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Most People Have Great Potential. But Very Few of Them Unleash It

Most People Have Great Potential. But Very Few of Them Unleash It

Has any authority figure ever come up to you and told you that you have the potential for so much more, but are not reaching for it? Or have you yourself ever felt that despite achieving all that you have, there’s a lot in you that needs to be explored and reached for, but you are pulling yourself back somehow? The first step to self-actualization is often realizing this. Once you have done so, the actual journey can begin.

Why Do We Need Self Actualization?

Self-actualization is a theory created by Abraham Maslow that “represents growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs; those for meaning in life, in particular.” [1].

Basically, think of who or what you are today and what you could be, ideally, down the road that leads you to search for the truth in yourself, for the true potential in yourself and for the all the good and altruistic tendencies in you. A person who has achieved self-actualization knows all of life’s meaning and purpose – be it basic needs or a higher calling.

According to Maslow, self-actualization is a step-by-step process: first you satisfy your basic needs (things like money, shelter, food), then comes the need to satisfy the social desires (love, friends, family) and then comes the most difficult step: to be as self-confident a person, as mentally and internally strong, as you can be, no matter the challenges or circumstances. So the need for self-actualization is simple – to be the best that we can be.

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    Essential Skills Needed To Reach Self-Actualization

    Perhaps the first step to self-actualization is the fact that you are not yet your ideal self, but that’s okay. You first need to learn to accept who you truly are, however lacking you may be in certain aspects. [2]. The second thing to realize is the path to self-actualization is perhaps a winding, interesting but never-ending road – there’s always more to learn, even if it’s about your own, true self.

    So here go the essential skills you need, and the steps you need to take to reach self-actualization, as guided by Maslow [3]:

    Skill 1: Accept Yourself Holistically, And Just Be You

    You are unique, be it in your achievements, talents or even fallacies. There isn’t anyone like you – and the mistakes you made, they are nothing but milestones in your way to success.

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    Be who you truly are and want to be. Cloaking your true nature in a bid to please others will work only so much, and for so long. Ultimately, the ones around you need to see and accept the real you but before that you have to see and accept the real you, yourself. [4] Don’t be or say or do what others want you to, think about what is right and wrong – and always follow the path that seems right to you. The key thing to do here is to remember that it has to be selfless, ego free and on the path of righteousness.

    Remember not to compare yourself to anyone – no matter how much better, more successful or simply “more” someone else is. You are you, and you are your best canvas. Remember that you write your own destiny, and that you are the one in control of who you want to be. Tell yourself that, in front of the mirror if you need to.

    Skill 2: Be Honest, Brutally, With Yourself And Gently With Others

    The decisions you make in life need to come from an honest and truthful place – be true to yourself always. Not to say that being dishonest with others is a good thing, but if you start lying to yourself, there’s no end to the vicious cycle you’ll end up trapping yourself in. What you do, why you did it and what you will do next all needs to come from a place of stark honesty and nothing else. [5]

    Maintain a diary of your actions and their explanations. Many of us often tell little white lies about our lives to others. The reason mostly being that we are dissatisfied with ourselves, or ashamed of something we feel we lack, and so we often cover-up and hedge and pretend to be something we are not. Problem is that when we lie to others, we end up believing it ourselves and then the line between truth and honesty tends to get blurred. The path to self-actualization is paved with bricks of truth, always.

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    Skill 3: Think Of Challenges As Obstacles, Not Insurmountable Walls

    Sooner or later you will face resistance in your solitary walk to self-actualization. People may not like that you have changed, they may not like that you are choosing to pull away from them or the life you were leading earlier – and they will try to pull you back. Still others will brand you as stubborn, or principled, or too idealistic or just plain wacko.

    You have to let these things slide off of you. You have to rise above it all and not be bothered by it. Do not change your way in case challenges are thrown your way, do not shift to the path of least resistance to “smooth” things over. No one said that this road was going to be easy, but the results and the journey in itself will make you the happiest you can ever be. [6]

    Skill 4: Live In the Moment, And Be Grateful For All That You Are

    People on the path of self-actualization have truly understood that their time on this planet is finite, as is everybody’s. And this finiteness is also very dubious: you never know what the next moment will bring, or when you’d suddenly meet your Maker. Living in each and every moment is one way to ensure that when it is your time to go, you go with nary regret. [7]

    Remember to be grateful for all the little things in life – the sun on your face, the fragrance of rain-wet earth, the loved ones in your life, all the good things that happened to you and all the bad things too (for they made you learn and rise up to the occasion) and of course, for just being you.

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    Skill 5: Never Stop Questioning or Learning, Ever

    The meaning of life, for people who have reached self-actualization or are well on their way to it, is a never ending quest. This quest is not materialistic or even ambitious in its nature, rather, it is simply a thirst for knowledge, for self-development and for being better than who you were a day, hour or even minute ago. [8]

    People who want to reach self-actualization have already accepted the best and the worst about themselves. Now they are on road to better themselves, to help someone along the way if they can, and to make a positive change in the world if they so can. They know, understand and accept that there is no such thing as perfection and that life, despite all the challenges and hardships, is a beautiful gift meant to be enjoyed to the fullest in the literal sense of knowledge too.

    The Pitfalls That You Need To Avoid On The Path To Self-Actualization

    People on the path to self-actualization have learnt to take failure in their stride, accept and even delight in their imperfections and have a control over their emotions. [9] Here’s what not to do:

    • Stop mulling on your failures or “deficiencies”: No one is perfect, accept that and accept yourself.
    • Stop “not knowing”: Ignorance is as big a sin – learn about yourself, the world and keep the quest on.
    • Nip that self-pity: So you didn’t achieve a goal or two or ten – shake it off and start striving again. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get you anywhere.
    • Kill your ego: Your ego and your high opinion of yourself will get you nowhere if you want to be on the path to self-actualization. Kill your ego and be as selfless as possible.
    • Do not be too materialistic: No, we are not asking you to give up your worldly possessions or pursuits. But don’t make them your sole goal, there has to be a higher calling than that sometimes.

    All in all, if you stay true to yourself and your beliefs, try to be as good and morally upright a person that you can be and keep on the quest to be a better person – you are on a good road to self-actualization, and will soon reach your goals. Remember that is not the end, just a great new beginning!

    Reference

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    Published on November 28, 2018

    How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

    How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

    The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

    So how to do meditation?

    The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

    Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

    From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

    You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

    1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

    Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

    The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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    The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

    Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

    2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

    Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

    Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

    Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

    • Living things, such as plants
    • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
    • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
    • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
    • Furniture away from walls
    • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
    • Incense or something else that smells good
    • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

    Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

    3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

    In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

    However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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    In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

    Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

    Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

    4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

    Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

    Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

    Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

    5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

    At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

    Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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    We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

    This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

    6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

    As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

    Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

    If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

    If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

    7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

    What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

    Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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    1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
    2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
    3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
    4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
    5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

    As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

    Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

    You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

    Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

    You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

    Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

    You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

    You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

    As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

    Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
    [2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
    [3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
    [4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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