Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Simple Daily Practice by James Altucher

     I'm posting this excerpt from an email article from The S & A Digest: Master Series newsletter because I believe it has many good suggestions for improving our quality of life.    The article was entitled "The Simple Daily Practice (or Why Do So Many People Want to Die)"  By James Altucher.  This particular excerpt from the article is taken from his book, Choose Yourself.
      I would take exception to a couple on the list, though. "K" suggests we read a spiritual text.  I believe the only way to truly understand who we are and to gain meaning in life is to have a relationship with Jesus.  Therefore I recommend reading the Bible for spiritual input--not just any spiritual text.  And "U" admonishes us to not have sex with anyone you don't love.  I believe it should be changed to "don't have sex with anyone you're not married to."  If you love them, then value them enough not to use them to satisfy your lust but give them security in commitment.  Deny yourself gratification for the good of the other person--something that seems to be almost unheard of in these days of selfishness.
      Nevertheless, there are some good reminders and interesting ideas to help us live life at a deeper level contained here.  Since I like lists that I can easily refer back to, it seemed good to post this where I can find it again.

"...The Simple Daily Practice is the same. All you really need to do to get off the floor is acknowledge that it's not your external life that needs to change (you have little control over that), but that external changes flow from the inside.

External changes in your life are like the final ripples of the ocean that lap onto distant shores. A promotion, a raise, a new job offer, a new relationship. These are the final ripples. The ocean is inside you. Becoming aware of that infinite presence doesn't require meditation in a cave for fifty years. It involves simply being healthy. Healthy not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

For now, the Simple Daily Practice means doing ONE thing every day.

Try any one of these things each day:

A) Sleep eight hours.

B) Eat two meals instead of three.

C) No TV.

D) No junk food.

E) No complaining for one whole day.

F) No gossip.

G) Return an e-mail from five years ago.

H) Express thanks to a friend.

I) Watch a funny movie or a stand-up comic.

J) Write down a list of ideas. The ideas can be about anything.

K) Read a spiritual text. Any one that is inspirational to you. The Bible, The Tao te Ching, anything you want.

L) Say to yourself when you wake up, "I'm going to save a life today." Keep an eye out for that life you can save.

M) Take up a hobby. Don't say you don't have time. Learn the piano. Take chess lessons. Do stand-up comedy. Write a novel. Do something that takes you out of your current rhythm.

N) Write down your entire schedule. The schedule you do every day. Cross out one item and don't do that anymore.

O) Surprise someone.

P) Think of ten people you are grateful for.

Q) Forgive someone. You don't have to tell them. Just write it down on a piece of paper and burn the paper. It turns out this has the same effect in terms of releasing oxytocin in the brain as actually forgiving them in person.

R) Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

S) I'm going to steal this next one from the 1970s pop psychology book Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No: When you find yourself thinking of that special someone who is causing you grief, think very quietly, "No." If you think of him and (or?) her again, think loudly, "No!" Again? Whisper, "No!" Again, say it. Louder. Yell it. Louder. And so on.

T) Tell someone every day that you love them.

U) Don't have sex with someone you don't love.

V) Shower. Scrub. Clean the toxins off your body.

W) Read a chapter in a biography about someone who is an inspiration to you.

X) Make plans to spend time with a friend.

Y) If you think, "Everything would be better off if I were dead," then think, "That's really cool. Now I can do anything I want and I can postpone this thought for a while, maybe even a few months." Because what does it matter now? The planet might not even be around in a few months. Who knows what could happen with all these solar flares. You know the ones I'm talking about.

Z) Deep breathing. When the vagus nerve is inflamed, your breathing becomes shallower. Your breath becomes quick. It's fight-or-flight time. You are panicking. Stop it Breathe deep. Let me tell you something: most people think "yoga" is all those exercises where people are standing upside down and doing weird things. In the Yoga Sutras, written in 300 B.C., there are 196 lines divided into four chapters. In all those lines, ONLY THREE OF THEM refer to physical exercise. It basically reads, be able sit up straight. That's it. That's the only reference in the Yoga Sutrasto physical exercise. Claudia always tells me that yogis measure their lives in breaths, not years. Deep breathing is what keeps those breaths going."

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