Tips to Live a Happy and Meaningful Life
(For ease of reference, this is a combined post of parts 1 & 2 which were written and published a few months ago).
Our good buddy Lazy Yogi Ponchie had just read a great blog on Meditation ;-), where the author had revealed the secrets of how to live a happy, meaningful and good life and the highly inspired Yogi Ponchie immediately went about implementing the recommendations — in his own special way of course. The article, he read, explained that the secret to a happy and fulfilling life was to live life one day at a time. Not only that, the author had provided his thoughts on what 10 activities one should include in one’s life on a daily basis in order to accomplish this. Here was how Ponchie spent some of his day, which he felt met the requirements laid out in the post.
5:00 am: Ponchie checked the time and smiled 5:00am Woo Hoo! The recommendation was to wake up early, but since waking up early was impossible for our lazy yoga friend, he had decided instead to stay up all night. Thus, he would be awake during the early morning hours and be able to take advantage of this most spiritual time of day.
6:00 am: Ponchie headed to the Gym to get his daily recommended sweat. He spent the next hour in the sauna.
7:00 am: Ponchie listened to a meditation tape in his car on the way back home from the gym, thus meeting the most important criteria for doing his daily meditation practice.
8:00 am: Ponchie watched Sunrise Earth on Discovery by sitting very close to the television… spending time with nature… done.
9:00 am: Ponchie called his dad and asked him to pay his credit card bills and help fix the leaky faucet in the kitchen. He told his dad that this had to be done today itself, since he was eager to meet the requirement of “completing your daily affairs” as had been suggested… that was easy.
So here we are, with Pochie at the half way mark of meeting the daily activities that the article laid out. Let’s summarize this article that has so profoundly inspired Mr. Ponchie. Essentially, the secret to a Happy, Meaningful and Good Life, the article said, was to live one day a time. This did not mean not to plan, it meant not to obsess with the outcome. Put money away in the retirement fund, enroll in an MBA program, start a daily fitness routine, launch a new blog, sure do all these things, but don’t focus on the results. Instead, just go about the business of life by living each day as well as you can. In addition, the article continued, try to incorporate the following 10 activities into each day, as they would go a long way in expanding your spiritual and personal growth and ensuring that you really maximize your human potential. In part 1, I will list 5 of the 10 daily suggestions that were made and here they are…
1. Wake up Early: This gets the day off to a great start. The early morning hours are full of spiritual energy and prana (life force) and are an ideal time for your daily sadhana (meditation, yoga or other spiritual practice).
2. Sweat Everyday: If possible try to break a sweat everyday, and a sauna does not count. This means to get some form of exercise and keep the body in tip top shape. The body is not you, but is the vehicle through which you live and worship, so treat it like a temple and take care of it.
3. Daily Meditation: This is the most important criteria. If you have come to the Mastery of Meditation website, something is stirring within. This invitation by the Divine should not be taken lightly. Not all receive the invite, or at least not all are aware of the beckoning, so if you are being roused from the dream by the gentle hand of your Divine Nature do everything you can Wake Up!
4. Spend Time is Nature: The spiritual path can be described in 1 word — CONNECT. That one word describes all the Vedas, Gita, Upanishads, Bible, Koran, Tantras, etc. One of the best ways to connect is to be with Nature intimately. Hopefully the author will write an article on this topic of Connection as well as is it a very interesting and powerful concept :-).
5. Complete Your Daily Affairs: Don’t procrastinate, don’t delay, don’t put off what needs to done. The old proverbs are very wise. “A stitch in time saves nine” and “Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today”. Life, the moment, provides challenges to you and when you meet them, life opens up. If they linger, they are like blockages, they prevent your life from moving forward. Your inner voice will constantly remind you what needs to be completed. Heed this suggestion and you will be surprised at the rewards.
In part 2 of this series I will go into the last 5 suggestions for what should be done everyday in order to live a happy, meaningful and good life, and we will also see how the rest of Lazy Ponchie’s, I mean Yogi Ponchie’s, day went.
In part 1 of this series we followed lazy and crazy Yogi Ponchie through the first half of his day as he looked to complete the “10 must do everyday activities for a happy, meaningful and good life” that he had just read about. In part 2 of this series we will explore the final 5 daily recommendations and see how Yogi Ponchie manages them in his own unique way. In fact, I will just outline how Ponchie spends the rest of his day and see if you, the reader, can guess what requirement he is trying to meet by his activities.
We left Ponchie at 9:00 am when he was convincing his dad to pay off his bills and help with with household chores. Once he managed to pull that off, here is how he spent the rest of his time…
10:00 am – 10:00 pm: A very tiered Ponchie, from having stayed up all night, locked his puppy in the bathroom and hit the sack.
10:00 pm: Ponchie spent 2 minutes reflecting on how well he had slept.
11:00 pm: He called up his dad and asked his father to be grateful for being allowed to pay his credit card bills and for being asked to fix his leaky faucet.
12:00am: He chugged down 2 bottles of wine.
1:00 am: He struggled hard to stay awake again, so he could once be awake for the early magical part of the day.
There you have it. The last 5 activities Yogi Ponchie indulged in, in order to complete the last 5 “must do everyday activities for a happy and successful life.” Any guesses? Here are the suggestions from the author and how Ponchie thought he was meeting them.
6. Spend Some Time Alone: Each day we should try to make some space for spending time alone. Not only that, we should spend this time not in entertainment. In other words sitting alone watching TV, or surfing the internet, or locking your puppy up in the bathroom and going to sleep does not count. One should try to just be alone without excessive stimulation and of course be Awake. When one is alone in this way, not escaping into some entertainment, it will give one visibility into the self in action. This is essential if one is to be a Light Onto Oneself.
7. Do Your Daily Accounting at the End of the Day: This is a wonderful meditation to adopt into one’s lifestyle. It does not require much effort to do and the rewards gained from this simple technique are enormous. At the end of the day spend some time and reflect back on the day chronologically, from the time you woke up to the present time. Look back and see how you acted, what you said, how you said it, what you felt, what you thought etc. Especially reflect on situations that posed a challenge or were emotional in nature. Were you overly reactive, did you respond too quickly, did you really listen, were you honest and forthright? So much self-knowledge can be gained by this simple accounting method. I cannot over emphasize the value of this meditation, so do your daily accounting. It will help balance your life, prevent incomplete emotions from spilling over into the subconscious mind and give you tremendous insight. Yogi Ponchie actually did this correctly, but since he had slept all day, there was not much for him to reflect on.
8. Do at Least One Good Deed: Everyday do something good for someone else. Do something thoughtful, kind, generous. Greed, aggression, competitiveness, arrogance, ambition are so widespread, take a moment and contribute to the energy of thoughtfulness, generosity, compassion, humility and giving. Do it without focusing on the reward. My grandfather would daily, randomly and secretly give some money away to the poor who he would encounter on the street. Just because it was a nice thing to do. Our Yogi friend thought giving his dad a chance to do a good deed counted as doing a good deed — nope that is no good.
9. Get Some Entertainment: You need to relax and enjoy yourself daily as well. You will find that when you don’t endless pursue the pleasure principle all day, the time when you do indulge, is so much more fun and enjoyable. You will really be able to laugh and be happy. You will be full of joy and humor. Try to not go overboard during this time and chug down bottles of wine like our buddy, but do spend some time just in healthy entertainment everyday as well. It is important for your mind, body and spirit.
10. Do Something Difficult: Everyday you should take on the challenge of doing something which is outside your comfort zone. It is easy to live in a cocoon, with a do not disturb sign on the door, but then chances are you are not growing and are instead falling into a pattern of reactive living. So have courage and take on the challenge of doing those things which you know deep inside you need to do, but have been able to cleverly avoid. It does not have to be running the New York Marathon, it could be as simple as making a difficult phone call, to turning off the TV, to volunteering to change the stinky diaper. Ponchie struggled to stay up all night as his difficult daily deed, but perhaps the challenge he should have undertaken, was to go to sleep on time and wake up early instead.
So there you have it. The 10 activities you should do daily to have a happy, meaningful and good life. So take one day at a time the best you can and include in it these 10 pearls of wisdom. All another can do from the outside is guide and inspire you, the actual work you have to do yourself. So its time to walk the walk…