Quel acte de gentillesse allez-vous faire aujourd’hui ?

Quel acte de gentillesse allez-vous faire aujourd’hui ?

Cultiver la gentillesse est un élément précieux de la vie professionnelle. La recherche confirme que les personnes qui font des actes de gentillesse ressentent et rayonnent des émotions positives. Les choses simples fonctionnent : inviter un nouveau collaborateur pour le déjeuner, partager avec votre patron les raisons pour lesquelles vous l’appréciez, écrire quelque chose d’encourageant à un collègue qui éprouve des difficultés, etc…

Voici donc une pratique de résilience que nous vous invitons à cultiver cette semaine :
Je saisis chaque jour une opportunité pour faire un acte de gentillesse.

Quel thème vais-je honorer cette année ?

Quel thème vais-je honorer cette année ?

Alors que les résolutions de la Nouvelle Année risquent de ne pas durer longtemps, un thème touche chaque grand domaine de votre vie et décrit la façon dont vous souhaitez vivre l’année.

Pour démarrer 2020 sur une note résiliente, voici donc une pratique de résilience que nous vous invitons à considérer :
Je réfléchis et choisis cette semaine un thème que je vais honorer tout au long de l’année.

Quels liens vais-je entretenir aujourd’hui ?

Quels liens vais-je entretenir aujourd’hui ?

Les liens – à la maison comme au travail – sont un aspect dynamique de notre vie qui exige soin et attention. Une étude longitudinale sur 75 ans de la Harvard Medical School (The Grant Study) a conclu que la qualité des liens est ce qui a le plus grand impact positif sur le sentiment de plénitude.

Voici donc une pratique de résilience que nous vous invitons à cultiver cette semaine :
Je consacre du temps et de l’énergie pour entretenir les liens qui m’importent le plus.

Comment cultiverez-vous la joie aujourd’hui ?

Comment cultiverez-vous la joie aujourd’hui ?

A travers la présence, la bienveillance, la gratitude ou encore le lâcher-prise, nous créons les conditions propices à l’émergence de la joie. Cette émotion intense et puissante permet d’augmenter le niveau de bonheur pour soi comme pour autrui !

Voici donc une pratique de résilience que nous vous invitons à cultiver cette semaine :
Je saisis chaque jour une occasion de cultiver la joie.

Quelle action courageuse allez-vous entreprendre aujourd’hui ?

Quelle action courageuse allez-vous entreprendre aujourd’hui ?

Le courage, c’est adresser les vrais problèmes, surtout les difficiles – en faisant des choix responsables. Un comportement courageux favorise la confiance et donne un exemple déterminant pour les autres.
Voici donc une pratique de résilience que nous vous invitons à cultiver cette semaine :

Je fais preuve de courage, en prenant une décision difficile ou en initiant une franche conversation.

Spirit in Action Part 3

Spirit in Action Part 3

Spirit in Action Part 3

“Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you human is what you do when that storm comes.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Part 1 explored what Spirit in Action is and Part 2 scoped out why this is important at individual, community and planetary levels of function. In Part 3 the question to address is: “What exactly should, could or will I do?”

This is the most difficult challenge to engage with. Our personal responsibility is contentious. Some strive for decades in abject poverty, accumulating tens of thousands of hours in prayer or meditation. Others simply relax into the moment. You might choose to punish the body, discipline the emotions or train the mind. Or, you may choose bacchanalian revelry.

For many today, drifting about in mindless fidgeting, distraction and impulse gratification becomes the default. As we see in burgeoning reports the impact is clearly evident:

  • We spend 10 hours in front of a screen versus 17 minutes active (National Geographic, 2017)
  • The average person will touch, swipe or tap a phone 2,617 times a day (Lewis P, 2017)
  • Our fitness, strength and posture are in decline (Journal of Physical Therapy, 2016)
  • Over 70% take medication and 2% take over 5 medications (Mayo Clinic, 2015)
  • Adults sleep an hour less than needed – teens 2 hours less (Walker M, 2018)
  • We are self-centred and lonely – teen togetherness dropped 40% 2010-15 (Twenge J, 2017)
  • Anxiety (and worry) is a constant companion
  • Depression and suicide continue to increase
  • We have pushed our planet into the 6th great extinction (McKibben B, 2019)

Gyms, diet books, mindfulness, mental health professionals, medicine as a whole and medication have little impact beyond a lucky few. We desperately need a fresh approach.

The question “what should, could or will I do?” becomes interesting. With unlimited freedom to choose combined with the irresistible compulsion to react to short term gratification, most of us have surrendered the quest for higher levels of consciousness.

Many religions have been used on a “should” basis. Authorities decree that people should follow the rules of the church. If we look at the state of many lives, perhaps the approach has merit in our modern world.

What we “could” do is extraordinary. Imagine if we applied modern wisdom, technology and medicine with respect and resolve to human life. This is incredibly exciting. We are clearly capable of immense greatness – peace, vitality, love, clarity and flow. We watch this achievement amongst our athletes, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Aim high

This vision of actualised human beings has guided the great work of William James, Abraham Maslow, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Ken Wilber and those at the Mind & Life Institute. It is a vision of optimism and hope. In the face of the many challenges facing humanity, it is essential to remember and drill this possibility.

Spirit in Action is a method to frame and guide this journey. If willing and able, here are five deliberate practices that will take you to a much better place.

First, strive to be calm, steady and still in the storms of life. Caught up in the adrenaline surge of fight or flight, we sink to a reptilian level of consciousness. When calm you are healing, moving, feeling and thinking better.

Drill: learn and master contemplative/breathing/relaxing practice 5 min per day

Second, strive to be healthy, energised and dynamic. Illness, fatigue or lethargy makes the experience of enlightenment impossible to sustain. Being able to enjoy vitality is a key part of the experience of connection and joy.

Drill: be non-negotiable in your sleep, activity and nutritional disciplines

Third, strive to be positive, empathic and caring. It is essential to consciously feel and flex your emotions with an orientation towards generosity. The experience of peace, love and joy is diagnostic of enlightenment for many theologians.

Drill: restrain your impulses, generate joy and respect the joy of others

Fourth, strive to be present, focused and clear. Ruminating on the past or fretting about the future causes suffering. When present, we experience each moment in its fullness. Suffering drops away.

Drill: catch your thinking and focus 100% on the present moment

Fifth, live with skill and purpose – particularly in the testing moments. Flow is the state of full engagement with a meaningful challenge. Whether this is in loving prayer, skilled acts of compassion or creative pursuit, your spirit (little self) is in action and you will feel one with Spirit (greater reality).

Drill: define how, where and why you get flow and get a little every day

Accepting wise mentorship on this path of deliberate practice will accelerate your quest. It is very easy to get stuck in eddies when one area consumes too much attention. Many who exercise fanatically clean forget to relax or develop their emotions. Many meditate at the expense of their physical capabilities. Sometimes too much love, can distort our altruism into destructive sympathy.

Our development framework for Spirit in Action

Each of these base categories of discipline can reach levels of enlightenment. Consider the advanced yogi (super-calm), your favourite athlete (grace), Buddhist compassion (love), mathematical brilliance (clarity). They all trend towards flow.

There are many paths available for enlightenment. We live in a wonderfully diverse and creative world because humans courageously pioneer untrodden paths. Use the basic concepts and the lessons of our great spiritual traditions to stabilise and direct your journey. Seek truth, respect and practicality.

At the end of the day you have to choose and walk your own path.

As Gandhi reminds us:

To remake the world, you have to remake yourself.

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