For those who would like to do something beneficial for themselves and help create a life they love, Dr. Maciel suggests one take five minutes a day to contemplate one or more of these themes:
1. APPRECIATE THE LIFE YOU HAVE
How incredible it is to be born as a human being. We all have this potential. We possess intelligence to see things clearly, we have eyes and ears, and taste and touch, to enjoy beauty around us with the senses. Compared to many others whose lives are less fortunate, how good are the lives we have. How fortunate we have friends and family. When was the last time you thought of your mother with appreciation and warmth? When was the last time you really and deeply listened to your spouse/partner? When was the last time you engaged with your children 100 per cent without your mind being somewhere else? Imagine today was the last day of your life and you only had 24 hours left. What would you do with those 24 hours?
Think about what you have and appreciate it instead of thinking of what you do not have and think you still need to make you happy.
2. REFLECT ON YOUR OWN BASIC GOODNESS
Whether you know it or not, as human beings we all possess basic goodness. This goodness is always there, it has been there from the beginning, and it will be there until the end. This goodness is unconditional. It is not ‘goodness’ as opposed to ‘badness.’ It is what is there when we appreciate ourselves, when we respect our human potential, when we are genuine and true to ourselves, and when we make authentic friendship with who we are.
Just sit back, sit still, and listen to what’s inside. You may glimpse it if you try. It is raw, it is gentle, it is huge, it is the intelligent heart. The human heart. The heart which suffers when we see our own or someone else’s pain.
ake a moment to sit in a quiet place, upright, eyes open, and observe your own breathing. If thoughts come along, acknowledge them gently, and go back to breathing.
3. REFLECT ON THE BASIC GOODNESS OF OTHERS
We are so well trained in finding the faults of other people. We are, in general, not so well trained in relating with the sanity and the potential others have.
‘If only he would not be like this, do this, do that, then’……’I do not like her, because she always’…….’I like her, but then she sometimes is a real jerk’…………..’
As much as we are mistrusting of our own basic goodness, we are mistrusting of the basic goodness of others. Reflecting on that goodness takes a big heart. It takes confidence, fearlessness and gentleness. We have to be willing to take a risk. We have to be willing to jump the gun, and do it on the spot. We have to be willing to put our own pettiness away for a moment and open our hearts.
Decide about one small thing you want to change today, and see what happens. For instance, offer a friendly greeting to a colleague you normally avoid; keep an open mind when someone you dislike says something; take a moment to appreciate the love of your spouse, partner or a friend; open your eyes and ears sincerely when someone relates a problem. Just a few ideas to get you going.
4. THINK ABOUT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU
Most of the time we just go along with our lives without much thinking and reflecting. We are set in our ways and habits, sometimes good, sometimes not so good.
Take a moment now to consider what is really important to you. If you are completely happy and content all the time, there is no need to continue with this contemplation. You already have everything you ever wanted right here, right now.
If, however, you have some doubts about your own true happiness, then please continue. But be honest with yourself. Don’t fool yourself into chasing paper tigers. I mean REAL HAPPINESS, not some watered-down version of fun that may last a day or a week. I mean real brilliance, true joy, genuine confidence and no fear.
If your assessment reveals you do not have all that, at least not all the time, but you would like to have it, or have more of it, then think about what you are going to do to get it. SET YOUR PRIORITIES. You only have one life to live. If you waste it…what a shame.
5. WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY
It is worth thinking about how you would like to be remembered by others when you are dead. Obviously, there are always choices to be made in life.
‘He was a genuine, compassionate person.’
She was gentle, tolerant, and tough at the same time.’
‘He was honest, courageous, our hero.’
‘She was a true friend, a devoted wife, a wonderful mother.’
What would they say about you?
‘She was miserly, most of the time miserable, and in a bad mood.’
‘He was depressed and a burden to others.’
‘He was selfish, always putting himself first.’
‘She was greedy, scheming, and a fake.’
You fill in your own worst nightmare then decide which it is going to be. And, then get going. Time may be running out!
Here’s how to start: Sit down and make a list of all your good qualities, endowments, and possessions (material and non-material, as you like). It helps looking at the list to appreciate who you are. In fact, once you complete the list, you may want to start over again with contemplation exercise number one.
WARNING: If you can’t do any of these exercises, it may be high time to thing about changing something in your life. Rest assured, there are things you can do.
1. Know that it is never to late to make changes in your life.
2. Exercise discipline pursuing things that are worthwhile, instead of wasting time with stuff that could be considered frivolous.
3. Develop a sense of generosity. Generosity is not always about money. It could be anything, time or effort, a bigger heart and tolerance, as well as material things. Whatever you find difficult to give, just start giving it anyhow.
4. Make a decision about how you want to lead the rest of your life. In fact, today IS the first day of the rest of your life. Begin today to be the person you want to be.
courtesy of Dr. Anna G. Maciel, Psychologist Longevity Wellness Resort Monchique