28 Ways to Live a Mindful Life.

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Row of Buddhas

Cheerful 79th Birthday to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

With much gratitude to Tenzin Gyatso for his simple, practical, humble teachings. May he continue to thrive and illuminate the minds and hearts of the world.

Here is a list of marvelous ways to live joyfully and mindfully, accompanied by some of my favorite dharma quotes from the Dalai Lama. May it be of benefit!

1. Wake up.

Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can. 

2. Pay attention.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

3. Slow down.

When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.

4. Listen.

5. Look.

When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings.

6. Breathe and relax.

As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings.

7. Practice.

A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.

8. Cultivate gratitude and compassion for all.

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness. 

9. Go with the flow.

10. Let go of resistance.

Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.

11. Learn by choice.

12. Ingest inspiration.

13. Experience this, here, now.

We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contibute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.

14. Connect.

Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister.

15. Be like water.

16. Plant seeds.

We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninty or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contibute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.

17. Make friends with your inner self and outer enemies.

From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes.

18. Be of service.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

19. Care for the earth.

Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.

20. Smile.

Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.

21. Give up seeking.

We need to learn how to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get steady and stable Happiness.

22. Find balance.

Whether you believe in God or not does not matter much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.

23. Do more singing, dancing, laughing.

An open heart is an open mind.

24. Be happy not jealous.

If I am only happy for myself, many fewer chances for happiness. If I am happy when good things happen to other people, billions more chances to be happy!

25. Get enough quality sleep.

Sleep is the best meditation.

26. Aspire to improve the lives of all beings including yourself.

27. Give love.

Love is the absence of judgment. 

28. Wake up some more.

There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide. No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life. We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us, not even the Buddha. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?

 

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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Pixoto/Damien Kwok; Flickr

 

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a yogi, writer and teacher. Hers is the mind behind Yoga Freedom. Hailing from Austin, Texas, her home base since 2012 has been Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands where she lives with her husband, daughter and fur family. Michelle has been writing this column for elephant journal since 2010 and has also self-published several inspiring books. Michelle’s practice style incorporates hatha yoga asana, dharma/Buddhist teachings, pranayama/breathwork, yin, mindfulness, chakra balancing, mantra and meditation. Go on retreat with Michelle in Guatemala!

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anonymous Jun 19, 2015 8:42pm

I have been a nurse for 38 years. I have believed that having compassion is one of the greatest traits and striving for kindness is a daily endeavor. But I am not always kind and not always compassionate. I find myself being petty and getting angry and judgmental. This occurs more often when I am tired, and as I age, I tire more easily. Trying to see 16 to 20 patients in a day, and give them all good care, can be a difficult thing. I pray for patience, to be kind, and to help the people I see. I pray to see what their true need is, which is often not what they are complaining about. Reading the words of wisdom that help me to narrow my focus to what is truly important in life, gives me an added strength and energy to stay on the pathway I have set for myself. I have just discovered this web site and find myself having moments of quiet joy as I soak in some of the beautiful words and thoughtful treatises. I have always loved the power of beautifully written words that weave a connection between different souls who have never even met, yet can so strongly influence one another. The Dalai Lama is such a man whose words imprint values I share and aspire to. I will retire tonight with thankfulness after being uplifted by his simple yet purposeful thoughts on living life well directed towards compassion, joy and mindfulness.