There are four kinds of food that we consume every day. They are: edible food (what we put into our mouths to nourish our bodies), sensory food (what we smell, hear, taste, feel and touch), volition (the motivation and intention that fuels us) and consciousness (this includes our individual consciousness, the collective consciousness, and our environment.)
-Thich Nhat Hanh
What did you consume today? This week? This month? Taking control of what we consume, when we can, will lead to a happier and more focused life.
We can aspire to be kind right in the moment, to relax and open our heart and mind to what is in front of us right in the moment. Now is the time. If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not at some future time.
Do you dwell on the future? Putting off the good things we can do right now can be just as risky as living in the past.
Your person or your goods, which is worth more?
Do you work on yourself as much as you work to earn money? Do the actions that earn you money also develop virtues? Earning money is not inherently problematic, not working to develop ourselves certainly is.
He who overcomes others has force. He who overcomes himself is strong.
Are you your worst enemy? We can start to eliminate negative thinking by confronting it with positive actions aimed at growth. Much of this starts with acknowledging that we can only control our own thoughts and actions. If we can control it, it should be aimed at self-improvement and at adding value to the communities of which we are a member.
Men are continually seeking retreats for themselves, in the country, or by the sea, or among the hills. Yet all this is the sheerest folly, for it is open to you every hour to retreat into yourself.
Do you need a vacation? You bring yourself wherever you go and that should be a good thing. The break you need from your routine can happen anywhere and at any time if you understand that you are the source of happiness and peace.
We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one.
How do you learn from mistakes? The only way to make use of mistakes is to properly reflect on them, learn and then act differently. If you seem to be plagued by making the same mistake again, and again it is likely not the mistake itself that is the problem. It may be a lack of honest reflection and appropriate action.
Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self: for that does fall within your control.
Do you compare yourself to others? Before you can be who you should be, you have to be clear about who you are. Your process will only ever be your own and each and every one of us is extremely unique. Instead of comparing and inevitably competing with others, learn from them and add value to their lives.
In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path. This is when real transformation can take place.
How do you describe and respond to “negative” emotions? Look at pain as a teacher, not a bully.
Books are the training weights of the mind.
How often do you read? Reading a book of your choosing is a great way to express your will, learn and cultivate discipline. Sitting down on a daily basis and reading something that is aimed at your growth and development is a great habit to cultivate a strong mind.
We are in the habit of exaggeration, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
Do you have a positive imagination? Focus on being competent in the now. Let yourself feel good about your competence, even in the smallest of things. This feeling will build if you let it and will lead to a healthy confidence. If you are confident in the now, your view of the future will be more optimistic. Think, write and really describe a positive image of tomorrow. Return to this positive image frequently.