There are very few certainties in life but one thing that will remain consistent through your life is, you will continually have challenges and problems to overcome and while these challenges will differ from person to person, the solution for any problems can be broken down into 7 key areas for development.
In a sacred text called the Sabbāsava Sutta the Buddha outlines these 7 areas; my interpretation of this text is below. The original text is available to read here in Pāḷi and English.
We currently live in an age of information, and while this stockpile of knowledge can at times be overwhelming it is very useful for overcoming challenges in your life.
When you have a challenge there is always a solution out there, it’s your job to gather the info, syphon the good from the bad and work out a plan for getting there.
It’s not always easy; in fact it’s usually very difficult and depending on the problem you are facing could take some real trial and error.
But if you are determined to overcome a problem you are facing there will always be a solution out there, you just have to find it!
When you are making a transition in life there will be times when you will have to call on your resistance to temptation.
If you are starting a new exercise regime, trying to overcome procrastination or trying to get rid of an addiction of any type, there will be times when you will have to resist the temptation to fall back into bad habits. But while this is very important it is really only part of the solution.
To give up a bad habit using resistance alone would be very difficult, so when you are trying to change a bad routine you will find it easier if you consciously replace it with a more productive one.
If you stop smoking, you could start painting. If you stop eating junk food, you could start eating health food. Or if you are going to stop hanging out in nightclubs and getting drunk, you could start going to yoga and drinking raw juice.
It’s very important that you consciously look for a healthy, sustainable replacement to bad habits, because if you don’t you may end up with a worse habit in its place.
Consumption works both ways; you could be over consuming or under consuming.
You could be eating too much or not enough. You could be not drinking enough water or be drinking too much fizzy drinks. You could be buying too much stuff that you don’t need or you could be depriving yourself from the things that you do need.
However it is in your case, consuming more or less of certain things will help you overcome some of life’s challenges.
This lesson really goes hand in hand with knowledge as when you learn more about your need’s as a human being you get more of an understanding of what you need to consume more or less of.
A prime example of this is medicine and when I say medicine I am not just talking about pills, I am also talking about plants, herbs and food medicines.
A lot of us are taking pills for problems that we can overcome naturally and because of these pills we are starting treatment with one problem and the side effects of these medicines are leaving us with more problems all of which need different pills to overcome them.
This is the vicious circle of symptom based treatment and not looking at health as a whole.
Most illness, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical can be overcome naturally. So try your best to find out how you can use nature to overcome your problems before consuming toxic and dangerous medicines.
Consumption also works for the mind to, your thoughts become things. So if you are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts you may want to try to replace them with something a little more positive.
You cannot always have what you want, when you want it! This is not a bad thing; just imagine everything you set out to do was completed straight away. You would have nothing to aim for, no goals and no reason to wake up in the morning.
If you have something big that you want in your life you will have to be patient and you will also need to be persistent.
If you work every day towards a goal and that goal is something that you have some control over then the only thing that can stand between you and your goal is time!
One thing to remember here is to try and enjoy the journey, if you think a certain goal will bring you happiness and you struggle to find anything to be grateful for on the way chances are when you finally get there you will still not feel satisfied.
Celebrate every small victory on route to your big goals, be patient and persistent and you will get there in the end!
Some things in your life will be out of your control, certain people and places will leave a negative impact on you. Sometimes it will not be possible to just walk away from these things, but you can do your best to avoid them.
If someone at work acts negatively and always leaves you feeling down avoid them. If you are making dietary changes and your friends are going to a fast food restaurant don’t go. If your partner happens to love Housewives Of New Jersey and you don’t, go read a book when they are watching it!
Some things in life will need to be confronted, but sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to just avoid or ignore it.
There will be times in your life when avoiding a problem is just not viable. Sometimes in life you have to make tough decisions, but usually the tough decisions result in the biggest impact.
Sometimes friendships and relationships end. Sometimes a career is having such a negative impact on your life that you will have to leave. Sometimes you have to stop relying on will power to help you through your diet and throw out them chocolate chip cookies.
Your life is your responsibility and when certain things have a constant negative impact on you, you will have to make a decision – am I going to accept this or remove it and move on.
This can be one of the hardest things a person can do, but when you take note of things, people and places that impact your life in a bad way and do your best to remove them, your life will change for the better.
The first step for lifestyle is finding out what lifestyle you really want, a lot of people go into adulthood without knowing what they want or what they stand for.
Lifestyle will affect your health, wealth and relationships so it’s important if you want to lead a fulfilling life that you know what you want and build a lifestyle around that.
Lifestyle is really a combination of the knowledge you acquire, the daily habits you partake in and what you deem to be acceptable on your journey.
It’s very important that you set strict boundaries in some areas of your life to make sure your life is the one you want to be living.
Let’s face it we all have the same amount of time in the day, yet some people can barely manage to get on top of household chores, While others can run a Fortune 500 company and still find the time to meditate, go to the gym and hang out with friends and family in the evening.
It’s very much about viewing your life and seeing what is productive and empowering you and what is negative and disempowering you. Then doing more of the positive and less of the negative!