A Christmas decoration is any of several types of decorations used at Christmas time. There are bells, icicles, snowmen, polar bears, baubles etc. But as we decorate the tree, Baba is decorating us with virtues, turning us from vicious human beings into vice less deities! Each decoration is precious and once it is imbibed, it is mine forever and unlike the decorations on the tree never has to be taken down!
Let’s take time this Christmas to check if we have some of these decorations or if we need to go get them – they are available for free!
The first lesson on the path to becoming a peacemaker is to stop being at war with myself. In meditation I can retreat into the inner sanctuary of the soul and enjoy the tranquil flow of loving thoughts passing through my being. Only when the turbulence of my own mind has subsided can I make peace with the world. When I have developed some degree of inner peace I can hear the voice of my own wisdom and know how and where to give energy for the greatest benefit.
When I learn to respect myself, other people will respect me. How can I develop respect for myself? By keeping my mind positive and encouraging myself to grow and change for the better. Demanding respect because of my position or background is simply arrogance. On the other hand, listening with humility and valuing other people’s advice naturally earns me respect. I get back exactly what I give out.
Self-Respect is often mistaken for arrogance when in reality it is the opposite. When I can recognize all my good qualities as well as my faults with neutrality, I can start to appreciate myself as I would a dear friend and experience a comfortable inner glow of Self-Respect. To embrace the journey towards my full potential I need to become my own loving teacher and coach. Spurring myself on to become a better human being I will develop true regard for myself and my life will become sacred.
The ability to enjoy one’s own company is one of the greatest gifts life has to offer. Learning to turn ny thoughts away from all my responsibilities at the day’s end and take my mind into a state of peace and benevolence enables me to carry greater and greater loads without feeling burdened. When my inner landscape is full of beautiful thoughts, everything I do is a pleasure. Gently, I calm down chaotic situations and offer solace to troubled minds.
Humility grows a little more each time I step away from my own feelings and opinions and genuinely listen to the experience of another human being. Humility is dedication to the extent that no acknowledgement is sought for the self. Only when I have learned to value myself can I be said to be truly humble.
It is common for great people to have faced ostracism and rejection, through which their greatness has emerged. Certainly, great talent needs to have the ego knocked out of it to be of real use to humanity. A wilderness experience can be humbling, immensely strengthening and the making of us. When we have no other support to turn to we are more easily able to recognize the source of true greatness and the need to reconnect with the Divine.
One of the highest forms of courage is the ability to face my own negativity without feeling guilty or bad about myself, and then take responsibility for changing it. To begin this process, I first make contact with my deepest spiritual core. Reflecting on the things I care about most gives me a glimpse of my innate goodness. Building on this, God will if I let Him, gently reveal in me a caring and compassionate nature that can even be described as divine. The courage to let go of unwanted thoughts and feelings will develop when I accept that my higher, divine self is not separate from me, but lies at the very heart of who I am.
The more positive the thoughts flowing through my mind, the more contented I will feel. It is easy to feel contented when we are praised and appreciated but to remain contented when we are bring criticized and rejected is the mark of real spiritual strength. The way to develop this level of strength is to learn about God’s way of loving. Only when I am in deep contemplation can I see God showing me the kind of love I need to express so that I myself never reject or criticize and always generate good wishes for others. Then I will feel satisfied no matter what life throws at me.
Determination is an essential quality to nurture if I am to continue on my spiritual journey. No matter how much enthusiasm I have or how clear my aim is, without determination I will give up sooner or later. In times of challenge, I take care that determination does not lead to stubbornness; then I can let go of resistance and not oppose anyone or anything with my mind. Instead, I take time for meditation, reflect on the most compassionate way to deal with the situation, and quietly wait for an approach to present itself.
There is happiness when each moment is used in a worthwhile way. Happiness is such nourishment that it can transform a person from weak into powerful. It makes difficult things easy and heavy things light. To remain happy and share happiness with others is a great act of charity. No matter what happens, my happiness should not be lost.
If I allow bitterness and resentment to fester inside, it will make my relationships guarded and unsatisfying. The more I close down to others, the more I become a stranger to myself. By letting go of sorrow and negativity, I can keep my nature open and loving. Remaining open to life, with its constant adventures and opportunities to grow is the only way to reach my full potential.
The practice of silently watching life from the vantage point of being an observer enables me more clearly to understand events and other people’s inner concerns and qualities. I become slower to judge and better able to respond openly and thoughtfully, free from any influence of the situation itself and from subtle pulls of my own or another’s personality.
No one wants to feel pitied by another; it is a demeaning experience. However, a gentle form of encouragement can enable us to believe in ourselves again and regain our optimism and courage. A person with the quality of mercy works on such a subtle level that the support given never demeans or implies weakness in the other person.
A person of wisdom and spirituality has very beautiful manners that have grown from genuine respect and love for the whole of humanity. Manners in this sense have nothing to do with culture or education; it is simply a question of humility. When we are at the receiving end of such manners, we feel that some deeper part of us has been honored. In fact, none of us deserves anything less.
As we mature spiritually there is less need to have our self-respect bolstered by praise and special attention. As our thought processes become more compassionate and less self-obsessed, we feel increasingly satisfied with ourselves and our lives. We relate to people more easily and feel no need to draw attention to our successes or complain about our problems.
One of the best ways to remain light, even in the middle of chaos and heaviness, is to keep a conversation going with God. Chatting with God, whose responsibilities are unlimited, about the trivial matters that are wearing us down gives us a more entertaining view of life. It requires a certain stillness of mind to hear His advice, but with practice we learn to sense His perspective on our minor irritations. Since His mind radiates lightness and love, the very act of opening ourselves up to Him enables us to lighten our burdens.
* From ‘A Book of Virtues’ by Dadi Janki, the late administrative head of the Brahma Kumaris