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. 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 habbits, they become part of your character.
  • Increase your standard of living. Life is finite, decide on what and with whom you want to spend it.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Focus on the things that really matter - your life and relationships. To eliminate distractions, make a distinction between temporary joy and long term fulfillment and be consciously aware of that throughout your day. Extrinsic gains are essential for survival, however what motivates you intrinsically is more rewarding and satisfying.
  • 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”.
    • Notice the good. Take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and be grateful for what you’ve got. It’s probably a lot. You are a tiny spec in this vast cosmos, realizing that a number of forces, the environment and the people around you are working in tandem to keep you safe and sound allows you to be appreciative and be thankful.
    • Add more value in the world than you’re using up. Rather than just thinking about your rights, think about your responsibilities, think about serving, having a positive impact on others. Think about what you can give rather than what you can extract from others. You will never face rejection when you want to give rather than take.
  • Find real peace
    • Learn to be comfortable while being uncomfortable.
    • Mundane tasks can seem frustrating and generate negativity. Your intellectual inclination can prevent you from doing uninteresting repetitive things, but if you remind yourself of your eventual goals, the mundane tasks can feel like steps towards achieving those goals.
    • In stressful and conflicting situations be aware when your instinctive mind (sthool buddhi) kicks in. Its natural tendency is to react (often with emotion) to keep you safe and secure and away from perceived difficulty (in your comfort zone).
      • Silence can be a virtue in situations where your opinions and ideas are challenged and even discarded. Pause, mantain 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. Detachement 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 more joyful state, so before getting into an argument or fighting over a position think whether it will lead you towards freedom (mukti).