There are three fundamental rules that all the wisdom traditions say will help us accomplish our task, if we follow them. The first is to be cautious about materialism: Don't want too much. Live modestly. The second is to dedicate yourself to something you believe in, something you think is beautiful and important. The third is to commit yourself to a personal spiritual practice that you can follow every day, even if just for a few minutes. Devote some part of your day to sitting in silence and saying, "Here I am. Guide me." The point is that if we search outside ourselves for the meaning of life, we'll probably never find it. But if we center ourselves and look for meaning in life, we'll find that it's waiting for us right here in the present moment. And I'm not just talking about the popular notion of "seizing the day," which sometimes can mean little more than eating dessert first. I mean that a more profound spiritual power and freedom are available to us; that we are much deeper than we usually let on. [...]
If you sit still every day and honestly look at what your mind and body are actually feeling, the little disruptions and disturbances rise to the surface, because you're not ignoring them or avoiding them. At first, you might know only that something is bothering you. But if you sit with it long enough, it will start to become clear. [...]
My point is that when we deceive ourselves, even in a way that's popularly considered ok, our practice will point it out. If we have a fairly quiet mind, something inside of us seems to say, over and over, "You did something wrong. You did something wrong." We ask, "What?" And that something says, "Keep looking, and you'll see." And then if you're willing to act on what you've done, you may gain some understanding about yourself, and about the world.
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