Rank #1: Training the Mind
Ever want to focus on something but your mind keeps drifting away to whatever IT wants to think about, or really want to stop thinking about something but your mind "can't help it?" That's because you've never trained your mind to listen to you, and have allowed it to do whatever it wants. It's time to train it, slowly but surely...
Rank #2: Self-worth
If we're dependent on outside validation for a sense of self-worth, then we run the risk of living our entire lives polishing an image that pleases others rather than having awareness of our inherent worth by simply living and working with integrity. We've been told a story of hierarchy and then urged to make it to the top so we can look down on others, but I don't think our value is a contest or a competition; we all serve a purpose.
Rank #3: Setting Boundaries
If your image (how people perceive you) is more important to you than your own values, you'd allow people to cross some boundaries (or not even set them in the first place), all to protect your image. Your actions convey your priorities, so where does your image rank compared to your core values?
Rank #4: Don't Worry Be Mindful
It's not about controlling your thoughts, it's about getting to a point where your thoughts don't control you.
Rank #5: Family
The important difference between Family and Relatives.
Rank #6: A Grain of Salt
Can you look at the world with a fresh, unbiased mind, and trust your own discernment instead of looking for someone whom you deem "credible" to validate it for you?
Rank #7: Do Less Harm
In response to the Buddhist invitation to "Do No Harm," which I think is impossible, I prefer contemplating "Doing LESS Harm," which triggers awareness of our decisions' ripple effects on ourselves and the world around us until we find ways to minimize (not eliminate) the harm we cause when we eat, drink, read, watch, etc.
Rank #8: Forgiveness and Apologizing
Not forgiving is a form of self-imprisonment. Liberate yourself by doing away with the existing apology-and-forgiveness model that is similar to loan transactions in which one person is indebted to another, and get unstuck by taking the lesson from every experience, throwing away any grudge or resentment, and moving forward.
Rank #9: Don't Play the Blame Game
If you respond to any situation in life by saying, “This shouldn’t be happening,” you will experience anger, anxiety, despair, and hopelessness, which are significantly worse than the situation itself. We have a choice: we can either resist change (which leads to a life-long struggle with everything and everyone around us), OR we can gently navigate through all the inevitable twists and turns.
Rank #10: Validation
I used to rely on validation from other people in order to have a sense of self-worth, but that essentially meant I was in a co-dependent relationship with the entire world (think about it). Now my sense of value is up to me living a congruent life, striving to make sure that what I think, say, and do, are all in alignment. Give yourself the gift of true happiness, which isn’t contingent on outside validation, but on the goodness within. Namaste.
Rank #11: Echo Chamber
Do you have a close circle of friends who help you grow and evolve, or do you have an echo chamber in which everyone you know keeps you confined in a loop of destructive behavior, stunting your growth instead of promoting it?
Rank #12: Is It True Love?
If true love is unconditional, then if you only love someone because they love you back (or with the expectation that they always will), is it love at all?
Rank #13: A Good Starting Point
I was recently interviewed by Steve Prussack on his Juice Guru Radio Show, and this is a recorded portion of that live conversation. If you know someone who might benefit from the message and invitation in Buddhist Boot Camp, go ahead and send them this audio clip as a good place to start, or enjoy it as a good reminder.
Rank #14: Let Go Or Be Dragged
Is it the load that breaks our backs or the way we carry it?
Rank #15: Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself.
Rank #16: Are you behind the wheel?
If life is a road trip in the car, who is driving and deciding which path to take? Are you behind the wheel, or did you get on a bus with millions of other people, all living the same life, heading in the same direction, just sitting there... sometimes until the very last stop? We can get off the bus and change direction at any point if we're not happy with where we are, so the first step is to ask ourselves: who's driving, and are we happy with where we're headed?
Rank #17: Perspective, Progress, Purpose
We either enjoy the ebb and flow of the tide, or we try to fight the ocean. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
Rank #18: The Origin of Anger
Anger is a mask that covers hurt feelings or fear. If we learn to explain our anger instead of expressing it, we will immediately move away from hatred and rage, and gently open the door to solutions and understanding.
Rank #19: Less is More
Mindful money and time management, raising awareness of our habits, value assessments, enjoying the freedom that accompanies having less instead of more, and introducing joy to generosity. Do you have spending habits or investment habits? Your discipline reflects your priorities.
Rank #20: It's not you, It's me.
How I stopped blaming other people for the way I feel. The problem isn't frustrating situations or annoying people, it's that I keep getting annoyed and frustrated. It's not you.. it's me.