Intelligent living has to be learnt – just the way you learn to speak a new language, with consistent practice.
Many people ask me if there are methods to live intelligently. They want to know if there are models they can study and learn to live their lives better. And my response to them is that living means to simply, totally, live – with whatever you have, with things, people and events, just the way they are! But oftentimes people are not convinced. They prefer complex treatises to simple approaches to live. They don’t get it when they are told that Life – and living – are not at all complicated.
Even so, here are some simple, universally appealing tenets, the three ‘R’s, that anyone, including those who look for methods and models, can embrace in order to practice intelligent living.
Reflection: This is a very important quality we must all develop. As we grow through Life, our responsibilities and challenges only increase. Most of the time we are leading hectic lives in the material realm. We are all the time in the earning-a-living mode. Every once in a while, we must pause and ask ourselves if we are earning-a-living or are we living – the Life we want to live? This is what reflection can help you achieve. Reflection happens when you pause running the rat race. Any practice of meditation can help you with reflection. But a quick disclaimer is important here – reflection is a deeply personal and intense exercise. You cannot borrow a practice from someone else. You have to try many and choose what works for you.
Resilience: Most of us are afraid of what awaits us – the unknown – when we are faced with Life’s challenges. A quality we all are capable of summoning is our inner strength, our resilience. And this quality will come to the fore only through reflection. Being resilient means to know that no matter what the circumstances are, you must face Life. It means that you don’t have the choice to cop out or run away from a challenging situation. It is our lack of awareness that makes us imagine that we are not resilient. All of us are equally strong – that’s the way we are created and engineered. To let your resilience – your inner strength – surface, you need to be more aware of your true Self and that can come only through reflection.
Resourcefulness: We are so steeped in our wants that we are hardly aware of what we have. Through perpetually wanting things or people or events to be different from what they are, we are missing out on what is. When you are deeply reflective, when you are totally aware of your true Self, your inner strength will let you see every situation you are in clearly. Through this clarity, you will learn to accept what is and learn to live and work with what you have. Resourcefulness is the ability to know what you have and to be content with it, while never giving up your efforts to overcome the odds, overachieve and win!
These three ‘R’s are the baby steps to learning to live intelligently. You can adapt these three perspectives to suit your lifestyle and preferences. When you begin with reflection, you will feel different. And that feeling will egg you onward, on the spiritual path, one day at a time. Intelligent living is a necessity more than a practice. But it is an art too – that can be learnt and mastered. When you live intelligently, you learn to live in this world – with its manic demands, pressures, pulls and pace – and yet be above it!