false happiness and that is why we are never truly happy or fulfilled, we always need more, more, more, and still the void is not filled right up to the day we die. Worse yet, most people believe these things bring happiness because they have never experienced any other way. They don’t know any better because they have never experienced true happiness or contentment for themselves.

But those who have, those people who can go through life with what seems like very little in the way of possessions to the rest of us and still appear to be happy, those people get it. The path to happiness does not lie with jobs, money, houses, cars, a lover etc., because those things are here today, gone tomorrow and then you will have to replace them, but true inner happiness will be with you always, does not cost anything and you can take it with you wherever you go.

Some people have learned the hard way, through near-death experiences, tragic loss or severe illnesses, that what truly makes a person happy is good health, proper mindset, peace and tranquility. All things you cannot put a price tag on. And how do you find these things? By finding your true path in life. What really makes you healthy, savvy, at peace and content with life no matter what it throws at you. That is true power. That is true wisdom. That is true living. And you can only achieve these things through true learning.

Following our previous steps and practicing them on a daily basis will set you well on your journey to finding your path – or inner self. Enjoy the journey. You will know it when you get there, because you will be truly happy, content with life, at peace with yourself, and able to excel in ways you never imagined possible. Or it may be nothing more than that one day you realize that for the first time in your life, you are living without any stress, anxiety and totally free to be who you want to be, and this is more than you ever had before and will open doors for you to be all you can be.

 

Step 8: Meditation Improves Brain Function.

Many people don’t see the point in meditation, but those who practice it know it’s benefits and now scientific evidence proves it. We have touched on clearing your mind so you can focus on the present moment and thus gain wisdom and insight as to how to better handle life events. Meditating goes hand in hand with this and is a technique that helps you to practice focusing and clearing your mind. And, as mentioned below, scientific evidence shows the physical positive changes meditation has on the brain.

We realize the importance of exercising our bodies and eating right, well exercising the mind is equally important. Without practice, it is not so easy to focus and stay in the present moment. Random stray thoughts occupy the time in our mind that can better be spent paying attention to what is going on directly in front of us so we are able to make wise decisions at any given moment. For most of us, out minds are constantly cluttered to the point where they do not function at their maximum ability. This greatly impairs our decision making, foresight, intelligence and actually causes us to be less able to multi-task because we are not able to finish anything while trying to tackle multiple ideas at once. It is best to focus on one task first, complete it, then move on to the next instead of trying to do 5 things at once and completing none of them effectively.

When most people start meditation, they find it very challenging to clear their minds of all thoughts. This is why it is beneficial to concentrate on a single sound in your environment while trying not to think of anything at the same time. Or, if there are no continual sounds nearby that can help you to focus, this is why many practitioners focus on their breathing to achieve the same goal of using a single, continuous sound to focus on in order to clear their mind of all thoughts.

Once you master being able to achieve clarity of mind during your meditation sessions, then you can practice trying to achieve it during the day while living everyday life. You will be surprised how easy it is once you have mastered meditation sessions, and once you can exist on a daily basis with clarity of mind and focus, you will be astonished as to your mind’s new ability to find answers and solve problems with an ease and awareness you never possessed before. The brain can be so much more than we are able to access when it is cluttered with noise and garbage. It can be an amazing tool of wisdom and perception when allowed to function with clarity and peace.

Practicing meditation basics:

Sitting in the lotus position is not completely necessary to meditate. It is common practice because it helps the body to create a flow of energy throughout all your limbs and organs by maintaining a proper posture while the brain is trying to relax. If you cannot cross your legs in the lotus position, sitting Indian-style will work, or with both feet flat on the ground while sitting upright, or any way that is comfortable for a long period and that allows for good circulation.

Correct placement of the hands during meditation.
Correct placement of the hands during meditation.
Incorrect placement of hands during meditation but common practice.

It is a common and misunderstood practice to place the hands with one resting on each knee with your index finger touching your thumb. How this rumor got started nobody knows, but it has been difficult to reinstate the traditionally correct placement of the hands during meditation. Joining your hands in the manner shown in the first photo is the truly correct way to place them because it is believed to complete the circle of chi or the necessary life-force that flows through everything. It is more a forming of a circle with the hands that creates a completed and constant flow of energy according to ancient Tibetan masters. Some would argue however, that whatever way you position yourself is fine as long as it lends itself to efficient meditation. Others would argue the proper position is essential to proper meditation. You decide. It really depends on how staunch a supporter you are of the religious, spiritual or traditional teachings. All we can say is, you will never see a Tibetan monk place their hands any other way but to form a circle in their lap as in the first photo, and since they are the meditation experts, we would tend to recommend their methods for total spiritual connecting.

Try to clear your mind of all thoughts for a minimum of 15 seconds at first, then gradually try to increase the length of time you can go without allowing stray thoughts to enter your head. The longer you can go, the easier it will be for you to do it during daily active life. Some teachers of meditation say not to try and block thoughts, but allow them to come and go like the wind, not dwelling or spending any time on any one thought, but recognize it as a thought and move back toward a state on not thinking. Then gradually calm your mind so it is possible to not have any thoughts at all for as long as possible.

Recent scientific brain studies have shown that meditation actually has a physical positive effect on the brain in that a person who meditates has more sense perception and growth of gray matter than a person who does not meditate. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain.

“It’s well-documented that our cortex shrinks as we get older – it’s harder to figure things out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds.”

Lazar’s study revealed:

We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:

1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.

2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.

3.  The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.

4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.

The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, exercising the brain correctly has as many health benefits as exercising the body correctly. Therefore, those of you skeptical of practicing meditation for unfounded reasons, such as you think it is only for flaky granola crunchers or something, you now have a scientific reason to take it up. And once you do, you will notice a very positive transformation develop in your thinking process and ability to handle life that will make you look like Einstein to those around you. You will wonder how you ever functioned without it in your life before. And the answer you know will be, “not very well.”

Summary of Step 7: Conquering Negativity.

This all really boils down to fear of disappointment spawned by unrealistic or false EXPECTATIONS. We can’t afford to buy a new car every year like somebody else we know, our job sucks, we don’t make much money etc. In Step 7, we learned how to conquer self negativity that prevents us from growing.

We Must Learn to Sit Before We Walk.

 

windhorse_graphicWe Must Learn to Sit Before We Walk.

The Way of the Tiger and Windhorse.

“Over a thousand years ago, Padmasambhava, the great teacher who brought Buddhism from India to Tibet, predicted that this particular dark age would be distinguished by our increasing cleverness. Our discursive minds would run rampant. We would create myriad ways to keep ourselves entertained, becoming experts in how to spend free time. We would use our intellect not for betterment but for hanging out in one form of distraction or another, constantly on holiday.

Padmasambhava predicted that as we became more shrewd and clever, compassion would seem increasingly futile, and we would lose the knowledge of how to bring meaning to our lives. Our windhorse would weaken. At the same time, the number of weapons, diseases, and starving people would grow. Our negative emotions would increase as our motivation to lead a meaningful life—a life of virtue—waned. Our physical appearance would deteriorate as we processed this negativity.

It is startling to see the eerie accuracy of these predictions. Over the last hundred years, our increasing cleverness has resulted in technologies that have improved our lives in many ways. At the same time, it has increased our capacity to distract our minds. We are trapped in a belief that acquiring things will make us happy. Fear threatens to color everything we do. Fear produces cowardice; compassion seems less realistic, and anger seems more practical. When we allow discursiveness and negative emotions to run unchecked, we weaken windhorse and produce our own dark age. In this particular dark age, our distraction often manifests as speed. Speed kills the space in which we could appreciate what we’re doing. That frantic quality creates its own power and momentum, which begin to rule us. Because we can’t rest in the present moment, we can’t be satisfied; we conduct our life aggressively. We employ jealousy, competition, fixation, and irritation to chase after appointments, phone calls, and meetings—whatever it takes to get us where we think we need to go. When our day runs rough, it’s because these negative emotions are creating “me” bumps in the road. Like speed bumps, they are telling us to slow down and use payu. But without the meekness of the tiger, we’re not able to hear them.” (1)

Windhorse:

The Windhorse therapeutic approach was developed in 1981 by Chogyam Trungpa and Dr. Edward Podvoll. It is based on the Buddhist understanding of fundamental sanity and the inseparability of one’s entire life from one’s environment, while integrating applicable Western psychology. The primary activity involves creating individually tailored, therapeutic living environments for people with a variety of mental health challenges. Within these comprehensively coordinated arrangements, clients are able to significantly reduce the chaos and confusion of mental disturbances and improve life functioning.

“Windhorse” refers to a mythic horse, famous throughout central Asia, who rides in the sky and is the symbol of a person’s energy and discipline to uplift himself. Windhorse is literally an energy in the body and mind, which can be aroused in the service of healing an illness or overcoming depression. (2)

“Mastering our life begins with the ability to see how we block the way to our own contentment. In our sitting practice, we’re trying to penetrate our speedy exterior by reducing our activities and stabilizing our ability to be present. Then we carry that practice into our day, continually reflecting on what to cultivate and what to discard in order to strengthen windhorse. We realize that wanting to be anywhere but where we are, doing anything but what we’re doing, is an unnecessary move that throws us off balance. Using payu is how we bring our balance back. With the discernment of the tiger, we learn to slow down, look at where we are, and appreciate our situation.” (1)

tibetan_tigerThe Tiger:

In the Tibetan Shambhala teachings, discernment is associated with the tiger. The tiger is completely alert, whatever it is doing. It respects its surroundings. It doesn’t rush into things. It knows when it must hunt on the plains and when it must go to a cool place and rest. The tiger doesn’t run around in circles looking for something to eat. First it sits quietly and surveys the landscape to see what is there; then it pounces.

The mind is always being distracted by thoughts of what already happened in the past or thoughts about what could happen in the future, but the only thing that is really happening is what is happening now, in the present. Meditation is used to cultivate mindfulness and awareness of the present moment by focusing our mind on our breath. Learning to be where we are at the present moment by focusing on body and mind.

We hear so much about “staying in the present moment” as a term used by therapists worldwide, but Tibetan wisdom takes it so much further by applying it to everyday life. In the way they use mindfulness, it gives the individual great power to make accurate decisions in the spur of the moment because you are only living in the moment. There is great power, strength and intelligence in living this way, and you would be amazed at how powerful your memory and mind can become when it is not busy with clutter it does not need to be processing at the moment.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

Until the next bimonthly issue of Inner Peace, practice letting go of thoughts of the past and those of the future. Try just living in the present moment. You may find this is more difficult to do than you think, and you will regress ocassionally. When you do, and find yourself reacting based on what you think of your past or hope for the future, bring yourself back to the current moment by focusing on your breath or a sound in the room and try to stay there as long as possible. This practice gets easier and easier the more you do it.

Sometimes we will take excerpts from books on a topic because often the author has a different way of relaying the information that may resonate with some people in a better way than what we have written previously. We also do this to try and prevent always sounding like a broken record. Different points of view are always beneficial to learning.

This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – in order to to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Back Issues Page.

 

Summary of Last Issue: Last issue, we talked about conquering negative emotions or thoughts and those of us who try to trick ourselves by using negative reverse psychology on ourselves. This all really boils down to fear of disappointment spawned by unrealistic or false expectations. We can’t afford to buy a new car every year like somebody else we know, our job sucks, we don’t make enough money, he or she won’t like me etc….

References:

1) Excerpt from Mipham, Sakyong (2005-10-25). Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies For Modern Life (p. 46)

(2) from Windhorse Project founder Dr. Edward Podvoll’s book Recovering Sanity (Shambhala Publications, 2003, p. 224); previously published as The Seduction of Madness by HarperCollins, 1990.

© 2016 Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.

Step 7: Conquering Negativity.

Step 7: Conquering Negative Emotions or Negative Reverse Psychology.

Not everybody does it, but a great many people do: we talk to ourselves and talk ourselves out of doing certain things or think in terms of how unlucky we are, things never go our way, we never get what we want etc. At some point, almost everybody has done this and some people do it on a daily basis if their lives are not the way they want them to be or they have experienced a lot of disappointment in life.

This all really boils down to fear of disappointment spawned by unrealistic or false EXPECTATIONS. We can’t afford to buy a new car every year like somebody else we know, our job sucks, we don’t make much money etc….

There is always somebody in the world we see as “luckier’ than we are, or more successful. It will always be that way too, so spending your life focused and dwelling on what you DON’T have is a waste of energy and frankly, your time on Earth.

Another aspect of self negativity is when things don’t go our way, we say to ourselves, “I knew it wouldn’t happen the way I wanted. It never does. The my life sucks syndrome. This is basically based in the belief that we should get what we want out of life if we are “good” people and we are being punished when we don’t. This is a belief in a higher power that grants wishes, or “luck” to some and not others.

To address all this negativity, we first have to put it in perspective. Just as there will always be people who have it better than we do, there are also people who have it a great deal worse than we do. Often it takes a life-shattering event for a person to put the little stuff in perspective and that nothing in life is really as important as just being happy, and enjoying life to the fullest. Otherwise, what is the point of your life if you are just going to be miserable about it? If all you are going to do is be negative, why bother living? You are just wasting your time on this planet if you can’t find anything positive about it. Oh sometimes we are positive in general and a certain event or situation will knock us back to being negative for a while. This can happen to anybody and should not be thought of as a setback but just a reminder that you have a bit more work to do.

Dwelling on negative thoughts breeds more negativity in your life. It’s like a magnet. If all you ever think about is negative, then guess what, it will all be negative, because that is all you are capable of seeing. Being positive however does not mean you will win the lotto or something miraculously good will come your way, it simply means you will hold onto your ability to be happy no matter what life throws at you.

This really all stems from disappointment. Some people will try to psyche themselves out, or use reverse psychology to try and ward off the disappointment of not getting what they want. This is quite common with people who come from poor families, have experienced hard times, have had their hearts broken or betrayed by somebody close to them. The best way to combat this fear of disappointment is to get rid of all expectations. There’s a saying, “If you don’t expect anything from anybody, then you won’t be disappointed.” These words are very true.

broken_heart_bandaidCombating the Fear of Disappointment:

You fall in love with somebody, and the very next step is that the fears set in. You may be somebody who then runs away or proceeds very cautiously always looking for the other shoe to drop. You may even sabotage the relationship with your doubts, insecurities and lack of trusting somebody else with your heart. This is so common, we laugh about it, whole movies are produced on the concept. The stronger your feelings for another person, the stronger the fears become. Why?

These fears can be produced from insecurity: fear of being abandoned or rejected. But these fears are really because we do not have enough faith in ourselves to practice self love and accomplishment by ourselves, without somebody else. As humans, we all seek love and feel we need it. Animals do not think that way, so why do humans? Animals do not seek a relationship for the sake of love. Only humans do that. But why is it so important to us?

And we are sometimes so afraid of the disappointment of somebody else letting us down, that we will shy away from close relationships and not even try to take a risk with a new one. This is very unfortunate because we are limiting ourselves from trying new experiences because of fear of being let down. Fear our expectations will not turn out to be true. False Expectations.

If we are already in a relationship, often it fades quickly. Many marriages consist of each person constantly being disappointed by the other because they won’t take out the trash, or help clean the house, or tell them they love them as often as the other one feels they should. Then theses false expectations turn into a landslide of negativity about each other that usually becomes so severe, it leads to divorce. Why do we do this to each other? It ‘s all nothing but negativity spawned by fear and false expectations.

This example could just as easily be applied to your job. You think you deserve a raise, but your boss gives it to somebody else. You get angry and start thinking of every negative quality you can about your boss, and you probably share them with your friends and coworkers in the form of sarcasm, negative remarks, bad jokes etc.

In either example, the end result was that you were disappointed. The scenario did not turn out the way you had hoped. So then you become negative. However, if you had never had the false expectation of getting a raise, or having someone fall in love with you in the first place, you would not have been disappointed. Right?

Not falling into the trap of false expectations is not the same as never wishing for anything or giving up hope. It is a matter of putting life in perspective. Life does not owe you anything. Other people in your life are never thinking the same way you are, thus, they cannot possible act the way you want them to. So getting mad at life, or people in it, is a waste of time and will never produce the results you want.

You’ve heard the saying you should, “Take life’s disappointments with a grain of salt?” Another true statement.

When you experience a disappointment, the best thing to do is move onto something else as quickly as possible to stop your mind from dwelling on it and sucking you into the great abyss of that negative downward spiral.

Some people have a very difficult time letting go of somebody who does not feel the same way about them. Is not in love with them. It makes them extremely negative, pessimistic, angry, hurt etc. This situation is not easy, but again, the best thing to do is forget about it and move onto something else, preferably something that you find very rewarding so that the disappointment of a lost relationship is replaced with something positive and that makes you feel good about yourself. Over time, you will be able to put the relationship in perspective just like everything else in life with practice.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

Until the next bimonthly issue of Inner Peace, practice letting go of false expectations. Stop “expecting” anything of the people around you, that may include your kids. If they don’t do what you want when you want it, move on to something else and forget about it. You can ask them to accommodate you, but it may not happen and you have to accept that, move on, replace it with something more positive and reward yourself, don’t count on, and stop expecting others to reward you or life to reward you. Those are unrealistic expectations. Work on ways to reward yourself or to find rewards in other things in your life. Things that are more realistic.

Next Issue of Inner Peace: We’ll show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes. How most of us have no clue that our mind is much deeper than what we are currently using or practicing and how to access those depths. If you ever truly experience the depth of the mind, you will never go back to only using the shallowest parts of it again.

Summary of Step 6: Last issue, we talked about a concept not well known -auspicious coincidence, otherwise known as synchronicity, intuition, luck, tashi tendrel in Sanskrit, divine intervention and a few other phrases in other languages and beliefs. We addressed how this concept can truly help you to be more “lucky” if you practice in the present moment. We discussed auspicious coincidence merely for an interesting take on how to improve your chances in life.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right and click on Inner Peace.

Step 6: Ruling Your World – Auspicious Coincidence.

Step 6: Ruling Your World – Auspicious Coincidence.

“Confine yourself to the present.”

“Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each one of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.” ~ Marcus Aurelius 160 CE – over 2,000 years ago.

We are going to go a bit off the path for a moment and talk about an interesting concept not many people are aware of. Most of us know about the typical benefits of being and living in the present moment. Namely that it allows our heads to be clearer because we are only focused with what is in front of us at the moment and we are not cluttering our brains with overwhelming thoughts from our past or future. This clarity then allows us to be able to make decisions quicker and with better judgement. Our thought process is much more accurate when it is not bogged down with unnecessary information that is not even relevant to what we are doing at the moment.

But we would like to delve into a concept not practiced by very many people because it is not well known. Auspicious coincidence, otherwise known as synchronicity, intuition, luck, tashi tendrel in Sanskrit, divine intervention and a few other phrases in other languages and beliefs. We will stick to auspicious coincidence for this article because it most accurately describes what we are about to reveal. This may get a bit too spiritual for some people, however, playing with the concept is still fun whether you believe in it or not.

Ruling Your World is a book written by  Sakyong Mipham, a Western monk of sorts, that offers a practical plan for living a meaningful life based on understanding how the mind works and how the world works. The basic premise is that by slowing down, cutting aggression, and cultivating compassion and wisdom, we can rule our minds, our lives, and ultimately, our future. In 2006, Ruling Your World was named best book in the consciousness/self help category by the Coalition for Visionary Resources, an association of leading-edge retailers, and tied for best book overall.

Reading further in Ruling Your World, in addition to happiness, personal power, and worldly and spiritual success, luck is also identified as an outcome for those who practice the path of virtue. This is articulated in the following two passages:

As the golfer Ben Hogan once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” In Tibet, this luck is known as tashi tendrel—auspicious coincidence.  [pp 158-159]

“A mind that knows its own depth can see the brilliant, elemental magic of the world.” ~  Sakyong Mipham

The best way to sum up auspicious coincidence in our opinion is the first paragraph of the chapter “Attracting Auspiciousness” from this book, and the line that reads, “We become sensitive to the subtle energies of the environment, and they become sensitive to us, because our senses are open to all the realms.”

This may be difficult to imagine the reality of at first if you have never experienced such a phenomenon. But in more basic terms, without all the spiritual associations, one could boil auspicious coincidence down to the more practical and intellectual understanding that as long as you function in life by being in the present moment at all times, and living with the clarity of existence mentioned above involving compassion and lack of expectations, you can actually alter life right before your eyes by being better able to read the present moment and using your clear mind to use it to your advantage or for an advantageous outcome: an auspicious outcome.

” Now we are able to judge conditions and time decisions properly in order to give new endeavors the greatest possible advantage for success. Because we are in tune with it, the environment becomes reflective in our decision making, shutting the door in our face or providing what we need to go forward….When we are awake enough to see what the world is presenting, conditions can show us the right time to build a house, start school, or expand our business. Sakyong Mipham, goes on to explain, “Auspicious occurrences indicate that our mind is beginning to relax into the present moment. When we are able to relax, we realize that the present moment is all there is. What we think of as the past is only a present memory, and what we think of as the future is a projection of the present.”

“We don’t understand that the origin of happiness is right here in our mind. We live life in an anxious, haphazard state, always looking for happiness to arrive.

In the next issue of Inner Peace, we will discuss this idea of being obsessed with making “me” happy and how it causes constant negativity and loss of control.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

Until next month’s issue of Inner Peace, practice letting go of the past and future worries and hold onto only paying attention to what is right in front of you at the moment.

Many Eastern philosophies believe in preparing yourself for death, and because they talk about it, prepare for it, death is not the big, scary monster and something to fear as it is in Western culture. This is itself is a very good reason to change the way you were taught to handle death. What would be more appropriate and pleasant: fearing death, dreading it, or finding a way to accept the reality of it and being prepared for it when it does come? And it will.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right.

Summary of Step 5. To summarize last month’s issue of Inner Peace, we talked about coming to terms with death. We will all face it, and we all know it is a fact of life, but the majority of Americans don’t talk about death or dying, they believe it to be too morbid of a subject, too unpleasant, they don’t want to think about it etc. A large number of Americans never even plan for their death, as if by refusing to acknowledge it they will somehow postpone the unpleasantness of it.

© 2015 Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.

Step 5: Coming to Terms With Death.

Step 5: Coming to Terms With Death.

We will all face it, and we all know it is a fact of life, but the majority of Americans don’t talk about death or dying, they believe it to be too morbid of a subject, too unpleasant, they don’t want to think about it etc. A large number of Americans never even plan for their death, as if by refusing to acknowledge it they will somehow postpone the unpleasantness of it.

Many Eastern philosophies believe in preparing yourself for death, and because they talk about it, prepare for it, death is not the big, scary monster and something to fear as it is in Western culture. This is itself is a very good reason to change the way you were taught to handle death. What would be more appropriate and pleasant: fearing death, dredding it, or finding a way to accept the reality of it and being prepared for it when it does come? And it will.

We are not talking about getting your affairs in order before you die here, but about accepting death and being mentally prepared for it when the time comes, so as you are lying on your death bed, you are not consumed with regret, fear of the unknown, and panic. You can teach yourself to leave this world peacefully. And when those close to you pass away, to accept their departure in a more healthy way.

What is it that makes this journey a pleasant one for Eastern culture and not for Western is the way we were brought up, taught, to handle death. In America, death is considered finite, the end, you will no longer exist; and because most of us believe death is the end, we live our lives as such. We live as if there are no consequences to what we do in this life, because once we are gone, it will be somebody else’s problem.

Eastern beliefs in reincarnation and a possible afterlife are what make their people more caring about the earth and what they do to it, because they believe they will have to deal with whatever state it is in in the next life, and they believe in karma – that what they do in this life affects their next life as well as the current life they are living.

grieving-familiesThere are a couple of big lessons I have learned about the grieving process.

The two biggest being about guilt and about handling lost companionship. First, let me speak of the guilt most of us feel when a loved one passes away. We feel we should have done more, should have said more, should have given more. You may feel all the guilty feelings above of believing you were responsible and should have done more, known more, taken more time, etc.

I recently had the advice from a Tibetan monk cross my path that summed up the best way I have ever found to deal with the guilt of losing a companion. She said, “It doesn’t matter how you cared for them, it only matters that you cared.”

How To Handle Missing Them Every Day.

Loneliness can and will set in, usually a few days after when you have time to get back to your regular routine a bit. This is when you need to make some changes in your life in order to cope. Many people try to bury themselves in their work in order to keep their minds from feeling the loneliness, this works, and anything that you consider a distraction is good for now – until you become more stable and adjusted to the loss.

Get some new hobbies, interests, activities. Anything new will help to rejuvenate you a bit and change your routine. The biggest mistake to make after a loss is to try to “get things back to the way they were”, or “back to normal.” What makes a person lonely after a loss is all the empty holes in their daily routine, so to avoid feeling the loss even more, you must change things up a bit in your life, and the more you can change your daily routine the better. If you have down time in your day that you have too much time to think, go for a power walk, exercise, go to a movie, call someone you don’t usually talk to just to shoot the bull. Do whatever you can think of to mix things up a bit.

Having a difficult time sleeping in your old bed that you shared with that lost someone? Sleep somewhere else. You would be surprised how just the body alone will recognize even when you are sleeping that it is not the same old place. Sleep on the couch, a different room, whatever it takes. Waking up without that person next to you is the worst. Waking up somewhere new will help set a new tone for the day instead of starting your day in the past.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

Until next month’s issue of Inner Peace, if you have experienced death of someone close to you, even a pet, there are two very basic concepts to recite to yourself that may help. When someone close to us passes away suddenly or unexpectedly, we often feel we have failed them in some way because we weren’t prepared.  Recite the quote above from the monk over and over as many times as it takes for it to sink in. Death is sudden and unexpected, that’s its thing, and the only way to avoid the quilt associated with it is to spend as much time with our loved ones as possible and when they pass, to reassure ourselves that we did just that. No regrets are felt if you have lived your life to it’s fullest potential.

And…change your daily routine, change your daily routine, change your daily routine.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right and click on Inner Peace.

Summary of Step 4: To summarize last month’s issue of Inner Peace, we talked about coming to terms with life. That life isn’t perfect and the sooner we accept it for what it is, and that we can’t expect to always have it the way we want, the sooner we can make real progress instead of living in a fantasy world.

©2015 Circkles.com

Step 4: Coming to Terms With Life.

Step 4: Come to Terms With Life.

Life is not perfect, but we all expect it to be. We get upset, angry, depressed, stressed when things don’t go the way we want. But…that is the key in itself: the way we want.

It’s very beneficial to a person’s well-being and inner peace to let go of life expectations, because when you expect something, you will always be disappointed when it does not happen, and chances are very high that it won’t. Life is not on your agenda, it’s on its own course.

We are all guilty of this; of wanting and expecting the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect job, of expecting people to be perfect…the perfect life, and we get so bent out of shape when it doesn’t happen. Learning to let go of any expectation is very healthy and liberating, but it’s mostly important to a good healthy psyche because it allows you to live in the present moment, in reality, not in your fantasy idea of life.

Some people may ask, “What is wrong with living in a fantasy life? It is a lot more pleasant and fun than reality.” This same question was brought up in the movie The Matrix, and we as a society are also living in a world we create in our minds that is not reality. When we do this, it opens us up to many heartbreaks, stresses, anxiety, depression and a feeling of failure and being constatnly let down when life does not produce the results we want.

Living in a fantasy world also prevents us from seeing things clearly, which prevents us from acting on things when we should, and avoiding pitfalls when we should….in other worlds, not living in reality actually does more to prevent us from reaching what we seek because we are blinded by inappropriate data that cannot help us and leads us astray. We cannot think clearly and accurately while living in a fantasy life, and this gets in the way of us actually achieving those goals we seek so much.

Imagine if you were on some kind of mental drug, or high on drugs all the time, and could not think straight, rationalize, be objective, see your obstacles and how to deal with them clearly. This is the same thing as living in an unrealistic state of life.

Just because you live in reality does not make life a downer. To the contrary, when you are able to see the path that lies in front of you so clearly, you feel empowered regarding your life because you are not living it in a fog. You can analyze all the data in front of you effectively and deal with it effectively. Is this not a better way to handle life’s trials and challenges than by pretending they don’t exist or doing what we all do which is to complain about them but do nothing about them because we don’t know how?

nowThere will be losses in your life. There will be triumphs. There will be challenges, there will be good times and bad. This is life. Accept it for what it is and quit struggling to make it something it is not, for no matter how much you struggle against life, it will not be anything other than what it is. Come to terms with reality and how you can use it to make better choices so that in turn you can achieve the level of living you seek. No culture understands and practices this concept better than Buddhism. They are taught to live a simplified life, free from emotional and financial burden. Compared to American culture, most people would say a Buddhist monk has nothing. No big, expensive house, no high-paying job, no fantasy lifestyle of brand new cars, living the high life. Yet monks are the happiest, most free, easy-going, centered and intelligent people you could ever know. How do you explain this? By our standards, they have nothing, yet they are the happiest people on earth?

Well, we will answer this for you. The reason Buddhist monks can have nothing yet be the happiest, most together people on the planet is because they understand the very principles we just mentioned above. They have come to appreciate and make peace with life. Life is just life. The do not live it trying to manipulate it, control it, live in false expectations about it. They just accept it for what it is. This is not to say that they are cold-hearted and shut off, that they do not feel anything. This could not be farther from the truth. What we are saying is that they understand the way things really are and so do not expect it to be any other way. They live in reality, not in the matrix. They have no delusions. This gives them a state of contentment that very few people ever attain, and they also understand that contentment is the key to true happiness. To be content with life and where you are in it is like going with the tide instead of constantly struggling against it like the rest of us do. It is a much easier, gentler, satisfying and yes, happier way to live than the majority of our society ever experiences.

If you can find some way to understand and truly grasp this principle, everything in your life will start to get easier, more relaxed and you will have the ability to make clearer judgements about what is going on around you. You will see everything with almost a sixth sense, a clearer ability to handle and deal with things as they arise. Practicing living in the present moment and not in the past or worrying about the future is a big step in the right direction and helps pave the way to accepting life for what it is. Accomplish living in the present moment first, then you can graduate to acceptance of reality rather than the falseness and cloudiness of fantasy and this will set you up to handle whatever comes down your road in life.

In next month’s issue of Inner Circkles, we will take another step on our journey to self growth and discovery.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

Until next month’s issue of Inner Peace, practice keeping your head in the present moment by not thinking about anything in the past or the future. The past is exactly that; the past. Nothing about it can be changed or can help you now. Let it go. There is also no point in thinking about, worrying about or making extravagant plans for the future. You cannot control the future. You can think about what you might like to do with the future, but do not expect any of it to come true. Just leave those ideas and plans parked in the back of your mind as a general reference so that when an opportunity does come your way and it fit’s what you would like to achieve, you can recognize it and take advantage of it. But do not expect it. Live each day just for that day. Deal with only that day’s problems, tasks and thoughts. Just get through that day. And then tomorrow, do the same thing. Keep it up, day after day until you are living in the present moment and only in the present moment. Taking life one day at a time is a whole lot easier than taking it all on at once.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right and click on Inner Peace.

Summary of Step 3: So, let’s recap what we learned last issue about cultivating our inner self. Simplifying Your Life – allows you to be free, free from all the stressful, emotional and financial burdens of being absorbed with material things that do absolutely nothing to cultivate your soul and only add to your life burden. Leading a simplified life allows you to grow into Step 4 above.

 

© 2015 Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.

Step 3: Simplify Your Life.

Step 3: Simplify Your Life.

This is a big one not just for helping us to acquire self cultivation but also for relieving a great deal of stress: which allows all of us to reach a higher level of understanding what’s really important in life.

Material possessions, as we all know, are not what is suppose to make a person happy. Yet, woman especially, buy and buy like there’s no tomorrow. And for those who end up with huge, out-of-control credit card debt or bills, it may very well be no tomorrow. Yes, we all like nice things, but think about what those “things” are costing you. Really costing you. Not just the money you are doling out for them, but the stress it causes you and your household in keeping up with all your bills and financial responsibilities.

Now think about how nice it would be to not have that monkey on your back. Do you really, REALLY need another pair of shoes, or do you just want them? Then think about why you want them. You want them to compete with your girlfriends, neighbors, family and even strangers you don’t know. You believe “things” are a status symbol and people judge you on what you own more than who you are.

What about your mortgage? Did you really need such a big house, or could you have gotten away with one much smaller and modest (and easier to keep clean), with a much lower mortgage? Chances are, you have more house than you need. We all do. We do this for the same reason we buy a new car every couple of years: we believe they are status symbols.

Now…stop and think about just how much the people you are trying to impress actually think about your stuff. Not more than the couple of seconds it takes for you to point it out to them. Other people are not nearly as interested in what you own as you are. They are busy with their own bills and stuff. So now….is all that extra money you are spending to impress those around you with shallow trinkets really worth all the extra money you are paying for them and the burden you will have to endure to keep them?

Instead, think about all the wonderful memories you would have if you spent that same money on a nice family vacation, supporting a good cause or animal shelter, going to a movie or throwing a get-together or party for your friends or family to spend more quality time together or buying organic food which will lead to you being healthier and feeling better overall.

Wow huh? If you are an impulsive buyer, you have a great deal of mental work to do to reach the point where you can walk away from “things” you want. This article is not for those people who have obsessions with shopping. That’s a whole other can of worms. What we are suggesting here is, drive that car a few years longer than you would have before. In fact, I drive my latest car right into the ground. I do not buy a new vehicle unless there is something wrong with the one I already have. A vehicle’s only purpose is to get you from point A to point B. If your current vehicle does that, why get another one and keep your car payments going indefinitely? My latest vehicle has been paid off for 5 years now, and still there is nothing wrong with it. I have saved $30,000 just by driving my vehicle for 5 years longer than the car payments. That’s not very long, and nobody noticed one bit that I wasn’t driving the latest set of wheels. In fact, nobody cares what I drive. They only care what they drive.

family_picnicThat extra $30,000 is going to paying off my mortgage early and robbing the bank of years worth of interest they would be getting from me if I just made my regular scheduled payments. The money saved has also gone toward some very fun, memorable vacations and photos of those memories which I still cherish and love to revisit when I need a break from real life or winter doldrums. I value learning and experiencing new things and memories a ton more than a new pair of shoes. I can take the memories with me wherever I go, and into the after life. Not the shoes, car or house. But the best thing about simplifying my life is that I am no longer stressed out living paycheck to paycheck or having to work long hours to pay for “things.” I can work at my leisure and spend that leisure time doing the things I want instead of answering to some boss all day.

Lightening your load by simplifying your life not only helps tremendously to reduce stress and free up your time for better adventures, after you do it for a few months, it becomes easier and easier as you start to see and live the benefits of a simpler lifestyle. That alone becomes so valuable to people, they find they don’t miss the “things” that were hanging around their necks like a noose one bit. You start to value other aspects of life not the materialistic ones and this leads to self growth by giving you a life of more value for your buck and hard work. This leads to a deeper level of self worth than what you thought “things” were giving you by a long shot. Try it…you’ll like it.

The next thing you will notice is you will start to become more resourceful in time. Like recycling or repurposing items or fixing something rather than just throwing it away and buying a new one. Wow!
If you lose any friends because you stopped buying the latest new gadget or “thing”, you had better rethink the kind of people you hang around with because they are just superficial. Most people will be more impressed by your resourcefulness than your new t.v. This isn’t about living like a monk, it’s about prioritizing, and you’ve had your priorities screwed up if you think a new pair of shoes is more valuable than a vacation, going to events like concerts or other fun times. You can still buy “thing” but try to limit it to those that will improve your quality of life, not hinder it by making you indebted to some bill collector who’s enjoying your money more than you are by taking trips to the Bahamas etc.

In next month’s issue of Inner Circkles, we will take another step on our journey to self worth and discovery.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

This month, PASS IT UP. That’s right. If you don’t have the willpower to go into a store and not buy anything but the necessities (and we mean necessities, like food and that’s it) then don’t go into any stores except the grocery store. Then think about what you are missing out on in life that you could better spend that money on that you just saved by not throwing it away on frivolous possessions. Life has more valuable aspects to it than shopping for stuff that you will just throw away in a couple years and adding to the landfill problems.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right and click on Inner Peace.

Summary: Steps 1 & 2: So, let’s recap what we’ve learned about growing so far: Walking in someone else’s shoes and getting closer to self by dropping selfishness both help us to self awareness and connection by helping us acquire compassion and understanding. If you missed these articles, see our Back Issues link above.

©2015 circkles.com

Step 2: To Get Closer to Yourself, Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes.

To Get Closer to Yourself, Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes.

So, you are starting to look at the world around you a little differently now. (If you read our First Step of Inner Peace in last month’s issue.) With a bit more appreciation for how the universe takes care of your needs by what it offers you in food, shelter, knowledge and experience? Now, knowing what you know about your universe, how can you possibly deliberately hurt it? One big step toward inner growth is to first do no harm.

Mother Earth was given her name because she does indeed mother all of us by supplying everything we need to survive, yet we are bent as a society on destroying every bit of it with our daily actions, so when we say, “first do no harm” we are referring to the Tibetan belief and living in such a way as, in the very least, to not be part of the problem or add to the problem of making life worse for us all.

Not everybody has to be an environmentalist or activist, but to at least live your life by not doing harm to those around you is gratifying, rewarding, and one step closer to connecting to the world and your self worth. We’re not talking about monumental, landslide changes in the way you live here. We are talking about the simple, little, everyday things that add up. Like recycling, supporting green business whenever possible, saying “Hi” to someone in passing, those kinds of things. You do not have to quit your day job and become a monk or take up a job with Greenpeace. We’re saying, just be mindful of the impact your actions have on those around you, including your Mother environment.

Another step toward self growth and accomplishment is by showing compassion and understanding for every living creature’s dilemma in this world – and it is a dilemma, for none of us has an easy way in life and all have something we have to deal with, to learn the hard way, so why add to another’s burden, tasks or existence? This doesn’t mean you have to be Mother Theresa either, and we understand that everybody has a bad day or bad mood, but that is just the point: don’t take out your bad mood, bad day, or bad life on others. We are not suggesting you hide your feelings and keep them down either, this is more a matter of , to quote one famous saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.” It’s about your outlook on life, of other fellow creatures.

Put life’s trials in perspective. In the bigger scheme of things, how life shattering is your boss really? Or your significant other doing something you don’t like? Or the fact that you don’t get paid as much as you want? Can you put clothes on your back and food in your belly? Then that is all you really NEED, the rest are just WANTS. You want more money, you want a fancy house, you want a new car; but these things are not necessary for survival. They are just you trying to out-do somebody else, or suffering from low self esteem so you believe possessions or social status will give you the impression (to yourself more than others) that you are worth more. This is the self-serving ideal of most Americans, and it needs to stop in order for our society to ever improve. It is also the #1 reason so many Americans are unhealthy, stressed out and unhappy.

A recent quote we posted on our Facebook page said, “Society is not destroyed from the outside, it’s destroyed from within.” If we all realized this premise, we would also realize that it is us who has created this social world we all complain about on a daily basis.

Exercising a little compassion and understanding for the fact that everybody and every creature on this earth experiences the same things you do – good and bad, happiness and pain – goes a long way toward you feeling more forgiving overall about life and others and yourself, this in turn helps you realize your inner potential for something bigger than yourself.

walking-in-someone-elses-shoesPeople who are cruel to animals, or mean toward others, do so because they lack self worth, self value, and they believe if they can control, manipulate or overpower a being not able to defend itself, they feel an empowerment. However, this momentary power they feel is an illusion. It gives the false impression that they feel better than somebody else by causing pain or someone else to be miserable, but in reality, it makes them feel worse about themselves, they don’t admit it or fail in the capacity to see it. Other people can see them for what it is, and it reflects badly on them, but they fail to acknowledge it within themselves or acknowledge that others can see it for what it really is: a self-inadequacy problem. They think they feel superior because they have the ability to make someone or some animal feel worse, but if they were to really think about it, they would realize this type of behavior only makes them feel and look worse about themselves. Believe it or not, it is true human nature to be kind rather than not, to be caring rather than uncaring. We all strive for it and want it in ourselves, so why do we seem to deviate from it so much? Unfortunately, these people do not have anything to compare their actions and feelings to, so they don’t know any better. They have never experienced what it feels like to do or feel the opposite, to give compassion and understanding to another living creature raises the inner self to a whole new level, but unless you try it, experience it, you have no comparison to your current existence.

There are phonies, or wannabees, out there: people who “do good” for others just to get their name in lights so to speak, to be acknowledged as a good person and get attention for it, these people are not doing their inner soul much good because what they seek is outside gratification: somebody telling them they are a good person or doing a good job. The only way to true inner self worth and gratification is to do something just because it’s the right thing to do and not to expect praise for it. Once you feel true compassion and understanding for yourself and others, this is easy to do and easy to live your life in such a fashion as to not do harm to others and help them out if you have the ability to do so and for no other reason than just because you can.

You will find you do not have to go out of your way to do any of this, all you have to do is think of every other living creature as having the same feelings, ability to feel pain, life-struggles as you do. Walk in their shoes, put yourself in their place. That is all it takes to be more compassionate and understanding, which will in turn, automatically make you kinder and gentler as you walk through life. This doesn’t just benefit those around you, but it benefits you a great deal by easing your stress, discomfort, self doubt, and building your character in a way that nobody can ever take away from you. A self worth above anything you will achieve in any other way, especially with some job, some new car, or some new phone or praise and acknowledgment from others.

The true way to knowing and experiencing what we are talking about in all of these sessions, or articles, is to try it for yourself. We know there are a lot of doubters out there; people who do not believe something as simple as what we talk about in these articles really works. And so, they won’t even try. This is truly a journey, a long process that takes place over months, and years for some, it does not happen overnight or by reading one article. First you have to want to try it, then you try it, they you stick to it, then you build off of it. Until one day, you stop and realize, “Wow, I’ve come a long way from being that person I used to be.” But then, you start to see others for the way they REALLY are, and then there may be a problem (which we will address down the road) and that is where compassion and understanding must take precedence – for your own good.

In next month’s issue of Inner Circkles, we will take another step on our journey to self spirituality.

Inner Circkles Monthly Exercise:

This month, put yourself in someone else’s place. Walk in their shoes. When someone is giving you a hard time, not acting the way you want, stop, walk away, and think about where they are really coming from. And if it’s a place you figure is self-serving for them, unkind, or they have some less-than-favorable motive for, think about what’s probably behind it REALLY. They are unhappy, don’t like their job, their life, are just doing their job, had awful parents, bad life experiences, whatever. This does not excuse their actions or treatment, it just helps you to realize that we are all human and we all suffer from human qualities and this gives their actions a lot less weight or power over you. What they are doing is not really being done to YOU but everybody they come into contact with. They are miserable people because they have not yet learned how to follow the path to being a happier person. They don’t know any better because they have nothing to compare it to and have never been taught another way.

The 10 Steps to Enlightenment (or happiness.) This is part of a series of articles that should be read in succession – from the first step to now – to fully grasp the journey we are embarking on here. To go back to previous Inner Peace articles, see our Categories to the right and click on Inner Peace.