Next week, I’ll celebrate the 33rd anniversary of my birth. It’s true what the old folks say… life just keeps getting better all the time. I find myself getting wiser, more self-aware, calmer, and more balanced as the moments, days and years pile up.
Not to be a Pollyanna, but I do believe, as the Zen saying goes — every day is a good day. Even the frustrating and difficult ones. Accepting the shadowy, negative, not-so-pretty aspects of our selves is what enables us to feel gratitude for the glorious, gorgeous true Buddhas that we all are, already and always.
Giving is better than getting. So, my gift to you are these 33 suggestions to bring more mindfulness to your days.
1. Sit, stand, walk, or lie down and meditate, because
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment… It is a practice that at once transcends the dogma of religion and is the essence of religions.” ~Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
2. Ground yourself in gratitude with simple breath awareness.
3. Feel your kundalini rising.
4. Embody peace through mantra meditation.
5. Don’t forget to forgive.
6. Send yourself and others the good wish of metta (lovingkindness).
7. Get out of your own way and cultivate compassion through Tonglen meditation.
8. Make a conscious effort to make more eye contact when speaking with someone.
9. Eat at least one meal slowly and mindfully today.
10. Go for a swim.
11. Take a hike.
13. Ride your bike.
14. Read anything by the Dalai Lama.
15. Or Thich Nhat Hanh.
16. Or Pema Chodron.
17. Or J. Krishnamurti.
18. Or Ken Wilber.
19. Hand write a letter to a faraway friend and mail it. It will mean so much more than an email or facebook message.
20. Try Judith Lasater’s latest practice: when someone asks you if you need help with something, simply say “yes”. Even if you don’t. Just receive the help. Give yourself this gift.
21. Listen to classical music.
22. Or MC Yogi.
23. Press your palms together and give thanks for this moment, just as it is.
24. Donate to a microloan provider such as Kiva.org. A little of your pocket money can go a long way for someone in a developing nation.
26. Vent on paper. Write a page of stream of consciousness and get whatever’s on your mind out onto the page.
27. Read your horoscope.
28. Turn off the TV.
29. Listen to the crickets chirping, the cicadas singing, and the rain pattering on the roof.
31. Get offline and go outside, for goodness sake!
32. Marvel at the perfection of a flower and the immense wisdom of a tree.
33. Gaze up at the sky and watch the clouds float by.