Core Values, What's Important for a Life Well Lived?
Session Details - August, 2017. We started with a mindfulness practice followed by the heart practice of Softening - Soothing & Allowing.
“The most important thing is remembering the most important thing”
- Suzuki Roshi
In our time you can Google anything to gain instant information - yet the honing of true wisdom – finding the most important thing, takes far more than a Google search - it takes practice from the inside out, an inner deepening of understanding from continued effort.
We sometimes refer to the importance of ancient wisdom – can we find our deep core values this way? Perhaps the wisdom is already inside of us, we just need to go within to re-connect with it.
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the things I want to live for.” - Thomas Merton, The Man in the Sycamore Tree (1970)
Exercise: Discovering our core values
Some thoughts on what's important:
If your house were burning down what would you grab?
Our brain follows our motive; create a mantra, something that will help to transcend ordinary ways of thinking. A life-affirming companion throughout your day.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman (mentor to MLK Junior)
The purpose behind all this practice is Eudaimonia. It is the well-being that flourishes up from the inside. Stemming from our innate wisdom and ethics.
“Being at the work of the soul.”- Aristotle
“The vital force that directs an organism toward self-fulfillment.” - Jean Houston
The dynamic purpose in our life, our essential nature. It is the entelechy of the baby to be an adult human being; the entelechy of the sunflower seed to be a sunflower and our entelechy to take sacred time to be true to our essence.
If you feel you have lost touch with your essence, your passion. The impetus is there but in need of cultivation. Think back to when you were young - what made your heart skip? In what places did you feel at ease and totally peaceful? What was your favourite toy as a young child? What activities bring you to absolute presence? It could be; nature, animals, art, writing or singing. Whatever it is re-connecting with it may be a great start.
In our busy times, we have the real potential to get lost - becoming a chameleon to so many things, spreading ourselves so thin that we risk losing touch with our true nature. Connecting back with our entelechy can give luminosity, a vibrancy that is visible in the way we move through life.
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools....to show us the way." - Paulo Coelho
Once we are clear on what is important, the orientation of our heart, it can act like a lighthouse, assist us to alter our perspective on things.
When difficulties arise perspective allow them to be observed from the front and from the back, from the sides, and from the top and the bottom – from many different angles. While changing our emotions and situations can be quite hard, changing our perspective is relatively easy.
A healthy perspective really is the foundation of joy and happiness, because the way we see the world is the way we experience the world. Changing the way we see the world in turn changes the way we feel and the way we act, which changes the world itself.
"With our mind we create our own world." - Buddha
“Our perspective towards life is our final and ultimate freedom.” - Viktor Frankl
Compassion as a motivation:
P. Gilbert - "Compassion can flow naturally when we understand and work to remove our fears, our blocks and our resistance to it. Compassion is one of the most difficult and courageous of all our motivations, but it is also the most healing and elevating."
Morning intention setting: "what is my heart's desire? What do I wish for myself, for my loved ones, and for the world?"
What I Have Learned So Far - Mary Oliver
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world? Because, properly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion. Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit to no labour in its cause? I don't think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a story, all kindness begins with the sown seed. Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of light is the crossroads - of indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.