Over the last few years I have been compiling a list of lessons I am learning and realizations I am experiencing in a beloved notebook of mine. I often reflect and read over them myself.
I wrote a post similar to this when I was 21 in the post 40 life lessons on growing up. In just the few years that have passed, so much has evolved. I feel a deeper relationship with life and myself than I ever have before. It’s nice to look at the lessons I knew to be true at 21, and look at what I believe to be true now, at 25. In my heart I hold so much gratitude for these 25 years of life.
So, here it is; a collection of what I know to be true. It is a long list, so make yourself a delicious hot drink, sit back, and enjoy.
Your spiritual awakening is a private and personal experience. You can listen to others about their experiences, but ultimately, you must have your own.
Joy is more important than pleasure. And you should learn the difference.
The highest form of yoga is meditation.
Never call another person ugly. Even as a “joke”.
Always move towards a better self and a better life, no matter what your past has been like.
Be wary of humour that makes another person feel small.
When you say you “hate” something or someone it just means you have a low tolerance for that thing or person. Acknowledge that.
Yoga is a tool used to awaken your inner happiness.
Fear is an inefficient motivator in comparison to your inner vision.
If you are in love with someone, that love is a gift to you.
Try not to waste your time and energy worrying about things that have not happened yet. Understand that you are afraid of something that does not exist and may never come to exist. That is insanity.
Fill yourself up. Do not be afraid to honouring yourself, because only then can you overflow and give to others.
Only once you have become a peaceful and joyful person, can you even begin to enjoy the world we begin in.
You can run from people, relationships, places and responsibilities. But you cannot run from yourself. And wherever you run, you can only ever take yourself with you. Even paradise begins to feel like hell if you haven’t created paradise within yourself first.
Whatever decision you make, if you put 100% of yourself into it, it will work out wonderfully.
Instead of giving unsolicited advice, it is polite and useful to ask “Would you like to know what I think?”
Love is an invitation. You do not need to force yourself into someone’s heart. Sometimes you just have to say to yourself “Love is an invitation and this just isn’t my party.”
Don’t live fanatically or according to trends. Just make conscious choices.
Certain people are sent to us in life to help us see ourselves more clearly. They will show you your dark and shadowy spaces. They will give you everything need to get free. Be grateful.
Childhood is sweet, but womanhood is magnificent.
Always make time for introspection and self-reflection. Quiet reflection feeds the soul.
Don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know.” There is power and possibility in that.
Harsh criticism breaks down relationships.
No one can know the journey of your soul but you.
Practice your craft.
Life is fleeting. The more blissful you are as a person, the shorter you realize it is.
Don’t waste your life just trying to find people who agree with you. Instead, find out to what extent you even agree with yourself, find out who you really are, and become free.
The earth gives us medicine, nourishment, shelter and beauty. Live with the knowing that with each step you take, the earth always rises to meet you.
Learn to live in love and not daydream about love. go out and do something and do it with love. That is enough.
If you are ease with yourself, then others will be at ease with you.
A person who takes himself too seriously, imposes his personality and ego on everyone he meets.
Know how to handle stress when it comes by knowing how to generate calming energy within yourself.
It only takes one person to get along with someone and that person is you. You can choose to have a pleasant experience of your interaction and relationship and it has nothing to do with them.
Who you want to be is only one breath and one choice away.
There is a time for contemplation and there is a time for action. Know when one ends and when one begins.
Look at situations in terms of contribution and not blame.
Responsibility means your ability to respond to life.
You do not need to stay in a relationship where you are not respected, wanted, loved, accepted, understood or liked.
Peace is an internal environment. You can work towards peace by beginning to do everything in life calmly.
You do not need to learn how to love a person. You only need to learn how to love God, and then you will be able to love them and forgive them.
Before any action you choose to do, you can ask yourself “am I going to do this willingly or unwillingly?” and then “If I am going to do it willingly, am I going to do it calmly or frantically?”
How we experience a person or situation has nothing to do with them and has everything to do with us.
There is a gift within you that is just so valuable that once you realize this, you will no longer be afraid of giving anything away.
No matter what you are given in this life, you can make something beautiful out of it. That is spiritual alchemy.
You do not need to seek joy, you only need to express your joy.
If you want to start on the spiritual path, begin by being more conscious and aware of your every day actions, impulses and tendencies.
Always take the time to dream, contemplate, and decide on how you are going to live your life.
If you want to be loved by all, you should first love all.
If you ever feel lonely, it is an indicator that you need to get to know ourself now more than ever.
Going in is the only way out.
If you ever feel bored, it is an indicator that you need to get more involved in what your life is now. It is an indicator that you are living too much in your mind.
Suffering happens in the mind, and you don’t have to do it.
You will never know life until you throw yourself into it. You will never know yourself until you throw yourself into your own internal journey. You will never know life until you throw yourself into your spiritual practice.
You are responsible for everything you are today. This gives you the power to decide what you are tomorrow.
You have the power of looking at the most difficult times of your life and thinking to yourself “Thank you for that experience.”
THIS is your path to enlightenment. Your life, the way it has happened and the way it is unfolding now is your path to your enlightenment. You don’t need to wait for the Himalayan mountains or to be “chosen” in anyway. You only need to do what you can with what you have now.
You don’t have to explain yourself just because someone asks.
Your sense of self worth should not be coming from external influences. It shouldn’t come from what people say about you or think of you – whether they think good of you or bad of you. Your sense of self worth should come from your own inner spiritual practice and in the knowingness of who you are.
If someone can control the way you feel and if they can ruin your day – then you are a slave to that person.
Try your best to accept things as they are. You can say “This is the way it is and that is okay.”
Your talent is your responsibility to share and and bring joy to those you share it with.
Karma works. And the sooner you able to realize the karmic patterns in your life, the closer you are to setting yourself free.
“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” – Dorothy Day
If you want a more real look at life – start listening.
Wake up, stand up and decide that your life is going to move forward with commitment and not with feelings, because feelings can be unpredictable.
Spirituality must be liveable and relevant today. Otherwise, what’s the point?
There is a certain kind of joy in being physically out there in the world, living and sleeping in nature, running, moving, playing, creating, doing, being.
Everyone you know does what they want to do and it is not really your business. Your responsibility is to seriously look at your own life and decide if this is how you want to conduct yourself, and decide how to be from there.
One foot in is one foot out.
You don’t need a list of rules of duties to tell you what your responsibilities are towards a person you love. If you truly love and care for someone you will naturally want to do what is right for them. Put your energy in developing a sense of love, compassion and humanity within yourself. The rest will do itself.
No matter what happens to you in life, you do not have to be a victim.
Learn how to keep the right distance and closeness within all your friendships and relationships.
Learn to accept life as it is happening to you. How do you know that something is supposed to happen? Because it is happening right now. When you say things like “It shouldn’t be this way” or “This is not how it should go” you create a miserable and painful life for yourself. You are fighting reality, and when you fight reality, you always lose.
If you are unkind to someone, you are unkind to yourself.
In life, you will be many different shades of personalities. You may hurt someone deeply, and you may be deeply hurt. You may be bright and brave, you may be scared and meek. You may dress a certain way one day, and dress another way on another day. You may want to climb a mountain and meditate one day, and you may want to bake a delicious pie and feed your family on another day. My realization is this: Is it that I don’t know who I am, or is it that I finally realized that I am all these things.
Once we come to understand this – the true essence of ourselves and why we are here, we realize that we can play whatever role we want to play in this lifetime, and we can play it however we want. We can choose how involved we want to be in this “game” and the roles we play.
Every human being is beautiful in their own way.
Within every relationship there is a spiritual contract between the two of you, and you cannot know it for sure until you start to accept and love the relationship as it is and for what it is.
Are you here to experience life or to avoid life? Decide.
“Don’t feel bad if someone speaks ill of you. Just think that this too, is for your best” Mata amritanandamayi
Expressing your joy is love. Giving another joy is devotion.
You are born with potential to live with Godliness. Aspiring to live with God-like qualities is more important than trying to find “God.”
Make yourself into a person that people enjoy being around.
Being lost in your thoughts is not freedom. It is a prison. It is more valuable to liberate your thoughts rather than controlling them.
Put more of your attention and focus on how you feel inside, your internal environment – and not on what is happening around you.
Be willing to let go gracefully. This means being able to watch things and people leave with no less love in your heart. With grace, strength, and understanding.
Make a strong decision that you want to live life as a joyful human being.
Put 100% of yourself into everything completely. That is the only way you will know it. That is the only way you will feel any intimacy with life, in your life.
The only way to know anything is by becoming involved in it. Involvement means attention, care, practice, nurturing. It means to know something intimately.
The root of our depression is when we feel that life is not happening the way you believe it should. This is a gigantic waste of energy, because what we believe should happen in life changes daily.
Don’t live life trying to live by the rules – live with spiritual intelligence. That means, look at each situation you are presented with for what it is, and decide what to do from there. Then throw yourself into it. Be unafraid of getting hurt.
Our daily spiritual practice is used to turn ourself “on”, to tune us into a higher frequency of life which is not accessible without a little bit of dedication and focus on our internal life. When we do our spiritual practice, we are “on” for a little while. When we are “on” all the time, then our entire life becomes our spiritual practice.
True freedom means being able to what we need to do in life joyfully. Life is not about doing what you want to do, but wanting to do what you need to do.
An unhappy yes, is a no to yourself.
Find adventure in your life. Create stories. All kinds of stories. Stories about love and heartbreak, stories about earth and adventure, stories about mistakes and losses. Live your life like it is a work of art.
Don’t worry too much about all the “karma” you may or may not have gathered in your past, because the karma of this moment is in your power, and that is the most important kind.
Make decisions based on what matters, what you value, and what works well in your life – not simply on your likes and dislikes – because that will change daily.
If you entire personality is comprised of your likes and dislikes, you will make yourself a complicated person. To live smoothly and with ease means you must be open. There is more to you than what you like and don’t like.
A person’s character is not always reflected in their status in society, their job, their finances. It is reflected in how they are.
Live in truth.
When you take away something from another person, you take away from yourself.
Sleeping is unconsciousness. It is a small death at the end of each day. If sleeping is what you look forward to the most in your day, then you need to find more joy for life.
An uncomfortable feeling is an invitation to be more honest with yourself.
When a person becomes meditative, they are accessing the immense unlimited possibility that is their true nature. They begin to transcend and transform their life.
There is no doing in this world without first being. This means you have to decide who you are and who you want be before you do anything.
Allow yourself to make the best decisions for yourself with some self-awareness. Use your inner compass to see how balanced you feel.
Be kind to all.
Don’t live your life virtually through a computer screen. You will always get a ripped off experience of what life really is.
There is rarely a need to point out a persons physical characteristic when you meet them. This is the body they were born with and this is the body you were born with. And that’s that.
Know what it takes for you to relax your body, rest your mind and soothe your soul.
Make it a priority to live well. Don’t kill yourself with stress.
Everything in life has a certain time to blossom, and sometimes that time is limited. Know what waits in life and what doesn’t. Focus on the right thing at the right time.
Laugh often. Know what brings laughter to you and do it a lot!
Live from the inside out. Make your inner life fantastic. This means that no matter what happens, you feel GOOD within yourself. Let everything you do be fuelled by who you are and your contribution to the world.
If you want to improve your life, start by paying attention to your life.
You cannot give something that you do not already have.
All these years were just a preparation to get you to where you are today.
The first step of having a better life is to have a vision, a belief, a spark of hope for a better life. If you cannot physically help a person, the very least you can do is help that person have that vision, a belief, a spark of hope for their life.
When you know better, you do better.
Live with complete awareness who who you are, what you are doing, and who you are being.
Learn how to manage yourself, and you will be able to manage stress.
Learn how to generate energy within yourself and share it with others. Always bring a gift. Let this be your gift.
“When your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul, that is authentic power” from The seat of the soul by Gary Zukav.
In times of trouble or overwhelm – you only need to know what the next right move is.
A true goal is one that makes you want to wake up early for.
Periodically ask yourself “what is life teaching me these days?”
Now when I look back at even the most difficult times of my life, I see preciousness in the anguish and something beautiful in myself at that time. I realize now, that I was in a process, a transformation. I was trying to become a beautiful person. And that is everything.