These first 18 are adapted from the most popular article I’ve ever written, by far, 18 Spiritual Teachings that Blew my Mind Wide Open. (For more details on any of all of them, read the original post on elephant journal.)
Tomorrow is my 36th birthday, so as my gift to you, dear reader, I’m sharing another 18 life lessons that have helped open my heart and expand my consciousness then. May these concepts and jewels of wisdom from so many amazing traditions be of benefit!
1. Everything we need is already within us.
2. We can and do create our lives. (Practice creative visualization.)
3. All things must pass.
4. Beliefs separate. Let go of limiting beliefs. Let go of all beliefs, as much as possible.
5. Faith is letting go and letting in the ever-unfolding experience of life as it flows presently.
6. All meditation is good meditation. Pause regularly throughout the day. Integrating meditation into life is as important as formal practice on the cushion.
7. Give love, friendliness and kindness. Practice Metta.
8. All we have is now. Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
9. Equanimity. Balance of mind. Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t fall into the trap of attachment and aversion.
10. No self. The separate “I” that I seem to be is merely an illusion, a fiction, a well-told story. Letting it go is a moment-to-moment practice, an utterly liberating one.
11. Suffering is the result of clinging.
12. Worry is useless.
13. Friendship is the highest form of love.
14. Difficult people are the best teachers.
15. Be grateful to everyone and everything.
16. Don’t get on the train. Imagine sitting at a train station, watching the trains arrive and depart. Pure awareness is the station and thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc. are the trains. We sit at the station, watching. If we accidentally hop on a train, the moment we realize it, we are magically transported back to the station. Just watch, openly, with compassion.
17. Breath is life. Awareness of breath is the most fundamental meditation technique—and one that we can always return to no matter what.
18. Make your mind as vast as the sky. Our bodies are earth bound, but our minds can become vast, boundless, open and awakened through the practices of meditation and the inner yogas. Practice. The path is the goal. Never give up. Love life.
19. There’s nothing like travel to expand our consciousness.
20. Own your years. Age is just a number. Life keeps getting better. Older, wiser, more balanced. Move gracefully through life, surrendering some aspects of youth. Keep laughing.
21. Everything in moderation. The Middle Way. No need to go to ultimate extremes. (Well, excess in moderation, too.)
22. Life is full of paradoxes. Embrace them.
23. Uproot yourself every so often. Relocate. Take a long journey. Do something spontaneous. Start fresh.
24. Jesus Loves You. Jesus loves everyone. Jesus is love. And so am I, and so are you.
25. Kundalini awakening and brain illnesses have some things in common.
26. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.
27. Realize not all relationships are meant to last.
28. There’s as much enlightenment in the Himalayas as there is in Central Texas.
29. Take the plunge. It’s not called a leap of faith for nothing. Don’t wade in; dive!
30. The more we learn, the less we know.
31. When in doubt: try your best, then give up, let go and follow your heart.
32. Love is a practice. Love is energy. Love is.
33. Children are amazing and precious teachers. Parenting is life’s great gift and challenge.
34. Marriage is a practice. A choice. A give and take. And a beautiful thing.
35. Live intuitively. A healthy, natural lifestyle. Be close to the earth and far from The System. Unplug. Reconnect.
36. There is no death, only a change of energy. Fear not the end of life. Prepare for it by living fully, practicing love and gratitude, and meditating.