transform your daily experience from one of stress and overwhelm to one of meaning
life doesn’t need to be so stressful
For those who continually search for a path of meaning and possibly an escape from the stresses of everyday life and especially the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, I offer five daily practices that hold the power to transform your daily experience into one of meaning.
The 5 Daily Practices
- The Daily Practice of Spending Time in Solitude
- The Daily Practice of Embracing Simplicity
- The Daily Practice of Engaging in Kindness
- The Daily Practice of Cultivating Self-Expression
- The Daily Practice of Respecting the Body
The Daily Practice of Spending Time in Solitude
About ‘Spending Time in Solitude”
[I recently revised this practice from one of spending time in silence to spending time in solitude. As I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s excellent book, Digital Minimalism, it has informed me more fully on the topic of solitude. After some consideration, I altered this first practice to be more inclusive than its previous version.]
A daily practice of spending time in solitude doesn’t have to mean establishing a formal meditation practice. You don’t need to buy any incense or a tiny Buddha statue or set up any kind of altar. Though completely harmless, that can be threatening to some.
I like this definition of spending time in solitude from Newport’s book:
Solitude: The practice of spending time alone with your own thoughts and free from the input from other minds
The Daily Practice of Embracing Simplicity
About “Embracing Simplicity”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci
This practice is far-reaching and has the potential to transform our lives in many areas. That’s because instead of a simple, straightforward, and relatively isolated practice like sitting in silence, adopting simplicity is much a more layered undertaking as it touches everything we do.
Embracing Simplicity – means that we are focused on identifying and employing only what is essential and most efficient.
The Daily Practice of Engaging Kindness
In 2012, I wrote and published a spiritual memoir, The Practical Buddhist. In that book, I delineated my three-fold spiritual practice that was composed of:
- meditation – spending time in silence each day
- mindfulness – performing periodic awareness check-ins throughout the day
- compassionate-kindness – acting on the compassion I feel and performing regular acts of kindness
Today’s post is about the third daily practice for a contented and happy life, The Practice of Engaging in Kindness, and it’s very similar to the third bullet above.
About Engaging in Kindness
“My simple religion is kindness.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Daily Practice of Cultivating Self-Expression
About this Practice
Each of us has a perceived identity reflecting the components of our personality, genetic traits, and goals for the future. If we possess self-awareness, we may view our identity as something to be celebrated.
Self-expression can take many forms of physical expression, including mode of dress, tattoos, hairstyle and color, accessories, piercings, and relationship partners to name a few.
Other less obvious forms of self-expression might be reflected in our choice of career, hobbies, favorite recreational activities, personal belief systems, and overall world view.
Cultivating a practice of self-expression might seem like it doesn’t fit into this schema of the contented and happy life, but I’d argue that it’s essential to both recognize and celebrate.
The Daily Practice of Respecting the Body
About this Practice
The practice of respecting the body is a moment-by-moment choice we make each day to honor the living, breathing shell that houses our being.
We only have one body and despite the pervasive belief of the young that their bodies will last forever, they are prone to break down; Simultaneously, they are also resilient and capable of recovering from decades of abuse due to alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and even heroin.
We are presented with numerous opportunities each day to respect the body. From the moment we wake and choose our first bite of food and drink to the moment we return to bed for sleep we maintain the ability to choose what we put in our body, how we move it, and our resting posture.
The three main categories for respecting the body include nutrition, exercise, and position.
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