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spiritual path

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Bothered by the Behaviour of Others? It Contains Precious Gifts...

1 minute 39 second read

It can be too easy for us to get ourselves bent out of shape about what the behaviours of others. They were rude, they were inconsiderate, they were thoughtless or selfish. We label them with our judgement.

No doubt there have been a lot of times you've heard yourself say (with great indignation), "How dare he do something like that?!"

And we allow ourselves to become upset by their words and actions, often while stewing over the offending behaviour.

It has been said that the things that irritate us about other people are behaviours or aspects of ourselves that we don't like. When I first heard this, I was very young and absolutely disagreed without thinking about it. But as I aged, I began to discover that although it wasn't always the case, there were definitely more occasions on which that was the truth than I wanted to admit.

The beauty in that, however, is that once I was willing to look at it, I could see the gift in it because it allowed me another layer of self-awareness. I could see that there were times I'd been upset with others for doing a version of something I had done, too.

The more I paid attention to my reactions to events that I found to be upsetting when I was on the receiving end, the more I was able to find room for improvement within myself.

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It is also true that not every occasion was about one of my own behaviours. In some cases, whatever it was that I found to be upsetting was a trigger, reminding me of a past incident, something that still stung. Often, there wasn't anything particularly rude or disrespectful in the behaviour; it was merely my interpretation because of my own issues.

The gift in this was in discovering wounds that had remained unhealed. This was especially helpful when I'd thought an issue had been resolved but apparently, there was another layer lurking and interfering with my life in some way.

Now, if I find myself feeling irritated by the behaviour of someone else, I ask myself why I feel that way. I take a good look to see if there are ways in which I am exhibiting the same behaviour. If I'm not, then I dig into why I feel triggered by the event.

At the end of the day, unless the behaviour of others impacts me directly (e.g. someone hits me or trashes my home), it's none of my business. I can choose not to react. I don't have to feel anything one way or another. Their behaviour is no reflection on me, unless I choose to make it about me. I can just observe and move on.



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How Do You Discover Your Purpose for This Life?

1 minute 43 second read

I can't tell you how many times people have told me, “I have absolutely no idea what my purpose is or what I’m meant to do in this life!”

To be honest, I don't know if there's just one answer to that burning question anyway. I mean, we are complex beings who are capable of having numerous gifts, abilities, and talents that could make us think “Oh, that's where I’ll find whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing in the world!”

Further complicating the issue is that we are bombarded with life events and circumstances that can adversely affect our lives — or positively impact them, as well. Sometimes those events seem to lead us into something that we think we're meant to do, or a message that we're supposed to share.

In that case, we might find ourselves asking, "Is this my purpose? Is this my destiny? And if it is — or isn't — how will I know?"

If we have any chance at all of knowing the absolute truth about any of those questions, we won't know for sure until we're back in the spirit realm. Actually, we don't even know that there is a point or a purpose to our lives, although I choose to believe there is.

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In the meantime, I've come up with a sort of recipe to help people discover what it is they're meant to be doing during their time here on the planet. Or at least, what might be a good use of their time and skills if there isn't actually a purpose for any of this.

First, think about what you really love to do. What lights you up? If you could get up every day and not have to worry about money or anything else and could just do whatever you want, what would it be?

For some it's various kinds of creativity like art or dance or music. For others, it might be playing with numbers, or creating Sudoku puzzles (I cannot imagine...). Still others want to play with little children, work with homeless people, build bridges or see the world.

The next step is to think about what you're really good at doing. What are your natural abilities? You know, those things you can do that always amaze others even though you think they're no big deal because they're so easy for you. What is it that comes easily to you?

When you can bring these two elements of yourself together — what you love and what comes easily to you — this is where you will find your purpose. Or at least, one of them! You might discover several at that intersection.

I'd love to hear what you believe is your purpose. How are you lighting up the world in your own special way? Go ahead and share in the comments below.

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"Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional..." (Quote by Haruki Murakami)

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(1 minute, 52 second read)

The Buddha taught that suffering arises when we have attachments to things that we desire. Whether this is in material objects, relationships, or various pleasure in life, the issue is that everything is transient and ultimately, loss is inevitable. We cannot always have the "thing" we want to buy, the trip we want to take, the person who doesn't love us back or that "not-good-for-us-but-wonderful-something" that we wish we could eat, drink, ingest or do.

Buddhism also teaches us that the only constant is change. As long as we draw breath, nothing about our lives is fixed or permanent. When you desire something, you are attempting to control it or make it happen

This is going against the forces of the universe and is a recipe for anxiety, depression, frustration, disappointment and other unpleasant emotions when you are not able to have or achieve that which you desire. This is the cause of suffering.

It is virtually impossible to completely eliminate desire. You can desire water when you're thirsty or food when you're hungry. The conundrum is that when you try to stop desiring something, you're still desiring to stop desiring.

What is most important is to eliminate attachment and desire as much as possible. This is how to end suffering and find true freedom from all anxieties, worries, and troubles.

When I first heard this idea, I thought, "How are we not supposed to feel attached to our children or other loved ones?" It took a while for me to realise that we can love without attachment because they're like comparing apples and frogs. They're not at all the same. We can love our children (and others) for who and what they are without feeling attached to a desire for those relationships to be a certain way.

Sometimes it means letting go of people you love, even if it's your children or other family members. Staying attached to a relationship that isn't working will only bring distress and toxicity to your life.

 
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One significant game-changer in releasing attachment and suffering is in the stories we tell ourselves. A relationship breaks up and we say things like, "I'll never find someone so wonderful again." Or "I'll never be happy again." Or "I'll never get over this."

As long as you choose to think such negative thoughts, you're right, you'll never be happy or find that "someone wonderful." It is up to you to create positive thoughts and to focus on good possibilities and keep your vibration high so you can attract like-minded positive people and situations that will light up your life.

Let go of your negative thinking. Let go of the sad-sack stories. Focus on the good in your life and stop fretting about the past or worrying about the future, for neither exists. The only reality is this present moment, this one, right here, right now. You can choose to make it a happy, positive, blessed moment of gratitude in your life. Or you can suffer through it by dwelling on what's wrong, what you're lacking or will never have.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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Sometimes All You Can Do Is Nothing

Doesn't it just drive you mental when you're watching people make choices that you just know are going to have disastrous results? They might have asked your opinion and if you respect them, you'll have been honest with them (as tactfully as possible).

You might have offered your opinion without being asked (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your relationship) - and there's never a guarantee that it will have been heard, but that's not up to you. At least you tried.

Despite obvious negative consequences, some or all of which may even be acknowledged by these people, they continue on their destructive path, rushing headlong into some nightmare or other, ignoring the wisdom of anyone who might have had anything to say on the subject.

And there you are, standing on the sidelines, bound and gagged watching someone you love or care about, careening down a steep hill on a bicycle at an insane rate of speed, and you're just waiting for the splat!! when they hit the brick wall that's waiting at the bottom.

It's natural for us to want to fix things for the people who are important to us, to prevent them from being hurt or making mistakes and winding up in some kind of trouble.

But the truth is, experience is the best teacher. If people don't 'get it' from thinking about the consequences of their actions, the only way they'll figure it out is to go through it.

They'll have learned something about themselves (or will repeat the lesson at a later time...a bigger ouch each time, until they learn it), and they'll have learned something about you, too, that you do have a clue, that your judgement is sound - at least sometimes.

They'll have learned that perhaps it's wise to at least consider the opinions of others who have an interest in their wellbeing.

It's especially awful when it's your children who are making these frightening (for parents) choices and ending up suffering the consequences of their foolhardy actions.

But no matter who it is, we can only do our best to guide, suggest and direct. After that, all of us have the right to choose our own paths, no matter how difficult they might ultimately be.

It could be said that there are no mistakes in life, only opportunities to learn. And it's true that experience is the best teacher. I know it doesn't feel like that when we're helplessly watching loved ones heading for a crisis but sometimes, all we can do is be there to support and encourage while they pick up the pieces of their lives.

And thank heaven, we're there to do it.

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