"You have only one life and one health" - Violetta Wróblewska - ebook

"You have only one life and one health" ebook

Violetta Wróblewska

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You have only one life and one health. Therefore it is crucial to spend the time that has been given to you in the wisest way possible – a way which is the most life-enriching, useful, beneficial, and helpful to you and others. Every single person, regardless of their age, gender, education, or occupation, will find what is really valuable and useful in their own lives in this book. The entire book is an answer to challenging questions about life. It gently encourages the reader to gain insight into their own life. The book gives you the answer for a lot of your questions via words of wisdom, life prescriptions, stories, educational mottos, and quotes you can find there. It is not worth waiting with introducing changes. I recommend this book to anyone tired of all the philosophies. This handbook for creating and enjoying a good life can be your good companion and a soul-friend. It has helped you to discover the important things to make your life and your inner self more complete and at peace. It gently, lovingly, and firmly reminds you each day how to truly live. It is a book that just by reading gets you filled with positive energy and hope. You are free to choose out of plenty of ways of life whatever suits you. Then it can help you change your life for the better. It is so inspirational book that will move you to a happier life.
You can also buy this book in the Polish language version. It is titled “Życie i zdrowie masz tylko jedno”.

Violetta Wróblewska, Ph.D. – In recent years, she has been working as a psychologist, a personal development trainer, a psycho-coach, and a university lecturer. She applies her unique, effective therapies when working with her clients. Her passions include health, self-improvement, and spiritual development; moreover, she explores and propagates healthy lifestyles. She is the originator of the psycho-medical-spiritual lifestyle, or the art of combining one’s individual life experience with the latest scientific advancements in psychology, spirituality, and medicine to live a healthier and happier lifestyle and attain inner peace. http://psychologistonskype.com/

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Liczba stron: 508




THE FIRST READERS

AND THEIR REVIEWS OF THE BOOK

“I read the book sentence by sentence, very attentively. It forced me to ask myself questions and take stock of my life. Thanks to this book I started to live my life in a different, better way. I feel more peaceful now.”

“Until I read this book, I hadn’t been aware of a lot of things happening in my family which were bad for me. Now, I know how to live a better life, and I am slowly changing the wrong image of myself and the world.”

“I am fascinated by this book. It is one of the best and most invaluable books I have read so far. I find the author’s advice brilliant and enjoyable.”

“An invaluable, fantastic and riveting book. I have started discovering how to live a different life. I have decided to change my way of thinking.”

“A psychological and spiritual approach to life. Good and really relevant advice. I am slowly discovering convictions and patterns of 11

thinking dominating my life. There are books which I never open again after reading. This one is different. I am definitely going to return to it more than once.”

“I decided that I had to do something with my life. I read the book.

I do not regret it. It made me think really deeply about my life and gave me power. I keep coming back to it and to all the fragments I highlighted in yellow.”

“Now I know what I should do in order to create my own life instead of giving up and letting circumstances and other people make decisions about it, which has been my strategy until now. I found this book so absorbing that I locked myself with it and spent the whole day reading it. This book is extraordinary.”

“Really insightful and one of a kind. Incredibly addictive. A lot of useful instructions, stories, examples, and quotes. In my opinion, everybody should become familiar with it, especially those who need therapy and support.”

“At last, I have the book I have been looking for. I don’t have to read it from cover to cover. Depending on my needs, I choose a chapter I want to read on a given day. This is my good life guidebook.

I adore it.”

“Reading the book made me feel surprised, relieved, relaxed, and peaceful. Now I know that there are fewer and fewer things which are impossible for me to do.”

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“I decided I was not going to be a victim anymore. If I am to make my life a wise and conscious one, I have to do it step by step. I keep repeating to myself that God didn’t give us the spirit of fear – He gave us the spirit of wisdom, strength and sensible thinking.”

“Surprising and moving. You can read its fragments at random.

I selected chapters and topics which interested me most. It contains a lot of tips and words of wisdom.”

“This book gives you motivation to live a better life. It inspires you and lifts your spirits. It contains profound truths about life and gives you advice and support. Finally, I am slowly starting to fall in love with my life.”

“I don’t want to remain passive any longer. I started introducing changes in my life. I have finally taken some action to improve my health instead of worrying about it.”

“I stopped putting off self-improvement for later. This book is my guide on how to improve myself.”

“I knew that my life would not get better overnight if I just kept looking at it passively, putting off changes all the time, using the lack of time as an excuse. All my excuses came from my lack of faith in my ability to change something in me. Now this is changing.”

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5. What talents have you been gifted with?

6. Which of your talents are you developing in your life and which are buried?

7. What everyday activities give you the most joy? What activities give you a sense of fulfilment?

8. What do you devote most of your time to right now? Is it really something you want to devote so much time to? Is it import ant to you?

9. We cannot expect good fruit of our actions if we devote the least of our time to what we care about the most. What do you care about the most and still can’t find time for?

10. We make our life choices in every situation and at every moment of our life. Each of us has their own free will and is responsible for their actions. Where have your crucial life choices taken you so far? What lesson did you learn from various occurrences in your life?

11. What fruit of your actions and things you dedicate yourself to have you gathered so far? Is it what you really meant to achieve and what you truly wanted? Do you feel fulfilled? Or would you rather gather the fruit of actions that don’t give you satisfaction?

12. What is your greatest life disappointment? What life decisions do you regret? What would you have changed in your life?

13. Do you tend to compare yourself with others and be jealous of their skills, knowledge, gifts, and talents? Or maybe you appreciate what you have and don’t make such comparisons?

Think again – what gifts have you been given?

14. We are responsible for our own happiness. No person from among the closest circle: our children, spouse, parents, partner 113

or friends, can create it for us and thus make us happy. All they can do is participate in our joy. What is your opinion on what you have written down? How do you create your own happiness?

15. What are the things that life and people are continuously try -

ing to teach you and that you accept, albeit reluctantly?

16. Is there anything in your life which you consider the most important and without which your life wouldn’t be as meaningful as it is now? What is it?

17. Which period in your life would you like to return to? Why?

18. Would you like to live your life again? Why?

19. List five most beautiful moments in your life that you miss the most.

20. If you had six months left to live, how would you live them?

21. If you found yourself on your deathbed, what would you like to leave behind and how would you like to be remembered by your nearest and dearest or your friends? What would you like others to say about you?

Now choose the most relevant answers and write them all down.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE MEANINGFUL,OR ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE

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The question about the meaning of one’s own life is one of the most crucial questions every human being should ask themselves if they want to live a happy life.

p Where am I heading? Where are my everyday life choices, decisions and actions taking me? Is the path of my life going anywhere, or maybe I am not really getting anywhere at all?

A meaningful life is a genuine life. To live genuinely is to have the courage to live your life to the fullest and with energy, believing that you are taking full advantage of your talents and that you are creating a new quality of your spiritual and intellectual life.

To live genuinely is to be introspective and move forward all the time, overcoming all the obstacles within us. Your life should be lived consciously. It should be about living for yourself and for others, not about merely existing and observing (or even living) other people’s lives. Start making the best of your life today and don’t regret any of its moments later.

Do you keep your eyes wide open? A student directs a question to a lecturer who teaches the subject called ‘The Meaning of Life’: 115

‘Professor, why are you tel ing us to read just one book, written by you, as a condition of passing the course?’ The teacher replies:

‘Well, are you ready for more right now? Do you want to open your eyes wider to see a broader perspective?’

For a long time, I’ve been interested in diverse points of view on the meaning of life, e.g., how it is presented in the Bible, in Buddhism, psychology, and philosophy.

The meaning of life according to the Bible

John Paul II once stated: “[…] the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing” (in: John Paul II, Fides et Ratio).4

The question about the meaning of one’s life is inextricably linked to another question, i.e., what can make us happy. I believe this state could be achieved for instance, thanks to our love for God, ourselves, the other person, and nature. It could also happen thanks to our job, which we do with love and commitment.

To me, a happy life is a courageous life which doesn’t allow compromises and doesn’t settle for what is not necessarily good for us.

A person who doesn’t experience love for himself or for nature or is unable to love others will seek sources of short-lived happiness 4 The English translation comes from: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html, page accessed on 5 September 2016.

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in: amassing material goods, promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, working too hard, the virtual world, eating too much, or compulsive shopping.

As John Paul II says, consumerist civilization does not make people happy and it never has (in: Jan Paweł II, Księgi Myśli i Wiary. Szczęście, 2008, p. 83).

In my opinion, studying the Bible can significantly help us in searching for, and finding, the meaning of our life and can offer us advice on how to live. I recommend it to those who believe in God, to those who doubt, to those who are searching, and to those who do not believe. To me, the Bible is a great book of wisdom. It shows me how to build close relationships and your own personality with a view to strengthening your faith, love, hope, courage, and peace. It has provided, and is still providing, answers to my numerous existential dilemmas like: how to live a good and healthy life; how to make your life more meaningful; what to stay away from; or how to manage your life wisely. By and large, the word of God is a vast source of life wisdom, always worth delving into.

Within the last twenty years I have read literally hundreds of books on self-development, spirituality, healthy eating, Chinese, Western and non-conventional medicine, the beliefs, traditions and everyday life in tribal cultures, healthy lifestyle, quantum physics, and various religions (mainly Christianity and Buddhism) in search of a better perspective on reality and a better understanding of other people. Thanks to this experience, I avoid labelling myself as devoted to one cause, one idea, or to things which have 117

remained unchanged for many years, and I can improve myself peacefully and without constraints. I know that I will always be thirsty for knowledge about myself, God and the world. I also guess that, until the end of my life, I will remain hungry for discovering uncharted lands, broadening my horizons, investigat-ing places which are off the beaten track and setting off to the unknown again and again.

Now, I’m realising that many phenomena that my reason and my heart have always wanted to learn and understand all these years can actually be found in the Christian Bible. That is not to say that I have given up on consulting other books, because I am broad-minded and open to any kind of knowledge that gives me a better understanding of myself and my clients, at various stages of their spiritual and personal development. My clients are very often people who believe in the power of their mind; who doubt; who are just starting their search for the higher power, the ‘higher me’, or God; or who are fascinated with Buddhism and Zen. I’m still fascinated by the innumerable words of wisdom that come from different parts of our world, from different religions and different cultures. I am glad that I had the opportunity to walk down such a long path of contemplating the findings by the authors of those hundreds of books that I have read. I am happy simply because now I can say, with calm, that in the Christian Bible I find numerous universal truths about life that I have never encountered in any book on religion, philosophy, psychology, or economics. Thanks to this discovery, I don’t spend as much money on books as I used to.

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Many famous – and less well known – people seem to share my view on the Bible.

Maria Szulc, a biochemist and academic who discovered psycho-stimulation, opines that the Bible is full of universal and eternal truths, and it is a book everybody can draw spiritual benefits from.

It is a book written for the sake of people, for all those who are searching for the truth and the meaning of life, those in need of self-improvement, and those finding a way to get in touch with The Higher Me (Szulc, p. 129).

Also Rick Warren, a well-known American minister, points up the usefulness of the Bible in finding the meaning of life and learning how God sees our life. In his view, the Bible provides us with three metaphors that teach us about how God sees life. Life is not only something given to us; it is also a test and a task to complete (Warren, 2007, p. 42). He states that God keeps testing us, our obedience, faith, righteousness, love, and loyalty (Warren, 2007, p. 42).

Isaac Newton, a mathematician, physicist and astronomer who also studied the Bible, made the following point: “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” In turn, Arthur LeonardSchawlow, a physicist and a Nobel Prize laureate, stated: “We are fortunate to have the Bible and especially the New Testament, which tells us so much about God in widely accessible human terms” (source: http://www.nndb.com/people/954/000099657/, page accessed on 5 September 2016).

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For Jennifer Strickland, a former Armani model and the author of the book Girl Perfect, the Bible turned out to be like a glass of water for someone who is insatiably thirsty (from an interview with Jennifer Strickland [cf.] ‘Lydia’ 3/2012) [in:] „Nasze inspiracje”, issue no. 4, winter 2012, p. 22).

The Bible teaches its readers about reality in its various aspects and suggests to them that they should keep in their life everything that is noble. It emphasizes that God is the Creator and a way to a better life, that only He knows the meaning of each and every single person’s life and that He is able to reveal it to man. Our Creator filled our hearts with many different wishes and only He can make them come true. Hence, life is a marvellous mystery which is worth experiencing creatively, spontaneously and in accordance with God’s calling for every person.

p We can discover our identity and calling not only in hard moments of our life, but also when we work, study, develop our friendships, read books, raise our children, have fun, practise sports, dance, meditate, pray, or cook. A person who believes in God will often need to spend time with Him, close to nature, in peace and quiet.

The Bible teaches that God gave talents to man and formed his personality. In His plan, nobody’s presence in this world is purely accidental. Every person was first conceived in God’s mind and created by Him to carry out a certain mission that He had prepared for them. This mission can only be arrived at when we accept God in our life.

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p Therefore, we can say that it’s difficult to find the meaning of one’s life only in its spiritual or divine dimension until we experience who we really are in the eyes of God and what He destined us for. The act of understanding what we are here for and who we are in the eyes of God serves the purpose of gaining life wisdom.

What we think in our heart is what we become. God helps man achieve things which previously might have seemed impossible.

p The words of God shape us and enable us to do thingswe often considered impossiblebefore.

What gives more meaning to our life? A few viewpoints on thesubject.

From the point of view of spirituality, psychology and philosophy, our life becomes worth living and more meaningful thanksto, e.g., a stronger need to develop ourselves or others, our deep involvement in life itself and in useful actions, being curious, wishing to solve problems together, a realistic outlook on various life situations, self-acceptance, working on our sense of humour and relationships, expressing our creativity, telling good from bad, a positive attitude towards others, understanding the reasons behind various events, having our own mission and objectives, a readiness to change those of our aims that don’t prove very beneficial to us, and finding advantages in going through tough moments in our life.

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p Our life gains meaning thanks to: first, being creative on a smaller and larger scale; and second, dedication to work which corresponds to our talents and our destiny. Many achievements in the field of science, religion, art, and philosophy were made by those who were self-reliant, frequently at odds with what others were thinking, in spiritual solitude (“Crows fly in flocks, the eagle flies alone”) and, quite often, in physical solitude (Bocheński, 1994, pp. 66, 67 and 68).

The meaning of our life shouldn’t be read through the prism of feelings that are taking over at some given moment, as they don’t always convey the truth about us. We are, more often than not, fooled by our emotions. Therefore, it’s crucial that we trust the quiet inner voice of our heart.

We give our life meaning when we care about ourselves and about others and become involved in actions and initiatives which are important to us and to others. Giving and taking makes our life more meaningful in a very special way. Consequently, it is vital for us to understand that the essence of our life shouldn’t reside in our striving to be, e.g., a beautiful, sweet and juicy apple that everybody adores (much as this is also needed); instead, we should be an apple which is edible, i.e., useful to others.

The meaning of our life is also living in harmony, making the best of happy moments, and keeping our body and senses mindful so that, instead of being rushed off our feet, we notice our joie de vivre. After all, all we need to be happy is what we have here and now. Happiness is the ability to give love to ourselves and to others.

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To love is to want good things for ourselves and to others. To love is to do good things for ourselves and for others.

p Our life is present in everything we devote most of our attention to. A meaningful life is a conscious life. A conscious life is an introspective life. An introspective life is answering the following questions every day: What do I really want? What do I choose? Is my choice beneficial to my health and does it help me live a good and happy life? An introspective life is constant awareness of my own free will, which lets me create my own life by making decisions I am responsible for.

We can’t call a trunk a tree or call a stalk a flower, just like our body can’t be called a human being. A human being is made not just of the body, but also of a spirit and a soul. Consequently, we ought to nurture not only our body, but also our spirit and our soul.

p Our life gains meaning when our body, spirit and soul are regularly nurtured.

Taking care of our spiritual life every day is no easy task. We have to serve ourselves some food for thought to prevent our body from

‘withering’ spiritually.

Having worthwhile aims gives our life direction. Crucially, we need to realize what we don’t want to do, or have, most of all in our life and what we strongly wish for. Moreover, it pays to get rid of unnecessary thoughts which stall us in accomplishing our aims and opening up to new possibilities and experiences.

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p Concentrating on ourselves and our self-improvement contributes to learning more about ourselves, making our wishes and dreams come true, or accomplishing our goals, but it doesn’t always allow us to discover our true calling and destiny. It is quite common that only by working for other people can a person discover their own calling.

Various world religions are guided by the fol owing higher motives that could be viewed as signs of your life mission: nurturing your love for God, yourself and others, working on your kindness and compassion towards yourself and others, searching for the truth, and living in a way which reveals your true nature.

WGLMM – What gives life more meaning?

Aiming for balance – mental, emotional and physical. Loving God, yourself, others, nature; listening to your heart and doing what it tells you; not denying reality; making your dreams come true.

Being guided by what is really valuable in life, i.e., focusing on tolerance, peace, love, persistence, kindness, goodness, joy, compassion, patience, and faith. Making wise life choices. Noticing beauty in the commonplace, nurturing the simplicity of the heart and childlike joy. Nurturing honesty, dutifulness and responsibility.

Fulfilling the most vital needs of your heart, body, soul, and spirit that are connected with your physical and mental health. Not giving up on your dreams. Everything that is worth our involvement and our strife is everything which matches our personality, temperament and needs. It is everything that changes us and the surrounding world for the better, helps us develop our talents and 124

give kindness; everything that lets us experience goodness and love from others and improve on our spirituality and courage. It is developing a positive attitude towards ourselves, learning our strong and weak points, reinforcing the former and working on the latter, and making peace with the past and with our disappointments. Our life derives meaning from rewarding relationships with our relatives and life partner, having faithful friends, or creating a social environment around us which largely corresponds to our needs and encourages self-improvement. Other factors are a healthy attitude to our negative life experiences, coping with our emotions and stress, and viewing our struggles with our fears and life difficulties as things which build our character.

Lastly, it is finding balance between being alone with yourself and being with others, between giving and taking, between freedom and commitment.

What robs us of the feeling that our life has some deepermeaning?

A lifestyle that’s being propagated by the world around us, insisting that when we are sober we can’t have any fun or we can’t face the world. Searching for our identity and love in some subcultures which can do harm to our physical and mental health, in prostitu-tion and in very superficial, short-lived relationships based on sex.

Concentrating on naive, shallow and rather unrealistic, artificial needs. Constant search for substitutes of happiness. Living in a totally unrealistic world in which we are enslaved by addictions and lust just to avoid spending even one moment thinking about what is going on with us. Being enslaved by our instincts, 125

conformism, selfishness, pornography, sex addiction, alcoholism, drugs, smoking, workaholism, shopaholism, or gambling, which only give an added gloss to, and fill, our spiritual emptiness. A long-lasting feeling that our life is pointless. Being self-absorbed and totally selfish. Having no aspirations, ideals, dreams, or consuming passions. A culture of hedonism and consumerism. Feeling disappointed with ourselves and with our life. Not pursuing things that can give us permanent satisfactions and happiness (goodness, love, truth, freedom, inner joy). Unwillingness to investigate the problems: ‘Where am I heading in my life?’ ‘What do I truly want from life and where can the life choices I’ve made so far take me?’

Centring on our emotional and physical needs (perpetual fun and enjoyment and addiction to various sexual experiences) and having no spiritual life.

Prescription 20. Take your first steps towards giving your life deepermeaning. By doing this, reduce your internal tensions.

p Knowing more about yourself, having noble life goals, living a life which is true to your nature, mission, calling and values, trying to be ‘here and now’ as often as you can, accepting reality as it is, building close relationships with others – these are the first steps towards giving your life deeper meaning.

On a daily basis, we tend to balance between two things – on the one hand, our dreams, wishes, expectations, and images; and on the other hand, our limitations stemming from our upbringing, gender, talents, personality, or temperament. The conflict between those two aspects leads to internal tensions, uncertainty, insecurity, 126

and stress. What reduces those tensions is actions which aim at carrying out our life mission, achieving our life goals and pursuing our vocation.

What do we need our life mission for?

We need it because it is usually the case that people have to immerse themselves in their existence, develop and improve themselves. Having a mission serves exactly that purpose. Life without a mission is like a journey without a destination. Our mission gives our life significance and direction.

Prescription 21. All the great things in this world are usually simple things.

A great life is often a simple life, so don’t complicate yours. If you make yourlife mission a simple one, it will be a great one.

Everybody who wants to give some deeper meaning to their life should have some life mission to accomplish, which ought to correspond to what their heart tells them. Examples of such life mis-sions are loving the other person as much as we can and wishing good things for them, loving ourselves as much as we can and wishing good things for ourselves, loving God with all our heart and with all our might, loving the surrounding world and nature and wishing them well, helping people in their personal and professional development, striving to get to know the truth, and making the world a better place. Sooner or later all those mis-sions are very likely to bring a Christian Seeker closer to God and to strengthen a Christian’s relationship with Him.

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What we are guided by in our life can accelerate – or stymie –

the process of fulfilling our life mission.

The fundamental questions everybody should ask themselves are:

‘What am I being guided by right now in my life?’, ‘Can it give my life more meaning and help me in living a good life – a life which is beneficial to my health and which gives me fulfilment and satisfaction?’

Maybe I’m being guided by unpleasant memories and my feelings connected with them, such as grief, remorse, fear, and resentment? Or perhaps what guides me is my unforgiving attitude and anger at having been harmed in the past? Maybe it’s constant bitterness caused by the fact that life hasn’t turned out the way I wanted? Perhaps it’s my incessant worrying about others and being afraid for them? Maybe it could also be fear and avoiding risk and new challenges? Or storing material things and secur-ing my future all the time? Or maybe it is other people’s opinions about me? Could it be collecting academic titles, achievements and certificates just to boost my self-esteem and satisfy my inner need for recognition?

It’s hard to have an idea of a good future if our subconscious is being governed by memories surfacing as thoughts, reactions or images that we read as unpleasant. In such cases, it’s hard to move on and make a change in our life. In fact, what has guided us in our life so far can favour or significantly hinder fulfilling our life mission, based on values such as love, kindness, compassion, searching for the truth, and a life that brings out your true nature.

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Prescription 22. You can always start over and begin a new life, becauseyour everyday choices rest with you.

What should we do to start over and begin a new life?

It’s worth starting with purifying our mind from old programs, patterns, convictions, and difficult memories so that we can fill it with what is new and more beneficial to us.

There is an old Zen story which teaches us that we can’t fill a cup which is already full. The same applies to our mind. First, we have to do away with what’s old and unhelpful and only then can we fill it with the new and the helpful.

And here is the story: one day, a man visited the Master to ask him for some sagacious advice. He made a request that the Master give him a lesson. The Master replied: “Before I start, let me give you some tea.” He then filled the teacup to the brim and yet kept pour-ing the tea, which started to spill out of the cup. The man asked the Master why he was doing this. The Master answered that the man’s mind had already been filled with ideas about reality which made him unable to absorb any new knowledge. In this way, the man learned from the Master that before learning new things he should partly empty his own mind. It can be achieved thanks to questioning the notions which are already there. An overflowing teacup served as an illustration of a fully ‘packed’ mind and futile efforts made in the attempt to put something new in it (LeShan, 2008, pp. 45–46).

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Nurturing unfavourable and destructive memories has an impact on our behaviour. Not coming back to constant thinking and rethinking about what was challenging in the past allows us to change. By changing, we help others change. Everything we leave behind in order to grow (like old convictions and beliefs, also those we absorbed in early childhood and grew up with, and everything that doesn’t serve us any more) gives us confidence and freedom.

If we start to live ‘here and now’ a bit more, we stop being hos-tages of our own past. The importance of living ‘here and now’ is aptly illustrated in this story about a monk chased by two tigers.

“[A] monk […] was being chased by two tigers. He came to the edge of a cliff. He looked back – the tigers were almost upon him.

Noticing a vine leading over the cliff, he quickly crawled over the edge and began to let himself down the vine. Then as he checked below, he saw two tigers waiting for him at the bottom of the cliff.

He looked up and observed that two mice were gnawing away at the vine. Just then, he saw a beautiful strawberry within arm’s reach. He picked it and enjoyed the best tasting strawberry in his whole life!” (Keyes, from Handbook to Higher Consciousness, 1975, p. 27, from books.google.pl). That monk was clearly able to enjoy being ‘here and now’ – even when his life was hanging on a thread.

The awareness of being ‘here and now’. A woman says to her husband: “How do you manage to look so cheerful all the time?”

The husband replies: “When I clean, I am aware that I’m cleaning. When I cook, I am aware that I’m cooking. When I clean, my 130

attention is focused on cleaning. When I cook, my attention is focused on cooking. When I clean, I’m involved only in cleaning.

When I cook, I’m involved only in cooking. I am present right here at the time of cleaning and at the time of cooking. I am present now.”

Prescription 23. If you wish to understand and discover something, youhave to go through it and experience it. Knowledge alone is not enough.

Contemplating the moment. A master asks his disciple: “What are you doing?” The disciple responds: “I am cutting grass and I’m astonished at the miracle that clover leaves are.”

p It is mainly experiencing the ‘here and now’, or what we see, hear and feel, that allows us to absorb reality as it is – not just knowledge. If we wish to comprehend something, we had better experience it and go through it first – provided, of course, that as a result we won’t come to any harm or harm others.

Usually, we need judgements, comparisons, explanations, searching for the guilty ones and for victims in order to analyse reality.

But as a matter of fact, all those factors can significantly stall us in the true process of learning about reality.

Only by dint of our own experience, can we discover the actual meaning of our life, notice of the superficiality and vanity of this world, attain maturity, and develop mindfulness of what is important in life. If we have already experienced our earthly life in as many respects as possible, it’s advisable to proceed to 131

the spiritual. Such is the usual course of development: a quest for something more profound preceded by a discovery that the shallow and the superficial are no longer enough.

How should we start the process of getting to know ourselvesand reality, and thus learning the truth about ourselves andthe world?

Obviously, we should start by being really honest with ourselves.

This comes from noticing what is so very difficult in us, our defence mechanisms, prejudices and irrational beliefs about ourselves and the surrounding world. As I have mentioned before, we have to keep cleansing our mind of old programs, patterns of behaviour, ideas, and difficult memories to fill it with what is new and more favourable.

It’s a good idea to ponder all the positive traits of our character, our true needs, expectations, values, favourite lifestyle, and the quality of our relationships with others and with ourselves.

What do people usually buy? A disciple takes his master’s advice, goes to a shop which sells life truths and asks the seller for the full offer. The seller states: “We have various types of truth.

I would recommend ‘truth that is partly true’ but let me mention that it’s very expensive. Despite its cost, it’s the most popu lar one.” ‘Which type is the most affordable?’ the disciple inquires.

“The ‘actual truth,’ because hardly anybody buys it and so I had to lower the price,” the seller answers. The disciple spends some time thinking and says: “If I opt for ‘the actual truth,’ I may 132

never be the same person again. Am I ready for this? Do I really want it now?”

Prescription 24. Learn the truth about yourself and the world in peaceand quiet.

p The truth about ourselves and the world that we are striving to learn is not just our feeling or something we imagine. It resides in experiencing our own existence and relationships with others.

Simplicity in your relationship with yourself comes down to learning everything about yourself – and the truth about you – by spending time in peace and quiet, if possible. Hustle and bustle, emotions and mind usually act as barriers here, while silence and tranquillity are on your side. Those who believe in God may follow Jesus Christ, who proclaimed: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, King James Bible).

What happens when we start discovering the truth aboutourselves?

When we discover the truth about ourselves and our life, it’s time to take the next steps. If we stay in the same place without doing anything, we’ll soon start feeling some discomfort. It’s similar to standing at the foot of the mountain and just looking at it because we are too afraid of taking the first step in our climbing, much as we want to get to the top. We need to take the right steps and live in accordance with the truth discovered.

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Prescription 25. Start living in accordance with the truth you’ve discoveredabout yourself and your life.

p Various courses, therapies, intimate meetings during which we get various problems off our chest will not help us move forward if we don’t start introducing changes in our life thanks to the recently discovered truth about ourselves and our life (or the knowledge we’ve acquired). We can, for instance, spend ages talking about a new partner or the job of our dreams, yet this will bring no results unless we actually start meeting new people or working in different companies and check if this is what we really want. If we are really keen on experiencing new things, we need to start living a new life.

When we feel we are in the right place, at the right time and with the right people, it is much easier to live in harmony with yourself and the surrounding world and feel satisfied, happy, self-confident, and secure.

When we are standing at a crossroads and find it hard to make a good decision, we can use a hint I came across in one book I’ve read. Deepak Chopra, the author of many theories about healing the body and the mind, suggests in one of his books that Christians who are facing a dilemma and have to make an important decision ask themselves the following question: “What would Jesus do?” (Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire…, 2003).

134

When we slowly start discovering the subjective truth about ourselves and the world, we can rebuild our genuine self-esteem.

Building our self-esteem is closely linked to the feeling that our life has a meaning. That is why we shouldn’t define ourselves through the prism of the pain we’ve been through, hardships, disappointments, past occurrences, failures, successes, strengths, and weaknesses. We are much more than that.

The core elements of human nature are the needs to belong, to have some relationships with others, and to have company. Consequently, it’s better to take care of good relationships by sharing the joy of some success or sadness than to alienate ourselves and stand out by highlighting our uniqueness and exceptionality, or how much better, richer or wiser we are.

p Supporting others, giving them strength and courage, appreciating who they are, and working on our relationships with them impact our self-esteem in a positive way.

Our self-esteem is also determined by everyday activities which give us more life energy. Christophe André says that they are like oxygen for our self-esteem – in contrast to inaction, which kills it.

He also claims that self-esteem is shaped by broken dreams (André, 2012, p. 324).

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Prescription 26. Start building your genuine self-esteem.

p Something has to be done with our talents and possibilities. In a nutshell, we have to use them. True self-esteem can be attained

when we face the real world and go well beyond our opinion about ourselves, which is false and full of delusions.

The moment we discover the subjective truth about ourselvesand the world, we can relearn to accept our own reality.

If we try to find some justice in this world, we are prone to pitying ourselves for being badly treated, to making judgements about reality and complaining about it. It’s impossible to find justice in this world. Searching for it entails a considerable health risk.

p Accepting reality is the beginning of the path to any kind of change. It is an answer to the following questions: How am I supposed to live a good life when…? How should I live well in such circumstances?

If we’ve been deprived of some material thing, bereaved by somebody we really loved or we’ve lost something important, we ought to accept the fact that loss is a part of our life. Understanding that one day we are going to lose everything that has been given to us teaches us humility. Accepting the fact that life is very uncertain leaves no illusion.

Prescription 27. Come to terms with the fact that life is very uncertainand full of surprises, and start saying ‘yes’ to your life instead of saying 136

‘no’. Be grateful for what has already happened in your life. Say ‘yes’ toeverything which is going to happen in the future.

pWe can never be sure ofwhat the next day will bring.

A flexible and introspective approach to life allows us to experience the world anew every single day.

Depression as a lack of feeling that your life has some deepermeaning.

One epidemic of our times is depression caused by, among others, feeling that one’s life is pointless, the lack of higher goals, feeling disassociated, lack of self-love, not nurturing one’s hope and faith that things can be different and better, personal trauma, a serious and/or incurable disease, giving up on the quest for one’s true identity (by fighting with weaknesses), or an imbalance between one’s wishes and the possibilities of making them come true, which often stems from an exaggeration of the individual

‘I’. Depression can make us withdraw from life which doesn’t correspond to our nature or which abounds in stress.

Depression gives rise to powerlessness and hopelessness. It deprives us of security and strength. Therefore, it’s worth living in a way that protects us from many mental illnesses.

137

Prescription 28. Before you attribute a ( deeper) meaning to your life, accept and make peace with your life misfortunes.

Attributing a deeper meaning to our life isn’t always easy. It’s frequently the case that at some given point in life we need to do something else. It could happen that we get stuck in our attempts to give more meaning to our life, because we should have started from acceptance and making peace with what has gone by. This first step mainlyconcerns facts from our life which are hard to come to terms with, like losing a good job, serious problems with our children or health issues, failed relationships, divorces, etc.

Sometimes we need to start from a long, solid crying session and acknowledging the losses and mishaps as the story of our life and as part of who we are. Next, we should think that perhaps it’s better to take the risk and succumb to what life gives us than to spend our whole life struggling to arrange everything our way.

Such hopes are quite often false. They are an illusion and only generate disappointment.

The importance of the present moment. A master says to his disciple: “You were listening to me, but you didn’t hear what I wanted to convey. Why are you looking at the beautiful nature around you, but can’t really see its beauty?” The disciple replied: “I don’t understand.” The master made the following comment: “I haven’t seen you admire what you saw and contemplate what you heard from me. We can listen and still fail to hear. We can look and still fail to see.”

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Prescription 29. Gain life wisdom all the time and thus give your lifea deeper meaning every day.

Life wisdom is connected with:

• a long-term learning process,

• experiencing many things in your life,

• knowledge about life,

• being able to see a more profound nature of things or problems,

• building satisfactory interpersonal relationships,

• coping with life problems,

• using different methods of solving conflicts,

• being familiar with human nature,

• asking yourself and others profound questions,

• making peace with your life story,

• the ability to cope with critical life situations,

• being interested in various aspects of life,

• aiming at a good life and at discovering its meaning,

• the ability to manage your life,

• exploring the secrets of human life,

• experimenting with various thought-provoking and illuminating ideas about how to live your life,

• using services offered by psychologists, coaches, advisors, or mentors,

• reading good books (including self-help books),

• concentrating on human virtues,

• tolerance for different value systems and points of view,

• being aware of the fact that you can’t predict everything and you should be able to cope in unpredictable situations, 139

• creativity,

• willingness to learn and transgress the existing rules,

• the ability to adapt to various life situations,

• controlling your emotions,

• a commonsensical attitude towards life.

Prescription 30. Don’t wait till your last moments. From today on, startdoing what you really dream about and giving your life more meaning. Askyourself how you would like to be remembered.

At the end of their life, people make an overview of their prior-ities and typically only then do they start focusing on what theytruly want. Usually they want a peaceful mind, simple and joyful life pleasures, being at peace with God, having time for friends, a loving family, and good health, all of which most often ties up with giving to others (Colbert, 2011, pp. 56–57). Also, at this stage people come to realise what they don’t want: abuse and aggression, losing the purpose of their life, too much responsibility, living in a quarrelsome atmosphere, a life devoid of spirituality, a very tight schedule, fatigue, loss of interest in life, and not having any ambitions (Colbert, 2011, p. 57).

Document Outline

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

THE FIRST READERSAND THEIR REVIEWS OF THE BOOK

ABOUT ME, AND NOT ONLY, IN A NUTSHELL

How to work with this book?

FIXED NOTIONS AND IDEAS AS BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS OR WEEDS INSIDE OUR MINDS.THE GREATEST LAWS OF ATTRACTION

COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS – SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T MAKE US HAPPY

ANGER AND FEAR AS BASIC AND MOST COMMONLY EXPERIENCED HUMAN EMOTIONS

HOW OUR MOOD AFFECTS OUR SPIRITUALITY, HEALTH AND DISPOSITION

WE REAP WHAT WE SOW IN OUR MINDS,

OR HOW EMOTIONS INFLUENCE OUR HEALTH

EMOTIONS AND LIFE EXPERIENCES –HOW THEY AFFECT OUR BODY

DEFENCE MECHANISMS AS LIFELINES IN VARIOUS LIFE SITUATIONS

WHERE I AM GOING, OR DISCOVERINGAND NAMING YOUR LIFE MISSION

HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE MEANINGFUL, OR ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE

MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE BY TAKING ACTION

MY JOB AND MY MONEY, OR HOW TO BE SATISFIED WITH YOUR JOB AND NOT TO TREAT IT ONLY AS A SOURCE OF INCOME

COMMUNICATION WITH OTHERS AS A PATHTO HEALING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

A WOMAN AND A MAN, OR HOW TO BE TOGETHER AND LIVE TOGETHER

THE GREAT POWER OF LOVE.HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS MORE

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER? WHY SHOULD WE DEMAND A LOT FROM OURSELVES?

COMPASSION AND GRATITUDE AS WAYS OF SOLVING OUR EMOTIONAL AND LIFE PROBLEMS

FORGIVING OTHERS AS A REMEDY FOR OUR EXTERNAL CONFLICTS; FORGIVING YOURSELFAS A REMEDY FOR ANGER TOWARDS YOURSELF

HOW TO NURTURE OUR HOPE, PATIENCE AND COURAGE? HOW NOT TO BE OBSESSIVELY JEALOUS?

BEING IN YOUR OWN COMPANY OR BEING SINGLE AS A CHANCE TO IMPROVE YOURSELF AND GET TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER

DIFFICULT LIFE SITUATIONS AS POINTERS TO CHANGES WE SHOULD MAKE IN OURSELVES AND IN OUR LIFE. LIFE CRISES AS A CHANCE FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN OUR LIFE

RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS A NEW, HIGHER DIMENSION IN LIFE. ENJOYING YOUR LIFE WITH GOD

PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS, OR HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHILD GROW LIKE A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH. HOW TO HEAL YOUR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT

EATING HABITS THAT AFFECT OUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. BIBLE-BASED ADVICE ON HEALTHY EATING. THE DIETS OF THE WORLD’S LONGEST-LIVING PEOPLE

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – SOMETHING THAT MAKES OUR LIFE BETTER. EVERYDAY EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR SPINE

SLEEP, A VITAL PART OF OUR LIFE

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR FREE TIME, OR ON FUN, CELEBRATING THE MOMENT AND DEVELOPING YOUR CREATIVITY

TIME MANAGEMENT, OR HOW TO STOP BEING A SLAVE OF YOUR TIME

STRESS AND STRESS MANAGEMENT AS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF TODAY

MEDITATION AND PEACE, OR ON BEING WITH YOURSELF IN PEACE AND QUIET

PROPER BREATHING FOR A FULL LIFE

CONTACT WITH NATURE AS A SOOTHING EXPERIENCE AND A SOURCE OF JOY FOR OUR BODIES, EMOTIONS AND MIND

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR EVERY DAY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

169.pdf

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

THE FIRST READERSAND THEIR REVIEWS OF THE BOOK

ABOUT ME, AND NOT ONLY, IN A NUTSHELL

How to work with this book?

FIXED NOTIONS AND IDEAS AS BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS OR WEEDS INSIDE OUR MINDS.THE GREATEST LAWS OF ATTRACTION

COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS – SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T MAKE US HAPPY

ANGER AND FEAR AS BASIC AND MOST COMMONLY EXPERIENCED HUMAN EMOTIONS

HOW OUR MOOD AFFECTS OUR SPIRITUALITY, HEALTH AND DISPOSITION

WE REAP WHAT WE SOW IN OUR MINDS,

OR HOW EMOTIONS INFLUENCE OUR HEALTH

EMOTIONS AND LIFE EXPERIENCES –HOW THEY AFFECT OUR BODY

DEFENCE MECHANISMS AS LIFELINES IN VARIOUS LIFE SITUATIONS

WHERE I AM GOING, OR DISCOVERINGAND NAMING YOUR LIFE MISSION

HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE MEANINGFUL, OR ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE

MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE BY TAKING ACTION

MY JOB AND MY MONEY, OR HOW TO BE SATISFIED WITH YOUR JOB AND NOT TO TREAT IT ONLY AS A SOURCE OF INCOME

COMMUNICATION WITH OTHERS AS A PATHTO HEALING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

A WOMAN AND A MAN, OR HOW TO BE TOGETHER AND LIVE TOGETHER

THE GREAT POWER OF LOVE.HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS MORE

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER? WHY SHOULD WE DEMAND A LOT FROM OURSELVES?

COMPASSION AND GRATITUDE AS WAYS OF SOLVING OUR EMOTIONAL AND LIFE PROBLEMS

FORGIVING OTHERS AS A REMEDY FOR OUR EXTERNAL CONFLICTS; FORGIVING YOURSELFAS A REMEDY FOR ANGER TOWARDS YOURSELF

HOW TO NURTURE OUR HOPE, PATIENCE AND COURAGE? HOW NOT TO BE OBSESSIVELY JEALOUS?

BEING IN YOUR OWN COMPANY OR BEING SINGLE AS A CHANCE TO IMPROVE YOURSELF AND GET TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER

DIFFICULT LIFE SITUATIONS AS POINTERS TO CHANGES WE SHOULD MAKE IN OURSELVES AND IN OUR LIFE. LIFE CRISES AS A CHANCE FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN OUR LIFE

RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS A NEW, HIGHER DIMENSION IN LIFE. ENJOYING YOUR LIFE WITH GOD

PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS, OR HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHILD GROW LIKE A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH. HOW TO HEAL YOUR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT

EATING HABITS THAT AFFECT OUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. BIBLE-BASED ADVICE ON HEALTHY EATING. THE DIETS OF THE WORLD’S LONGEST-LIVING PEOPLE

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – SOMETHING THAT MAKES OUR LIFE BETTER. EVERYDAY EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR SPINE

SLEEP, A VITAL PART OF OUR LIFE

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR FREE TIME, OR ON FUN, CELEBRATING THE MOMENT AND DEVELOPING YOUR CREATIVITY

TIME MANAGEMENT, OR HOW TO STOP BEING A SLAVE OF YOUR TIME

STRESS AND STRESS MANAGEMENT AS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF TODAY

MEDITATION AND PEACE, OR ON BEING WITH YOURSELF IN PEACE AND QUIET

PROPER BREATHING FOR A FULL LIFE

CONTACT WITH NATURE AS A SOOTHING EXPERIENCE AND A SOURCE OF JOY FOR OUR BODIES, EMOTIONS AND MIND

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR EVERY DAY

BIBLIOGRAPHY