Build and Maintain Happiness Through Self-Sufficiency: Week Five— How to Build Self-Sufficiency
If you’ve been reading this blog series over the past month, you’ve probably been wondering when I’ll get around to telling you how, exactly, to become self-sufficient. I’ve talked to you about the many benefits of becoming self-sufficient and how doing so eases suffering. I’ve covered how, exactly, this can work in relationships, and I’ve given you a glimpse of being self-sufficient in lifestyle.
Today is the day, my friends, that I tell you how you build self-sufficiency. All you need to do is build your self-sufficiency muscle.
But, first, you may have noticed that I’ve been referring to this as a skill you can build, rather than learn. That’s because learning how is one thing—actually being able to build this skill is another. I want to assure you that not only can you learn this skill, but you can do it.
Just as when you want to be physically strong, you go to the gym to work out, the only way to experience self-sufficiency is by building those muscles (your mind power).
A few things to know about building your self-sufficiency muscle:
- You can start now to build that muscle, and you can do it anytime you feel inspired.
- It does not require any equipment, and it does not require that you know anything fancy.
- The practice is simple, yet it can be hard.
- When it is hard, you have to have faith. (You will get faith when you get a taste of the power of this practice.)
- You do not have to believe anyone when they tell you what you need to learn because if you follow the practice, you will discover all the knowledge that you need to discover yourself.
- This practice is the ultimate source of self-sufficiency because you will learn all of the profound things that people talk about yourself.
- You do not have to join a religion or a club.
- You can practice alone or with friends.
- You can practice anywhere.
- No one can take your practice away or criticize it because they will not know what is going on inside your head (they won’t even know that you are doing it). It is private and personal.
- No one can criticize your technique because your experience will be perfect.
- You can seek the help of someone who knows more about the practice than you, but you should always expect to be treated as an equal…as someone walking on the same path who wants the company of others who value the same important goal in life of being self-sufficient.
- There is joy in sharing this exploration together with others. The time you spend together is precious. The friendships that come from sharing this path become a pillar because they are based on a common goal: achieving self-sufficiency.
Your Self-Sufficiency Practice: the 5 Minute Method
Your practice may seem hard at times, but that’s a good thing because this means you are working your muscle hard and working your muscle hard means that it will become stronger faster. (Just like doing all those leg presses at the gym!)
Some days will be harder than others; some days will seem easier, filled with peace and happiness. You must know that the peace and happiness are the results of all the days you worked and not just that one day you feel inspired and good. Over time, the trust in this idea will become evident, and you will feel good about both the hard days and the easy days. The hard days will become less hard, and the good days will become even better.
This practice can be done at any time, but the best and simplest time is first thing in the morning when both your body and your mind are well rested. You can take advantage of this restful state by making sure you have enough time to do your practice before you start your day.
Start by committing to just 5 minutes. If it feels good, do it longer. The important thing is that you give it some thought every day, even if you don’t spend much time doing the practice itself. This allows you to think about the practice all day and check to see if you notice how it changes your state of self-sufficiency
- Find a quiet place to enjoy your own company for a few minutes. It can be in your bedroom, out in the garden, at the beach, or in the park (wherever you feel comfortable).
- Sit comfortably. When your practice becomes advanced, you will find that it is easier to sit for long periods on the floor (on a cushion or directly on the ground). When you first start your practice, you may need to sit in a way that supports your back.
- Set a timer, using a gentle chime for the alarm. At first, set your timer for 5 minutes. As you advance, you may wish to increase this time.
- Close your eyes. Don’t worry about anyone seeing you. Nothing bad will happen.
- Find a place in your body where you can feel the physical sensation of your breath when you inhale and when you exhale and watch with your mind’s eye every breath as it comes and goes.
- Count your breaths as they come and go. Count “one” on the in-breath and “two” on the out-breath. Each in-breath and out-breath is one breath cycle. When your mind wanders from your breath (which it will likely do, especially in the beginning), bring your awareness back to your breath and reward yourself with a deep comfortable breath. Start counting again. It is normal for the mind to wander, and it is okay because the practice is simply bringing your attention back to your breath. There is much more to it as you progress, but for now, this is enough.
- Congratulate yourself for spending this time to develop your self-sufficiency.
- Send one person a wish that they are happy and peaceful.
- Take note of what your experience was of the time you spent practicing. Notice the things that worked for you and the things that didn’t (Where was your breath easiest to feel? What thoughts popped up that swept you away? What did you do when this happened? Was your seat comfortable?) Resolve to do more of what worked and less of what didn’t. This is about finding your way that feels most comfortable.
- When the alarm sounds, turn off your timer and take a few seconds before you open your eyes to do the following:
- Open your eyes.
Do this practice whenever you think to do it. Make a habit of doing it daily, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss days. Each time that you practice, you’re making a deposit to your self-sufficiency bank that will accumulate over time and never be spent or used up.
You can also read a book about meditation and find others who can share the journey. Or, listen to recorded talks and anything else that helps you adopt a new habit.
Most of all, enjoy your new found sense of self-sufficiency that will arise. You deserve it.
Do you have a question about building self-sufficiency? Leave a comment below!
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