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I wrote this as sort of a pre-flight checklist that I read before I meditate. For as long as I have been thinking about this stuff, I still find it extremely beneficial to leave myself a trail of breadcrumbs that I can follow when I forget my way back home. This list helps me remember the intentions that I want to set before I step out into the world every day and reminds me that I get to decide how my day is going to go. Maybe you’ll find it useful too.

  1. Problems don’t exist. There are only events and how you choose to feel about them. Seeing them as problems is a choice. Seeing them as non-problems is a choice. Make the choice that keeps you open and happy.
  1. Trying to get external reality to line up with your internal ideas about how things should go and how people should act is madness. Reality doesn’t care about you and your feelings about it. When something is bothering you, acknowledge it, feel the feelings, and then let go. Don’t let these irritations become blockages in your energy. When you feel your chest getting tight and your heart begin to close, relax and stay open. The irritation will pass through you and move on.
  1. Don’t give your attention to things over which you have no control (see #2). When you do this, you miss what is happening in the moment. Life is passing you by while you stew over all the things you can’t change. Stay focused on what life is presenting you with in the now.
  1. Be nobody. Remember that your personality is just a collection of stories. Everything you love, hate, agree, or disagree with is the ego trying to convince you that you are your thoughts and your beliefs. Let go of clinging to this idea of self. What you are is so much larger and more powerful than what the ego would have you believe. Drop the act and anything is possible.
  1. Want nothing. Focus on your needs, not on wants. The less you own, the less you want, the less you crave…the freer you will be. Travel light and be grateful you have a choice in the matter. Many don’t.
  1. Harm no being. Because we are all connected…violence against the “other” is violence against yourself. Physical, verbal, and emotional violence has never solved a single problem and never will. Begin with love and stick with it.
  1. Be mindful of what you let through the doors of your senses. We are showered with thousands of messages a day that are designed to make us feel a certain way. Limit your exposure to these messages and, when you are exposed, meet them with critical thinking and suspicion.
  1. Trust life. Things are unfolding just as they should. Don’t make fear based decisions that take you further away from happiness just because your ego thinks you should be stronger, faster, smarter, skinnier, or better than you are right now. The grass is never greener and that voice in your head is fake news.
  1. Stop complaining (thank you, Cianna) . It just reinforces your negative tape loops and it’s a sneaky form of escapism. Turn to face your pain instead and deal with it.
  1. There are dozens of opportunities for empathy and kindness that are presented to you every day. Not just when you’re feeling good, but in the midst of turmoil and anger as well. Whatever the circumstance, try to see the other person’s suffering and turn toward love.
  1. Everything comes back to clinging or aversion. Remember that. Don’t try to push away the things that you find unpleasant and don’t try to hold on to the things that you love. What you resist, persists and what you try to grasp will be lost. This is the nature of impermanence. The middle way is just to let things be as they are. No action is necessary on your part. Let the pendulum of your emotions come to rest and be still. Everything will be taken care of.
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