In this chapter you will learn about three important daily habits that can be used to facilitate change. Based on our research and personal experiences over the past two decades, we have seen, firsthand, how these habits are beneficial to everyone who desires long term happiness. Once learned, you may want to add these daily habits as part of your daily goals...
...Daily habits of charity, reflection and prayer can by their very nature attract positive options to you, so you don't have to work so hard to create them. These habits cannot replace planning and action but they can be added to your planning and goals to foster more positive energy in an already improving life position.
Has someone ever told you to listen to your heart? If you find that you are filled with anxiety and fear, it's worth taking the time each day to slow down, analyze why you feel the way you do. Everyone has the ability to reflect on life and adjust for better results. People have been able to create a personal atmosphere that welcomes these life changing experiences. Buddhist monks have a long rich history of attaining this level of awareness. It has been documented that high intensity professional athletes break through to different levels of Transcendent experiences. And then, of course, there are the more common cases of people such as Dianne who are struck by a life-changing experience because their minds opened in times of turmoil and profound reflection.
If you are living the positive column of the Thought Process Chart you are already successfully practicing some of these habits. If you are thinking of people and checking your motives, you are reflecting on your behavior regarding others. If you have been doing this, then you are already building new habits. Now the question becomes: "In order to open my heart and mind to greater insight on effective methods to further my daily goals, what do I need to do?"...
Charity is when you help people or situations, and receive no direct benefit. Acts of random, anonymous kindness, love, and donations of money and time are all acts of charity. The only benefit you will get happens inside of you. In short, you will experience joy. If you give anonymously, you will instantly feel good. Because all people are connected to everything that is living, a full circle of positivity occurs. You are the only person that will see the good deed being done, assuming it is anonymous. The joyous feeling you get is from within, not the result of human approval associated with recognition for good deeds. If you want to feel joy, love others anonymously every day. You will discover a wealth of untapped resources and you will begin to learn how to love yourself.
Reflection is the internal process of calming yourself enough to hear what your emotions and past actions are telling you. This helps you measure your human performance and then problem solve.
How is it that some people have the ability to remain calm and focused in the most chaotic situations? The answer is they are practiced at reflecting and then putting in place those actions necessary to fix personal problems and challenges. Reflection does not have to take place in a peaceful setting. It simply means concentrating; reflecting on past experiences, then using that knowledge to your benefit and the benefit of others.
Reflection can be even more beneficial when you have the time to look at your day in peaceful surroundings. Then it only takes a few moments to examine your day and ask yourself whether or not you made the best of it. Have you succeeded in your goals? Have you found your days are running more smoothly since you became committed to personal change? Do you feel less anxiety? Do you concentrate on your fears or on your next task? Are you happy? These are the typical questions of a reflective person...
If you are atheist or simply dislike the idea of discussing prayer you can skip this section and move on to the long term goals in the following chapter. We included this topic to help satisfy the questions we receive from the many guests who have faith based belief systems.
Why is prayer important? Many people lack personal faith at times and simply forget what is inside of them. They lose the ability to listen and converse with their own Soul. In these faithless dark moments of self-centeredness, prayer is each person crying out to remember the connection they have with others and with God. Many atheists experience desperate moments in their lives and prayer comes quite naturally to them as well. These prayers are not necessarily directed to God in all cases, but can be a natural internal conversation.
For those with a belief in God, in times of extreme stress or agitation, these conversations can be bitter, one-sided monologues. Or these moments of human desperation can lead to the revelation that there is a God. To some people their prayers may seem to go unanswered when they expect God to fix things on their terms. They forget that all the tools for happiness are internal and that God is actually within them. If you sit waiting for Divine intercession then you will likely be disappointed. The purpose of prayer is to help people to heal over time and to focus their energies on moving in a positive and productive direction. It is your job to change and adapt with God as your energy Source...
...All Three Habits Together
Time spent praying and reflecting each day along with at least one act of charity are worthwhile daily goals while at the retreat house and beyond.
Go to Lesson 19.1 and add these three habits into your daily spiritual goals list. You may want to begin to listen to your inner Voice; your Soul or as some put it, your heart. Feelings of restlessness, anxiety, unhappiness and irritability are messages to be heeded. When there are things in your life that your heart cries out to change, change them; life is just too short to waste when intuition speaks.
There are only two things in life about which people worry: things they can change and things they cannot. If you are worried about things you can changeÃ¢â‚¬"stop worrying, get busy and change whatever needs to be changed. But, if you are worried about things you cannot changeÃ¢â‚¬"stop it, because all of your worrying will not change a thing. In either case and instead of worrying, add charity, reflection and prayer to your new lifestyle and you may find the insights and strength to tackle challenges you thought were impossible to change. You are now ready to embark upon your long term goals list.