Just as we have outer priorities in our lives that guide us in our decision-making and setting goals, we have inner priorities, too. The values that we live by can be considered our inner priorities and they guide us in how we implement our outer priorities, the areas of our lives to which we choose to devote time. In my experience, people who pay attention to the inner, can be more effective in the outer realm.
Phillip Moffitt's blog
If you want to make either fundamental change in your life, how do you go about it? How do you stay centered? And how do you find direction? I’m not referring to changing your job, your home, etc. I’m talking about making a profound change in your fundamental approach to life that alters the manner in which your life is organized, either internally or externally.
In my role as a Buddhist meditation teacher, I’ve observed a phenomenon that I call the “stigma of suffering syndrome” among many beginning students. They are uneasy with the fact that their lives contain suffering; therefore, they are ineffective in coping with whatever difficulties and disappointments arise. For such individuals to admit to suffering would mean defeat, humiliation, or shame because they did not measure up to our culture’s view that winners don’t suffer. Their ineffectiveness manifests as passivity, helplessness, guilt, or self-hatred.
As much as we would all prefer that it wasn’t so, difficult times are an unavoidable part of the ever-changing stream of life. Difficulties come on their own accord irrespective of whether they are deserved or fair and regardless of our ability to bear them. The difficult can manifest in any aspect of life, including physical, mental, or emotional health; career or job; financial situation; and relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners. Sometimes the difficulties we encounter are minor and tedious but numerous.
Why do some people suffer from debilitating symptoms of stress while others who are under equal or greater pressure don’t? This is a question I’ve deliberated for the past 17 years as I’ve listened to countless meditation students tell me about the difficulties in their lives. I’ve learned consequently that there is a distinction between the pressure someone experiences due to the conditions in their life and stress, which is their mind’s reaction to that pressure.
Opening to the possibility of change is essential to your psychological development, but like many people you may be resistant to being changed in a profound way. However, you can learn to be more skillful when it comes to change by applying mindfulness. Bringing mindfulness to the inner calling for change enables you to stay true to your underlying values in what is a time of uncertainty.
For many of us “commitment” is a charged word, bringing to mind loss of freedom and the need for hard work. However, commitment is very rewarding when it is practiced with integrity, mindfulness, and skillfulness.
Here are just a few rewards commitment can bring:
Life for each of us is made up of a series of thoughts, words, and actions that occur in a space we refer to as time. It’s hard to know if there’s anything outside those thoughts, words, and actions, because all we really know is our own experience.
Entrepreneur and former Esquire magazine editor-in-chief and C.E.O., Phillip Moffitt, founded the Life Balance Institute in order to provide training and resources for individuals and executives in how to live a more satisfying, values-based life. More…
The Life Balance Institute is a non-profit training organization dedicated to helping you develop essential life skills that will lead you to experience more clarity and choice in your life. The Institute offers online resources, group programs, and individual consulting in Skillful Living, Sustainable Leadership, and more…