One of your life goals should be: Being who you are meant to be, not who you want to become. Why? Because being who you are meant to be holds the key to happiness and contentment, which is what living is all about. To achieve this goal, you need the help of your mind.
Your mind is powerful in that it controls how you think, what you do, and what you may become. Descartes, the great French philosopher, once said: "I think, therefore I am." You think, and your thoughts may ultimately turn you into the person you have become. Therefore, thinking can be dangerous; it may lead you astray through the wrong thinking process.
Your thoughts mostly come from your life experiences -- what you are exposed to. Your culture and your upbringing may tell you that you must have dreams and aspirations, and that you must go after a role model in order to succeed in life. These thoughts may involuntarily inflate your ego-self, transforming you into someone else you want to become. But that may not be your true self that you are meant to be.
The danger of an ego-self is that once it is inflated, you might want to protect it at all costs; doing extra work, more than what is necessary, even to the extent of breaking the law -- a case in point is the disgraced cyclist Armstrong, who used performance-enhancing drugs to win all his races. An ego-self is the embodiment of human pride, which is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and hence the source of all human miseries. The ego-self, once it is formed, is very difficult to deflate, because it involves great courage and willpower to let it go.
But how do you know who you are meant to be? Or, more specifically, how do you avoid being who you want to become?
Mindfulness is the answer. Then, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is acute awareness of what is happening to you and around you; mindfulness is focusing on others, rather on yourself; mindfulness is living in the present, and not letting your mind being haunted by unpleasant memories in the past, or projecting your pleasant past experiences into future expectations.
To enhance your mindfulness, practice meditation, which not only quiets a compulsive mind, but also enables your mind to internalize to find out what are the ultimate truths in life. Meditation enhances your awareness and compassion.
Read my book The Book of Life and Living to get more information on ancient wisdom and contemporary wisdom to be your true self.
Copyright © by Stephen Lau