Practice Makes Purpose: Finding and living out your purpose in everyday life
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The Waking Up course is structured around its two core principles:. Ground your meditation experience in practical wisdom, ethical insights, and a rational understanding of the world. Please email us at info wakingup. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, meditation, moral philosophy, religion, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.
Sam received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph. He has practiced meditation for over 30 years and has studied with many Tibetan, Indian, Burmese, and Western meditation teachers, both in the United States and abroad.
Mindfulness allows you to experience your life in the present, without ruminating about what just happened, what should have happened, what almost happened, what might yet happen, etc. So the connection to happiness is very direct. At bottom, mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to what actually matters. From the point of view of evolution, we were built to do nothing more than spawn—and to survive just long enough to ensure that our descendants do likewise. As social primates, linguistic thinking has been so useful that evolution never saw fit to build us an OFF switch.
That is, until we learn to meditate. The next step is to turn these periods of meditation into significant experiences of non-distraction—so that you can notice what consciousness is like prior to thought. This may sound simple enough, but most people who try to meditate just wind up thinking with their eyes closed—and many come away thinking that the practice is pointless.
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They interrupt our incessant thinking and remind us to pay attention. Try this: See if you can pay attention to anything for the next 30 seconds—your breath, the sound of the wind in the trees, the sight of your child playing—without getting distracted by thoughts. If you attempt this experiment in earnest, you will find that you cannot do it. This should interest you, because all the fragmentation in your life starts here. Only training in meditation will allow you to change this very peculiar status quo.
Not all feelings of stress are counterproductive.
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From social greetings to going to the grocery store and making friends to riding the bus, living abroad is both exciting and challenging. Studying a language abroad can almost be thought of as one big holiday. Sure, you have to go to class and study, but you also get to spend your time with new friends exploring a brand new city. The best way to be completely socially-savvy in another language is to live it.
Our articles on British , Aussie , and American expressions can help as well. Pick a study abroad destination that offers a different environment from your hometown, then grab every opportunity you have to try new things. Exploring the forests outside Vancouver , you might discover a love for hiking, or after spending a winter in Tokyo and visiting the ski resorts, you could find snowboarding is your new lifelong hobby.
Because food is, of course, always an important part of every decision. Every country has its own individual culture and cuisine, and every locale has its own regional signature dishes. Think how many different tapas you could devour while studying for a few months in Barcelona or how much cheese you could consume on a semester in Paris ….
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In short, and for you to take as inspiration to get started or as affirmation of what you already have in play, here are my top 10 benefits of spiritual practice:. It provides clarity in the midst of your overflowing and demanding days. Practice wipes the fog from the lens of your mind and makes you blessedly sharper. It cultivates the attention required to complete your tasks. Precision and awareness become elevated in whatever it is you apply yourself to. It creates a sense of steadiness and grounding in change.
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No matter what unforeseen stuff is thrown at you, your sense of calm center is not so easily thrown off. It keeps you afloat and even-keeled in even the most riotous emotional storms. When crazy feelings threaten to take you down, practice keeps you from capsizing.
It helps you see your life on a macro level. You come to rely on practice as a tool for stepping back and getting perspective on the broader picture. It helps you understand your life on a micro level.
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Practice opens the door to a much quieter and deeper relationship with the internal you. It draws you into the simplicity of the moment. Nothing like regular practice to bring you into the now, and to keep you from getting lost in the past or mired in fears of the future.
It touches you so intimately that without it you would feel lost or downright not right. You come to smile inwardly most all of the time with the assurance of practice being there for you at all times.