"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give,” British prime minister Winston Churchill had said. In these times when financial misdeeds are making headlines and stock markets continue a bumpy course, Churchill’s observations remain valid. How do you a make a life in the face of economic turmoil?
Give to receive
During difficult times, we can do even more to build our prosperity and entitlement to future wealth by serving others. In fact, good times give us fewer opportunities to serve. Bad times provide the occasion to help more. This helps you earn some spiritual good karma and equity. Even individuals who are not ordinarily leaders amaze themselves and others by rising up to become leaders and servers in the face of calamities.
The Great Buddha had to sacrifice his comfort as a prince to become an ascetic in order to unfold the virtue of wisdom. Martin Luther King Jr’s life was relinquished for the sake of civil rights. All great leaders, heroes and saints are masters of the virtue of sacrifice. You need to have this virtue if you wish to leave a legacy. It is the bottom line of greatness.
Look to help
Instead of focusing on negative gossip, media reports of scandals, or worries about the future, this is an excellent time to look around us and identify the greatest needs among people and the environment. Take this inventory instead of joining others who are in a negative scheme. This is the time to think about what you can do to be of benefit to society.
Look for volunteer options—talent banks, organised efforts to improve communities, or quiet ways to help your neighbours and friends. The goal now is to dedicate your efforts to assist others. Often we get caught up in the circle of complaining and worrying. Difficult situations are here, they are already a given, so there is nothing to talk about now. Take positive action to become an agent of positive change, instead.
If you know your business is slowing down, add more spiritual work to your day. If you cannot push more material activity, why keep pushing something that saturates or declines? We have a chance to upgrade our spiritual life. This is the best time to help other people. When times are good, people are more likely to go to the beach or play golf—spend their time merrymaking. Lean times are when people search for spiritual solutions and spiritual awakenings to prepare for the next round of material awakenings.
Be wise to be strong
We always want to be comfortable. That is our problem. Wisdom can never been written in the comfort of life. It has always been written in difficult times. So, if people cannot gain materially, at least they can become wiser and stronger. Advancing souls really prosper during difficult times in terms of wisdom and knowledge. This is also the time when their virtues are tested. The virtues of objectivity and practicality are crucial to discern and behave in a way that brings the highest good to all.
What do you do now that you have lots of time on your hands because your business declined or you lost your job? If you don’t have work, you should be exercising and meditating to prepare yourself so that you can compete. Often individuals who were sharp while they worked become weak physically, emotionally or mentally when they don’t. When they find new work, they cannot compete. That is bad. Things get worse if they become sick in the new job. Don’t let yourself go weak in body and mind. Exercise to stay energetic [see box] and on top of your game.
Master Del Pe’s stamina superchargers
Maintaining stamina on all levels is essential. These easy exercises will help you do that.
It helps develop both emotional conscience and integrated concrete and abstract mental faculty. Do it thrice a week, or daily to flush and energise your system. Do not do it if you are pregnant, have migraines or serious heart conditions.
Step 1: Inhale fully and rapidly through the nose as you tilt your head back while inflating your abdomen.
Step 2: Then exhale fully through the mouth as you bring your head down. Repeat 10-15 times.
Step 3: Concentrate on your heart, mid-brow and top of the head simultaneously while breathing slowly for 30 seconds.
Shoulder-spine stress release
It helps release tension from the abdominal area, upper body and spine.
Step 1: Place your hands together in front of your navel.
Step 2: Inhale fully and rapidly as you pull your bent arms towards the back with your head tilted backwards [as though you are looking at the ceiling] and arch your back.
Step 3: Exhale fully and rapidly as you curl yourself forward, chin in, and simultaneously bring your hands back to the front at navel level.
10-5 Abdominal Breathing
This will help you breathe your way to success by increasing your vitality rapidly and calming you down. [Not recommended for pregnant women, or people with heart conditions and hypertension]. Do it thrice a week or daily, as needed.
Step 1: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor to remain grounded.
Step 2: Inhale slowly and deeply into the abdomen while mentally counting to 10.
Step 3: Hold your breath until you count to 5.
Step 4: Exhale slowly, deflating the abdomen completely, while mentally counting to 10.
Step 5: Hold your breath until you count to 5.
Repeat the whole breathing pattern for a maximum of 5 minutes.
This is a good anti-ageing exercise. It will strengthen your willpower and enhance blood circulation throughout your body. Do not do it if you have knee problems.
Step 1: Place your feet at shoulder width and put your palms together at the centre of your chest with your fingers pointing upwards. Inhale fully.
Step 2: Exhale as you squat down, bending your knees and extending your arms so that they stretch out fully at your sides.
Step 3: Inhale as you go come up, bring your palms back to the centre of your chest. Do a set of 20-30 repetitions.
Variation: Concentrate on the top of your head and soles of your feet simultaneously. Breathe slowly and relax for 30 seconds to facilitate the flow of vitality and power in your body.
Tip: Do these stamina-boosting exercises and breathing techniques in your extra time to energise and calm you, and remain focused. If a wave of emotion or worry washes over you at some point during the day, these techniques will help you focus back on what is important—serve others and build karmic equity.
This article was first published in the February 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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