Friday, 27 December 2019

Soft Power

Gentle, patient and persistent effort empowers one’s practice. On a micro level, it is no more and no less than the energy required to wake up to what is occurring in the here-and-now. On a macro level, it has four aspects:

  • to sustain positive states that have already arisen
  • to arouse positive states that have not yet arisen
  • to abandon negative states once they have arisen
  • to guard against negative states so that they do not arise.

These are traditionally known as the Four Great Efforts. Reflecting on these and honing actions accordingly is a means to clarity and composure in daily life. If this is a new idea, below is an example of how you might apply it.

New Year's Resolutions

Take a few minutes to run through the past year in your mind. What do you recall? What stands out? Are there particular highlights? What about low points? Which experiences, activities and events seem to have been positive, useful or enjoyable? Which were more negative, unsettling or difficult? Which seem more neutral?

Now take a pen and paper and write some brief notes around these 10 questions:

  • What is worthy of celebration from the past year? 
  • At what times did you live in alignment with your values?
  • What would be good to do more of?
  • What would be good to invoke?
  • When did you not align with your values?
  • Have you done what you set out to accomplish in the
    last year?
  • In terms of what you hoped to achieve, what got
    missed out? 
  • What valuable personal or professional lessons have
    you learned?
  • What would be good to release from or let go of? 
  • What in your life is not serving you?

Your notes should contain within them some clues as to what would be good for you to maintain, to develop, to change and to avoid. Now set some clear intentions for the year ahead by posing yourself these four questions:

  • What aspects of my life are beneficial and are worth maintaining? 
  • What aspects of my life are beneficial and are worth developing or strengthening? 
  • What aspects of my life are not beneficial and need changing? 
  • What aspects of my life are not beneficial and need avoiding? 


Grand Narratives (I)

If you were to consider what ‘mindfulness’ means to you, what would show up in your mind? If you were to reflect deeply on the nature and pu...