Spiritual Balance (4 of 4)

How was the week? Did you walk in someone else’s shoes?

Another one of the eight steps is ‘Great Compassion’, showing our feelings towards the ones that have less than we do. Understanding or having empathy for the ones that suffer and helping them to come out of the suffering. If that is a homeless person or your child or a friend or a complete stranger, if they are in misery try to help them feeling better. And my suggestion would be to do that before you help yourself.

Maybe an example could be a rough flight in a plane and you and others get scared. Try to calm down others first and show them that you protect them before fighting your own fear. By doing so you already fighting your own fear and calm your mind automatically. This might sound selfish but helping others means you help yourself at the same time. Giving to charity makes you feel good about yourself whilst still helping others.

Samsara, the constant reborn cycle in Buddhism, does not allow for any true happiness, e.g. enlightenment. Buddha (Gyatso, 2000, page 123) compared living in samsara to sitting on top of a pin – no matter how much we try to adjust our position it is always painful, and no matter how hard we try to adjust and improve our samsaric situation it will always irritate us and give rise to pain. True happiness can be found only by attaining liberation from samsara. By developing a desire for all living beings to experience pure happiness, we attain liberation. 

Another one of the great philosophical pieces in Buddhism is about the victory and accepting defeat. What I mean by that is simple: let others win. Whether this is the argument at work or someone insisting on being right in something, just accept their opinion and let them move on and you move on. No use to actually fight over something, let them win and in your heart you can feel like the winner. I once had that with a co-worker who did not seem to be too keen on me and tried to make me feel really bad. So I let him speak and he started shouting as I did not react in the same way he expected me to react. However, when I calmly accepted some of his points he made but questions some others, he still continued trying to win a battle he already lost. He was aggravated, not happy and wanted (!) to be right. I did not. I agreed and moved on to more important things, and he walked away feeling proud to have won an argument but being empty inside. I was smiling all day long for him being so foolish. Besides I saw his true face, something worth more than trying to claim victory.

All this comes down to giving rather than receiving things, arguments or energy. I am prepared to give to others in order to help them. I get satisfaction from doing so.

Bodhichitta is the word for the mind striving for enlightenment. For me it is an open mind that lets thoughts of others in, gives others and put others above themselves. A good human being you could argue based on a Buddhist philosophy. I do not mind what you call it, for me this is a way of living and dying and imagining that we are only a small part in the greater game of the universe, being reborn into new lives. A fascinating thought, an endless circle of suffering.

Whilst most examples I used were from Buddhism, a lot of cultural similarities can be found in other religions. I grew up to be a Lutheran Protestant (Christian) and never really understood the differences in Christianity, including Catholicism, when fighting for the same cause. Religion has always had a bad taste with wars being fought over which religion is right. This is not my discussion to have, but I see Buddhism as a philosophy rather than a religion with the same ethical principles as most other religions, however yet somewhat deeper inside, more neutral and more helpful in regards to personal development.

I hope you found this chapter useful. I could probably write a whole book on it…maybe later in life.

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Spiritual Balance (3 of 4)

We came a long way. Accepting those challenges and being open for the universal signs of spiritual development is important.

As I believe only with a complete unity and fulfilment of all of Maslow’s levels, you will be able to be a happier and more complete person. Finding sanctuary in meditation, dwelling on problems and then letting go and asking the spirits and energy for solutions, will make you a more content person.

However, it is not only about the analytical way of seeing it but about the spiritual path and inner acceptance of things and letting go of your analytical mind. Let the mind flow and believe, in yourself and your destiny, from deep within.

I believe that the purpose of you in life is a lot bigger than you could imagine. The inner satisfaction and growth you get by looking beyond the first four stages of Maslow’s pyramid and going beyond will make you a more rounded person with more energy to give to others. It will result in a bigger and better you in all aspects of life. It takes awhile to develop though; do not expect anything over night!

I read a lot of Buddhist books, including Eight Steps to Happiness (Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang (2000), Eight Steps to Happiness, The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness, Tharpa Publications). The challenge of reading a lot about a philosophy or religion is that you can have the most profound knowledge but it is down to the application of theories, practising meditation for instance.

Within the eight steps, there is one called ‘learning to cherish others’ which I see as a basic principle of mankind. We should cherish all other human and living beings and be happy for them. That might sound difficult when you just lost your job to someone else or did not get the position, but you should be happy for the person as I believe things meant to be. So if someone else wins a race against you then this is because for whatever reasons the universe decided that this person should win, most probably because s/he was better in something or for you to learn a certain lesson. You should be grateful for that person being able to win and be so good in what they do.

The law of attraction would suggest that if you are happy for them, you will attract happiness into your life. The same is true for love. The way we love a child or a partner or a close family member, we should love all human beings and share our love with them. would not it be nice for us all to share the love with everyone else? It sounds Bohemian or Hippie like but that is how the world comes together by sharing the love and cherishing each other. It is about letting go of ourselves and our self-concern. The universe is not made to circle around us. We are part of it. We are part of the universal love.

Imagine the universe as an energy system. Any negative energy you send out will be balanced with a negative energy same or greater as yours. Same with positive one. The more you send out, the more you receive. The forces in each system are equal.

As part of our spiritual development we should think of walking in someone else’s shoes. We need to understand other humans’ point of view and work towards exchanging ourselves with them and their situation. By doing so and cherishing love, putting others on the priority list above ourselves, we will learn to live a happier and more fulfilled life, attracting more and more love from others too. It is really a win/win situation.

Try it this week, walk in someone else’s shoes this week and see how you got on.

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Spiritual Balance (2 of 4)

From last week we defined that spiritual balance is one pillar of productivity leading you to higher purpose, or giving you a higher purpose in general. This is key to understanding, balancing your life and being able to have a spiritual balance, is life changing – life enhancing.

A common question is about what influence did your family, in particular your mother/father, have on your decisions in life. Did you respect your father as a person and see him as a mentor? Did he beat you as a child and was he an alcoholic beating up your mother?  Was he a great, caring dad and home a lot, be there for you after school?

Answers to those questions can give you a great insight why you are motivated one way or another. You are going deep inside you to identify what drives you on. Finding those answers, identifying those unconscious drivers in a most non analytical way is key to finding your inner purpose and motivation. And some could be a lot more positive!

I am personally of the opinion to not worry about every little detail here. For me I believe that I failed a lot of times in life because I did things for others who I thought had a certain expectation of me. This was for example my parents expecting me to go to university and do a recognised degree. But I failed that and only when I chose to go to the school I chose with the right environment and started doing things for myself, I realised I was not failing anymore. For me it was not about intellect but about attitude and inner support. If you do not believe you can swim, you will ultimately drown! No matter how hard you try, there needs to be a force that pulls you to want to, having “swimming” as a purposeful goal.

Nevertheless, I also believe that things are happening for a reason and are predetermined. Failure just helps you to get off the ground and look at things differently, makes you stronger and in the long run succeed even more. It can lead to total failure but that is down to you. You are the master of your thoughts, your attitude and your mind. However, failure helps to succeed, if you learn from your mistakes.

Building a positive belief system is key. Being able to project yourself into a given situation and being both confident and analytical at the same time, analysing both your outcome and the impact that situation has on you and others is key. Then wanting to grow your impact and grow your inner peace by increasing your footprint on the outside, your influence, will make you a better person. This is of course based on the assumption of you having positive things in mind.

How does spirituality fit in? Old wisdoms from any religion have suggested exactly that. Finding the inner attitude and spirit before riding into battle in the name of God. The prayer for you and others gave you the focus and activated positive energy towards people – and still does. Thinking of people in a positive way causes them to do better and if you are a believer of yourself you can climb the highest mountain.

Spirituality for me is about self awareness, inner peace and self analytics on a deep down level. Asking the universe to send you the right thought or job or person that comes into your life and can help you to just adjust a bit of direction for you to do better. Or the person that is sent to give you a greater challenge and you having to cope more than you normally would have to. To challenge you. To make you grow.

So to summarise week two, we are looking at a pillar that gives you strength and allows you to find purpose in what you do. Giving you energy and will power to succeed in what you want to achieve.

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Spiritual Balance (1 of 4)

This chapter of my book becomes more important as we mature with our research in terms of underlying principles of productivity. So to publish this, it is an in depth discussion on one of the pillars of productivity. How you achieve spiritual balance though, either via religion or any other spiritual practise, is entirely up to you.

As discussed previously, the term work life balance has long been used for people to separate work and life. However, more and more people working longer hours. Hence experts in that topic realised that the term should be changed to life life balance, as you actually balancing two parts of your life. And work seems to be the bigger one in terms of waking hours and security, e.g. money. Also, the boundaries, with always connected mobile devices, are blurred.

However, I believe in order to balance your work, life, yourself, partner, family, etc. you need to have a very holistic approach. There might be individuals that just go to work, 9-5, and then head home to their TV or hobby and do that every day. These people are probably not reading my work either.

But to life there is more than just work. I am a believer to make work part of life and fulfilment as otherwise I waste about 40-60 hours each week to progress with my personal development, and ultimately life fulfilment. That would be a shame.

Maslow’s well known hierarchy of needs talks about 5 stages:

– Physical needs: food, drink, sex

– Safety: family, income, employment

– Love/connectedness: belonging to a group, being married/partner

– Esteem: self-esteem, confidence, respected by others

– Self-actualisation: being worthwhile, achieving what someone wants

If we look at most people’s situation, we are looking at someone that is in employment, has enough food to sustain oneself, either is part of a group or is married and is confident about what she does, and gets respected by others. Latter might be something that is not the case and if so, I suggest getting a coach or good friend to help you to improve your self esteem. You are worth it and sometimes it is just a matter of pulling a few levers, changing a few things on your attitude to realise the impact you have on others and for others to acknowledge the positive impact you have on them.

So from my point of view, if you have a job and a social life outside Facebook, you are in a good state to find fulfilment of the first four stages. Now you could argue that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a bit old, having been established in 1943. I would agree somewhat but for illustration purpose I believe it is still very much relevant. On top of the pyramid sits the purpose and self actualisation. Spiritual Awareness in my eyes. Like the Eye of Providence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Providence) on the Freemason’s pyramid, but I do not want to drift too far.

For me spiritual awareness is not about a religion per se but about you finding yourself via spiritual means. Finding a purpose beyond earning money and feeding a family. A purpose that is only yours. Your personal reason for life, answering the very one question of “Why am I here on Earth and do the things I want?”. I will not be able to supply you with those answers here and I believe for everyone there is a different reason for being here. Life is about finding those answers that dwell deep inside yourself.

Life is about finding your own purpose, answering your why, and one of the pillars leading to it is spiritual balance.

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