For years I struggled to find the peace I really wanted.
You know the dream:
- Not overthinking
- No anxiety
- Physically fit
- And to live every moment without being distracted by the past or the future.
So, what can we do?What helped me was coming across Japanese Buddhist master Miyamoto Mushashi’s 21 rules of life. Known as Japan’s greatest ever swordsman, he wrote these 21 rules 2 weeks before his death. Each rule teaches you to accept your circumstances in life, detach from outside forces you can’t control and be comfortable with who you are. I find these rules powerful because the only way to cultivate acceptance is through continued practice in your actions and your attitude. The two things we actually have control over. And these rules give you the necessary guidelines to do just that. It might take months to rewire your brain, but it’s well worth it. [amazon template=further reading (single)&asin=0834805677] Check them out:
1. Accept everything just the way it isAcceptance is perhaps the most important attitude to overcome mental challenges in life. It’s a state of mind. There’s no destination or goal with acceptance. It’s simply the process of exercising the mind to be tolerant of anything life throws at us. Why is it powerful? Because instead of fighting against negative emotions like anxiety and stress, you’re actually accepting them the way they are. You’re not bitter, and you’re not creating more negativity out of your negativity. Through acceptance you pave the path for negative emotions like anxiety to become less powerful. You’re not fighting against them and making them worse. But to be clear: Acceptance is not the following: It’s not indifference or apathy. It does not involve giving up or not trying. It’s simply about accepting things without judging them. It is what it is. Whatever happens happens. It’s about being patient and allowing the natural flow of things to take place.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sakeAs humans, we’re unhappiest when we become dissatisfied with what we have, and decide that we want more. When we seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, we put ourselves in an endless loop of desiring that’s only temporarily satisfied when we experience that pleasure. But feelings don’t last forever. And before you know it, you’ll be back desiring again. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy pleasure when you experience it. It just means you won’t be constantly seeking pleasure for its own sake. You appreciate what you have in every moment, and sometimes that will be pleasurable emotions. But you also won’t be unhappy when you aren’t experiencing pleasure.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feelingSame as above, feelings don’t last forever. Emotions are transient. You won’t be happy all the time, and wanting to be so will only make you unhappy.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the worldWhen you think of yourself too much, you amplify your ego and your insecurities. Happy people are the ones who focus on helping others. There’s a beautiful Chinese Proverb which describes this perfectly:
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”In other words: Be humble, don’t take yourself too seriously and focus on helping others.