In our hectic and sometimes stress-filled day, focusing on our breath for a minute can calm us and create a space for introspection. As Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” When we take a conscious breath, it puts us in the present moment where we can observe our inner lives.
So what is an inner life, exactly? An inner life is composed of thoughts and emotions. Thoughts lead to emotions like anger, fear, frustration, happiness, hope and serenity. Any time we can draw our attention to what we are thinking, which is often negative, we can now challenge these thoughts and alter our actions, hence the results in life. We ultimately choose the path of our destruction or our triumph based in the examination of our inner lives.
Siddhartha Gautama knew the importance of this inner life examination by meditating deeply on his experience of life, determined to seek the truth. He did achieve “enlightenment” and became The Buddha, a spiritual leader and teacher whose life serves as the foundation of the Buddhist religion. Buddha’s wise teachings help us to reflect on our inner lives, achieving a deeper knowing of ourselves. This self-awareness can lead to positive change and growth.
So in the spirit of Buddha, take a deep breath and reflect on his quotes to see if anyone of them strikes a chord. If it does, you can journal about it and even put it into practice in your life. But, above all, take time each day to become aware of what you are thinking and how it is impacting your life.
1. “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”
2. “All experiences are preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind.”
3. “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
4. “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
5. “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything ― anger, anxiety, or possessions ― we cannot be free.”
6. “Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.”
7. “With fools, there is no companionship. Rather than to live with men who are selfish, vain, quarrelsome, and obstinate, let a man walk alone.”
8. “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
9. “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”
10. “Whoever doesn’t flare up at someone who’s angry wins a battle hard to win.”
11. “A disciplined mind brings happiness.”
12. “Conquer anger with non-anger. Conquer badness with goodness. Conquer meanness with generosity. Conquer dishonesty with truth.”
13. “Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcomed. Speech, when it brings no evil to others, is a pleasant thing.”
14. “Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.”
15. “If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.”
16. “We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by loving kindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.”
Which quote resonates with you the most and why? Let us know. We would love to hear from you!