2008 is at its end and 2009 is upon us
Have you contemplated your spiritual self improvement plan for next year?
Here are 7 questions you can ask yourself:
1. What will I accomplish with my intentions for 2009?
You can begin by thinking of a few things or experiences you would like to have during the next 12 months.
I advise that you think about having at least one clear, simple desire for your life’s overall happiness, plus at least one intention in each of these life areas (or others that are important to you):
5. Health and Fitness
This list suggests at least 9 life-specific intentions, plus when you fill them in, you have your overall intent for the next year.
2. How will I make my life more meaningful in 2009?
If you follow only one exercise from my list here, this first question is the one I suggest that you contemplate and work with. Because it’s the meaning you find in your life that forms the basis for your happiness or fulfillment.
What does your day-to-day experience bring you in spiritual or emotional terms? What habits most effect your relationships and enjoyment for you and for your loved ones, family and friends? How can you more objectively observe your experience of your daily or moment-to-moment life?
In other words, what’s your most important reason for being?
And … how will you identify with this realization in the year ahead?
3. How will I increase my awareness of my life in 2009?
This is the classic “what is the meaning of life” question.
It’s not meant to be answered specifically, but to get you to think and feel about what happens to you in the moment. Catch yourself unawares, in the midst of any activity and notice your feeling about what you are doing or thinking of while you are doing it. Catching yourself in the moment is closely tied to identifying how you are enjoying your life – it’s not so much what is happening but how you respond to what is happening that determines your enjoyment or experience.
Evaluate your capacity to observe the moment. Then imagine what your awareness can become throughout the year, and by its conclusion on December 31, 2009.
Finally, set one or more intentions to increase your moment by moment’s awareness over the next year.
4. How will I increase my enjoyment of each moment in 2009?
There are an unlimited number of ways to ask yourself this question. Zen teaches that there are “10,000” states of mind–an arbitrary number perhaps, but one chosen to give you an idea of the potential each moment holds. We all know that how you think and feel about each moment is crucial to your overall feeling of well-being.
I speak in terms of moments because chances are your attention span is growing shorter. If you are like most people, the events of life as it has evolved by 2009 will create an ever-increasing demand on your attention than events did even a couple of years ago.
So what are you going to do to simplify your life over the next year and keep your focus clear and open to the joy present in each moment? How are you going to make your life easier, not out of laziness, but necessity–to prioritize what’s truly important and make changes in your thinking and feeling processes to allow you to enjoy those key areas you are identifying here?
5. How will I make my life more free and experience more of its potential for increasing my well-being in 2009?
Taking stock of your life’s purpose or mission for the foreseeable future is more necessary than you may realize. Again, there are many sources clamoring for your attention, and unless you are clear-sighted about what you wish to experience, you will allow the many-faceted glitter all around you to grab hold of your energy and shape your life for you, perhaps in ways you never desired.
How will you alter your focus so as to fine tune your intention for your experience of 2009, and not the media’s, the latest negative prediction or a helter-skelter running around, putting out the next fire that just seems to come out of nowhere?
Sure, there will be events that seem out of control. No amount of clear focused intention will eliminate “life’s stuff”. But unless you deal with unexpected events effectively, the energy seems to snowball and only get worse. The suggestions in this article are not meant to form a mechanical template for “improving your life”. Instead, it’s a thought- and feeling-provoking process to help you find order and peace, strength and goodness even in the midst of chaos. And in order for your strength to come to the fore, it needs to be nurtured. By you.
It’s about the little moments you take to do this nurturing. Every temple has an altar, perhaps a table, covered by white linen, or at least a candle or some other point of focus, even if placed reverently on a bare slab.
But let yours be the one with the feeling that this is your inner place, the one place in all of life that you can “come home to” even in the midst of challenges, even if only for split seconds until you can devote time for an extended meditation.
6. How will I make my life more enjoyable in 2009?
People usually join with others, even becoming involved in communities because of the feelings they share in common, not necessarily because of what they know or espouse as belief. Take stock of what you are doing, with whom, where, when and how often. Your own mind and heart is also the platform for how you experience your outer relationships.
Do you stay centered in thought, perusing the plentiful and varied information you are accumulating in life, but at the expense of your feelings? What you bring to your community, your tribe, those you hang out with, comes from the feelings you hold while you are thinking or sorting out what you will do. This is why your conversations are enjoyable or not.
It’s really not so much about “who” you know as it is about how well you connect with the “who” of your Oneness with others. When you know you are one with the “Who” who determines your joy , when you connect with the inner you or “Who” of your heart, then it’s from this most important center of your being that you attract the kinds of people and experiences you prefer.
Where’s the fun in your life? How does whatever you do tickle your funny bone–do you allow yourself to laugh or has life become such a serious mission you must relegate joy to a list of should’s, must’s or how to’s? How will you make your own experiences enjoyable and bring what joy you can to others?
7. How will I meld my personal life more fluidly into my life’s path, my sacred labor, to fulfill the alchemy for my life in 2009?
Here’s what’s going on. You have a purpose. You at least sense it if you don’t think you do, or you are very aware of it. You’ve got an inner life.
You’ve got outer relationships. Even if you don’t think you have friends, you can really look at who you have helped or who has helped you the most. You’ve got a spiritual sense of your Journey. You’ve developed a spiritual practice of some kind or another, or at least explored doing so.
You read inspirational books, guided imagery or meditation. You have more than you think, and yet it is simpler than you realize when you know how to observe what you have and appreciate it for what it is, for what it’s taught you at the very least, or the simple joys you find in the moments you experience these things.or choose to watch films that further your own sense of your spiritual development or realization. You may enjoy
All of these may accumulate, and you begin to feel like a juggler, especially when handling the normal obligations of life.
And each ball, if you’re careful, is neatly passed from hand to air to other hand. Seemingly on its own, but you as the juggler know of the skill to keep it all moving deftly and not falling to the ground.
What you may want to decide for 2009 is how to better manage all those balls. How to make it so that when you are in the midst of one of the activities represented by a particular ball, you’re helping the rest of your life. This goes for each ball or area of your life.
Sending you all my warmest wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year in 2009.
Click here to schedule your session, and when you and I talk, ask me about the free meditation CD, “Loving Your Life.” I will send it to you along with the complimentary CD recording of your session.As your spiritual life consultant for 2009, I’ll help you answer all the questions above for your spiritual well being. See my about page and read others’ testimonials of my work.
My next article will tell you about a method I am exploring for improving your brain WITHOUT hypnosis or subliminal programming, yet having the same benefits. For now you can try out this wonderful online guided meditation program that I recommend. It’s a free trial with no obligation for you to see for yourself. It may be the answer to helping with expertly “juggling” all the balls that represent the areas of your life and zero in on what’s most important in each.
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QUESTION FOR THE NEW YEAR
How do you juggle all the “balls” of your life? Share what has worked for you in the white comment box , below.