Reflections – look back to look forward

From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius who lived between 121 and 161 AD.

“Men seek seclusion in the wilderness, by the seashore, or in the mountains – a dream you have cherished only to fondly yourself. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he who possesses resources in himself, which he need only contemplate in secure immediate ease of mind – the ease that is but another word for a well-ordered spirit. Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself. Make your rules of life brief, yet so as to embrace the fundamentals, recurrence to them will then suffice to remove all vexation, and send you back without fretting to the duties to which you must return.”

Reflections. When was the last time you took time out of your busy life to reflect on what is important to you? Are you living your values? Are you living comfortably within yourself? Are you living a life that is congruent with your beliefs? Are you living an authentic life?

If you can answer yes to those questions you may be able to answer the question, “Are you happy?” in the affirmative. If not, what areas of your life suggest discontent? List those things that you would like to bring forward and tame.

Which item on the list deserves the most attention?

The most important decision you can make is a decision to focus on your attitude. You make all kinds of choices each and every day but the one that makes the most difference is your attitude on how you choose to face the day. You can face it with joy or not. What remarkable things happen every day that you ignore or take for granted?

Did you eat today?

Did you have shelter and a roof over our heads?

What things did you not take notice of that you can appreciate? Are there relationships that we value that you can appreciate?

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and complete this exercise.

Take a moment to reflect on the day. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the week. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the month. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the year. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the past five years. Mediate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Look over your list. Are there any patterns that emerge? What are they? What would you like ensure stays on your list? Reflect on those items.

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3 responses to “Reflections – look back to look forward

  1. I write to compliment you on a very well designed blog. It is simple and elegant and totally uncluttered, just what a site for a subject like this needs.

    I have been a serious meditator for the past thirty years starting with Transcendental Meditation, shifting to Vipassana and now on Vedantic Nidhidhyasana. Both Vipassana and Nidhidhyasana enable one to discard unwanted mental blocks and keep moving forward on a spiritual journey.

    Your present post is a refreshingly simple program unlike many other that I keep finding on the blogsphere.

  2. Incidentally, I intend reading all your posts by and by and if I get sufficient excitement in any of them, shall comment too.

  3. Good list of things to think about and evaluate!

    I feel that all to often we become subject to the ‘tyrany of the immediate’ that we easily loose sight of what we value and/or want to value. And if we are learning to value new aspects of our lives, wouldn’t writting them down be helpful during those hectic moments?

    I know thinking about what I am coming to value helps me keep oriented. And often-times having that remember what I am trying to learn reminds me of why and that’s a huge driver for me.

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