It’s the last day of June and we are officially halfway through this calendar year. For those of you who remember, what were your New Year’s resolutions? And the real question: Have you accomplished what you set out to?
Lots of people go about making resolutions at the beginning of every year. For the most part they are interested in making this year better than the last one, which means making up their minds to make the requisite changes that will make things happen to make them happy.
That’s a lot of making. Unfortunately, it almost never works.
Usually, the “resolutions” approach provides little success by way of change for the better. Perhaps that’s why by Valentine’s Day, most have given up and given in to the same old same-old.
I like what Tenzin Gyatso has to say about this. Rather than make annual resolutions, I prefer to pay heed to his advice each day:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Says it all, right? Little wonder Tenzin is revered the world over as the Dalai Lama, incarnate spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
Instead of resolutions, his predecessor the Buddha called for right action, which involves the body as a natural means of expression. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind; while wholesome actions lead to a sound state of mind. Very simple.
Buddhists see right intention, right speech and right action as inseparable ethical principles. You may recognize them as the basic ingredients of personal integrity.
On right action, Eckhart Tolle writes “Be still, alert, and open to what is. You look and listen, and then you become one with the situation. Instead of reacting to a situation, you merge with it and the solution arises from the situation itself. Then right action happens through you.”
Self-mastery doesn’t get any easier than this.
Master the lesson, and your old resolutions become fatuous and obsolete. You won’t be bullied by them anymore or self-flagellate for falling short.
I urge you to consider the concept of Right Action deeply and rise beyond the need to guilt yourself into doing what is best for you. Get a handle on how you can make each ensuing year better than the last, and choose to believe that your very best is yet to come.
Love shine upon you –