“The Practicing Mind” by Thomas Sterner: Part Two

  1. Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything. When you stay on purpose, focused in the present moment, the goal comes to you with frictionless ease. However, when you constantly focus on the goal you are aiming for, you push it away instead of pulling it toward you. In every moment of your struggle, by looking at the goal and constantly referencing your position to it, you are affirming to yourself that you haven’t reached it. You only need to acknowledge the goal to yourself occasionally, using it as a rudder to keep you moving in the right direction.
  2. Simplicity in effort will conquer the most complex of tasks.
  3. Small. Short. Slow:
    1. When you work at a specific project or activity, simplify it by breaking it down into sections.
    2. Break the overall goal down into small sections that can be achieved with a comfortable amount of concentration.
    3. Incorporating slowness into your process is a paradox. What I mean by slow is that you work at a pace that allows you to pay attention to what you are doing.
  4. Non-judgment is the pathway to a quiet mind!
  5. Equanimity is defined as calmness and even-temperedness. One of the signs that someone possesses this virtue is that they are undisturbed by the moment-to-moment ups and downs they experience in daily life.
  6. Every experience, every word that is spoken is evaluated and judged by filtering it through our opinions and our past experiences. This is necessary. It is how we make all of our decision, whether they are of great importance or relatively insignificant.
  7. If you are aware of anything you are doing, that implies that there are two entities involved: one who is doing something and one who is aware or observing you do it. The one who is talking is your ego or personality. The one who is quietly aware is who you really are, the Observer.
  8. The ego is subjective. It judges everything, including itself, and it is never content with where it is, what it has, or what it has accomplished. The Observer is objective and there in the present moment. It does not judge anything as good or bad. It just sees the circumstance or action as “being.” In other words, the circumstance “just is.” Thus the Observer is always experiencing tranquility and equanimity.
  9. Through your effort, you realize that meditation is a process of quieting the mind and your attachment to the external world by going deep within yourself.
  10. An effective adjunct method to meditation that I use for this purpose is what I call “DOC,” which stands for Do, Observe, Correct.
  11. Wisdom is not a by-product of age. Teach and learn from all those around you.
  12. Kids basically want a sense of security, lots of free time and experiences that are fun and free from stress. Are adults any different in this regard?
  13. As adults, we usually feel that life is going too fast. We feel there is too much to do in too little time, and most of us long for the simplicity of our school days when we were young.
  14. As an adult, you have to notice that carefree nature that comes naturally to a child from living for an din the present. You have to try and help them to not “unlearn” that nature as they grow up in a world that constantly tries to push it out of them.
  15. With deliberate and repeated effort, progress is inevitable.
  16. Most of us spend very little time in the present moment. We usually are either thinking about something that has not yet happened (and may never happen), or reliving something that already had. We waste the opportunity to experience what is real on something that is not.
  17. All cultures being by expending all of their energy and resources into survival. If the culture survives this infancy, its people eventually pass the point of having to spend all of their time focused on staying alive. They get to a point of what’s for dinner instead of is there dinner. Their days are filled with more and more free time. It is at this point that the society faces a fork in the road. We have been standing at this fork for quite some time. The one path states that you can spend at least a portion of this free time on expanding your spiritual awareness, your knowledge of your true self. The other path leads away from this truth into an endless cycle of meaningless self-indulgence which, at its core, is trying to fill the spiritual void that so many of experience in our lives.
  18. If you look at most of the things on which we place our daily priorities, you will notice that in times of personal crisis, they seem so insignificant.
  19. If you look at all the “things” that you had to having in your life through the years, you begin to see that you don’t really care about most of them anymore, certainly not the material ones. Things like the care or the furniture lose their importance and value to you over time. You may even wonder what you saw in many of those things in the first place.
  20. All things of lasting and deep value require more time and nurturing and come to us only through our effort. I think everybody out there is aware of this at some level. We just get distracted by information to the contrary that comes at us every day.
  21. If it doesn’t enrich you, then you don’t need it.
  22. This is when the fun begins.
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