There are 7 aspects of being; the absence of any of which we cease to fully be. Strengthening these aspects relies on the three processes of observation, digestion and expression.
Observation is the process of welcoming the object of our observation into our consciousness and then deepening our awareness of it using concepts. Digestion is the process where we remove the foreignness from our experiences and transform its essence to become part of ourselves. Expression is where we share part of our own essence and identity with the rest of the world.
The strengthening exercises below are meant to be lived as part of daily life, not as separate activities. They help us remain centered (neither drawn towards materialism nor towards spirituality) within our human experience, letting us be more fully grounded and ‘real’ in our daily lives.
1) Strengthening Memory: We are what we remember, and we are the protagonist in our own life story.
- Observe: What story do we have? How are our past experiences affecting our present choices? What is the genre and focus of our story? What is the type of character that we portray ourselves as?
- Digest: As a detached observer, recall our own experiences in reversed order as if we are rewinding a tape. Go through as much detail as we can instead of just reviewing the main events. Stick to what actually happened, not what could have happened.
- Express: We usually judge people based on their past, not their future; this applies to ourselves too. We can imagine ourselves taking a leap into the future and see the different possibilities of who we can become.
2) Strengthening Souling: We exist in an unbroken web of meaningful relationships that we must honor in to live in harmony with the world.
- Observe: Explore the relationship between all things in our world (e.g. through poems and songs).
- Digest: Life is a process of exchange; we take in something and then give something out. Review how we have done our dance of life with the world.
- Express: Rituals are a way to honor our relationships with the world. Create and use rituals in this spirit.
3) Strengthening Thinking: We often get stuck in our old ways of thinking, preventing us from growing.
- Observe: Look for something new within what is familiar; find something new to learn within what is already known.
- Digest: Be open to how the impossible can be true; suspend disbelief when hearing something that goes against our own beliefs.
- Express: We can practice focusing solely on an object (e.g. a pencil) and all the knowledge that is associated with it.
4) Strengthening Feeling
- Observe: Whenever we feel something, distinguish our true feelings from acquired reactions. True feelings exist only in the present and are free of the past and future. Acquired reactions are the echoes from our past experiences and come with tinges of judgment.
- Digest: Explore opposite and alternative assumptions regarding what we guess of others’ intentions. Whenever someone triggers our feelings (no matter positively or negatively), consider the assumptions that trigger these feelings, and possible alternatives for these.
- Express: Bring out the weak feelings that we can hardly feel. Do inner work on the strong feelings so that they weaken in intensity.
5) Strengthening Choosing
- Observe: Observe our true intentions for every deed we do and every word we say. What do we intend to achieve with our activity on this world?
- Digest: Explore what other people would have chosen in our situation, and what we would have done in their situation. Enter into them (e.g. their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, personality, behaviors, worldview) and explore their choices.
- Express: Keep our promise; complete what we have committed to do. If we can’t do that, then do what it takes to make the situation whole again.
6) Strengthening Life
- Observe: What brings us closer to life and what brings us away from life? Sometimes joy is found among ordinary experiences, while weariness is found among experiences that should have made us happy.
- Digest: Whenever we experience something bad or deadening, focus on the goodness, beauty, meaning and authenticity that are latent in it.
- Express: Create opportunities, habits and systems in our life to allow us to express life (i.e. be healthier and happier) in a sustainable manner.
7) Strengthening Body
- Observe: How and what do we feel about different parts and aspects of our physical body? Pay attention to the associations.
- Digest: Experience the full range of movements and possibilities of the human body (e.g. dance, yoga).
- Express: Take responsibility in keeping our body healthy (e.g. engage in exercising, ensure that we have nutritional balance, do regular medical checkups).
We are the mirrors of the Universe
Seeing itself through our eyes
Hearing itself through our ears
Feeling itself through our heart
Knowing itself through our mind
Witnessing itself through our consciousness
Becoming itself through our selves