I’ve never been a morning person, but over a period of time I have trained myself to start my morning with a routine that helps me setup for the day. Now I must admit, not all my mornings are early but regardless of when I wake up I make it a point to start my day with this routine. The routine consists of guided meditation and reflection where I start off my day by reciting a few mantras and then remind myself of some of the teachings of Guru Gopal Das and Dandapani that have resonated with me. I am still a work in progress and in no way claim to have mastered all of their teachings but being reminded of them at the beginning of my day, everyday helps me focus on the things that really matter.

  • Life is finite, be the best version of yourself. We are here for a limited amount of time, think about the future version of yourself, whether it’ll be able to look back and say That was well worth it, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything? In the future, you may or may not arrive where you initially set out to but did you arrive at a better place than you started and did you give it your best shot with absolutely everything that you had?
    • Know yourself, know your goals, hold yourself accountable to your goals and strive to achieve your true potential. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to be better. Perform small rituals through out the day that constantly remind you of your goals. Use positive affirmation - clear choice of concise words, clear visualization and corresponding feeling of success to stay energised and focused.
    • Train your mind to form extraordinary habits. Self-regulation - our ability to direct our behavior and control our impulses, is central to effective human functioning but it requires mental energy, and the brain is always looking for ways to conserve energy. When you do something new, you use almost your whole brain, particularly the right side. The amount of the brain being used gets smaller and smaller with practice. Routinizing things reduces the cognitive and physiological load on your brain. If you routinize good habits, they become part of your character, your character in turn decides your destiny.
  • Increase your standard of living. Life is finite, decide on what and with whom you want to spend it.
    • Focus on the things that really matter - your life and relationships. Eliminate distractions and make a clear distinction between pleasure and joy, between your extrinsic and instrinsic motivations. Pleasure, which mainly comes from sensory experience is transitory and quite limited whereas joy comes from being in harmony with your true nature and is more permanent.
    • Starting new things is exciting and fun but finishing what you have started can be a long drawn out process. It is very easy to lose interest and move on to something else. Keeping your goals in mind, eliminate distractions, refine your focus and learn to stay with a problem long enough to solve it. Keep your awareness on one thing for an extended amount of time, persevere and finish what you start.
    • Planning for both the long and short term, having a schedule and sticking to it can help you design a life exactly how you want. At the end of each day, if you have stuck to your schedule, then you have moved yourself a bit closer to your valued goals.
  • Go with the flow
    • Adapt and adjust to obstacles coming your way. Instead of saying ‘I can’t do that’ ask ‘How can I do that?’ or instead of ‘That’s just the way I am’ ask ‘How can I be different?’ A statement closes the mind but a question opens up the mind. Persevere, be flexible, be like the river ganga that finds its way to its destination in spite of all the hurdles that come its way.
    • Rather than worrying about things outside your control, focus on the things you control and strive for excellence within your circle of influence. The positive energy we exert will cause our circle of influence to expand.
    • See challenges as opportunities - (Thomas Edison) Situations and circumstances are out of your control but how you respond to those situations is completely in your hands.
  • Don’t live the life of “I”. Pursuing personal well-being is a worthwhile goal, however it can have an even greater effect if it is done with the intention of benefiting others and improving human condition in general.
    • Instead of trying to get something from the world, consider what you can offer. You are more likely to be welcomed and appreciated when you approach things with a giving, rather than a taking, mindset. Instead of focusing only on your own rights, consider also your responsibilities, and the ways in which you can make a positive impact on others through service and selflessness.
    • Notice the good. Take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and be grateful for what you have. It’s probably a lot. As a tiny spec in this vast cosmos, it is important to recognise that a variety of forces in the universe, both natural and interpersonal, are working together to keep you safe and sound. This realisation can help you to be more appreciative and cultivate a sense of gratitude.
  • Find real peace. Learn to be comfortable while being uncomfortable. Be like the lotus that emerges from murky waters and mud without stains as a symbol of purity, strength and resilience.
    • Doing repetitive or mundane tasks can be frustrating and generate negative feelings. It can be tempting to avoid these tasks if you are someone who enjoys intellectual pursuits, but reminding yourself of your long-term goals can help these tasks feel more meaningful and important as steps towards achieving those goals.
    • During stressful or contentious situations, be aware of when your instinctive mind kicks in. This part of your mind drives emotional reactions that are designed to protect you and keep you in your comfort zone, even if it means avoiding challenges or difficulties.
      • Silence can be a virtue in situations where your opinions and ideas are challenged and even discarded. Pause, maintain composure, take a moment to call upon your sub conscious and think wether your next course of action is going to allow you to objectively handle the situation at hand.
      • Keeping a distance from the issue at hand is hard because it can engross you completely, however take the time to realise that you are not the issue itself. Detachment from your instinctive mind can help in separation of emotions, thoughts (arising from facing rejection, anger or fear) from your real self.
      • Zoom out of stressful situations and learn to let things go. Remember, at the end of the day all you are striving for is to be free (mukt) of sorrow, anxiety and fear - to be in a tranquil state of well being, so before getting into an argument or fighting over a position think whether it will lead you towards freedom (mukti).