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The Western Buddhist - 5 Signs You are REALLY On Your Path In Life
1 - You Are Happy For The Success of Anyone Who Betrayed You and You Have Empathy For Them
Let's confront one of the most difficult aspects of our existence; forgiveness for the past. Many people fall off their path because they stay entwined in their anger for a past event leading to a betrayal. They live in that space daily and nightly. It haunts them on their drive home from work, when a song comes on or they hear certain news that takes them back.
The challenge with forgiveness is that very often it is not somebody else you must forgive, but it is yourself for allowing the events to unfold in the first place. Whoever you were at the time of these events was simply somebody unenlightened and uninformed and you were in a weaker frame.
If you were betrayed, you were a person who was 'betrayable'. You saw the signs and you chose to ignore them because you didn't want to upset the delicate balance of your life. You were trying to control the uncontrollable by being an ineffective person, whoever that was.
One massive sign you are on your path in life is when you actually wish that person or those people well in their journey. You know that your life is much better without them in it. But you also remember the good times when they were around. It takes time and concentration.
The lessons you learned brought you enlightenment. Betrayal brings enlightenment and forces us into action. You can see how the tragic events has brought out the best in you and has you pursuing opportunities in life that you never knew possible.
Many people who feel betrayed often stay in that place and life never moves on for them. They stay in debt, remain at home, never traveled, blaming others and living negatively and physically unhealthy.
A person on their path would thank those who hurt them genuinely for all that they have brought into their life, whether it be the ultimate partner, deep, unbreakable core values, a thirst for adventure, unshakable confidence, career opportunities, that one, ultimate business idea and that dream body.
It's not as though you are saying, "Ok, I can let this go now." and having it haunt you every now and then. But you really feel gratitude and forgiveness for everything and you are happy for all of their success.
If you are not quite at this point, but you feel close, well you are definitely ALMOST on your path, which is a definite sign of improvement.
One foot at a time
2 - People Compliment You or Admire You On Your Physical Appearance
The western world is full of overweight, slack-skinned, big-jowled people. Certainly if they are not massively overweight, they are just sitting around with the extra pounds complaining that, 'no matter what they do, they just can't lose weight."
You know the type. Not fat and not skinny. Just letting themselves go.
I find it amazing how few people I see in the library AND how few people I see at the gym. I see the same people at the gym all the time and they are dedicated to a healthy body that gives them better opportunities in life.
Those who let themselves go generally feel more lethargic, can't wait to get home from work and lounge around watching the television with some pasta and an alcoholic beverage. There are higher rates of depression, self-loathing, negative thinking and negative actions that cause them even more suffering.
However, you will understand that you are on your path when you are complimented for your increased fitness, or when you notice eyes on you, looking up and down. You are an attractive person. Attractive people naturally are given more immediate respect in the eyes of others.
Surely you have heard of the three second rule. People make an immediate judgement about you within three seconds of seeing you and the only way to surpass this into a positive judgement if you are unhealthy looking, is to have some very strong social competence that makes them laugh and feel great.
You will always have energy when you need it when you choose to pursue health and fitness. Ask ANYONE who has started AND continued with their fitness goals through the first, second and third year. They are not afraid of new things, new adventures, new clothes OR the mirror.
And losing the fear of self, and the fear of self reflection is a path to being happy in life. When you are happy constantly, because you don't feel sluggish, tired, low, bored, apathetic or even afraid of how you may sweat, strain and feel physical pain, you will want to challenge yourself in many other areas too.
And THIS leads to unlimited potential for your life.
Feel On Your Path As You Train
Before and Afters of Healthy Living
3 - You Are Earning More Money Than You Are Spending
When you are finally spending less than you make, you are on your path. You have finally learned to temper your wants and desires. You have learned the value of money. You have learned not to just give it away to a significant other who is lazy, crazy and nasty. You aren't paying for their life because they believe you should. You are probably dating somebody who respects your finances and your limits. You never feel uncomfortable that you cannot pay your bills as you know there is always money in the account to pay for anything you didn't expect.
The three areas for a human to master are:
There are only two in that list that you can control and one of them is your wealth.
The building of your financial empire will always bring you suffering. Our greatest pain often revolves around finances. Most of us have not worked out how to control our wants. We want the unobtainable all too often, whether it be the flash new car, the million dollar property, the 6 star vacation and it is always out of reach.
The amount of money you have at your disposable is NOT a true sign of success, because too many wealthy people inhereted it or earned it by dishonest means.
There are smarter, stronger, more deserving people than those who currently have great wealth. You may have even said to yourself, "If I had that much money I would feed every third world child for life." You believe that you would do much more with that money than them. But perhaps you would fall into the same trap.
Until you are faced with those choices, you will never know. Just ask the poor man who won the lotto, only to be dirt broke five years later with no real change in anyones life. A lack of enlightenment and being very off his path meant that he could never hold onto that wealth.
So put ultimate wealth aside. Perhaps if you have earned that million dollar property that you now live in you are well on your path, but just because you don't have it yet, does not mean you aren't on your path, just a little further back.
You will be investing wisely and delaying your gratification, knowing that your wants change all of the time. Everything is subject to change.
You are happy doing free activities. You are happy to be traveling on a two star budget, provided that you are traveling and have more money when you return than before you left.
A famous investor once made wealth creation very simple when he said that "All you need to do is, make more and spend less and you will be rich."
WOW! How many get rich quick books are there and it was summed up in just one sentence?!
To be clear, you do not need to be rich to know you are well and truly on a purposeful path in your life. You only need to be saving more and earning more than you currently spend. And the money you do spend, is making your life abundant.
Recommended Buddhist Movies For Westerners
The Peaceful Warrior
Seven Years in Tibet
Get On Track
4 - You Are REALLY Enjoying Your Recreation Time
I once asked a friend what he was doing on the weekend, to which he replied, "I am working all weekend on my passive income streams." The very notion of working all weekend and passive income completely contradict each other. You have week days and week nights to build your passive income.
The weekend is your down time to reflect, enjoy, relax and prepare.
Once you are saving and earning more than you spend, you will be spending that money wisely on adventures that make you feel alive. And the options are limited only to your imagination.
When you are trying new things, removing your fears because they don't serve you, you know you are on your path because more and more adventures come to you. And when this happens, so will your creative ideas.
Your creative ideas lead to further enlightenment that will enhance your life even further.
5 - You Are Giving More Time to Deep Inner Work, Than Dealing With Surface Issues
For a long time, I believed I had become too hard emotionally. Yet I constantly proved myself wrong when I felt pain, sadness, and empathy from seeing an animal suffer or a good person experiencing tragedy. It constantly shocked me how much I would change from being a strong, unshakable guy, not putting up with emotional dramas, to being a soft, emotional guy, wanting to help relieve the suffering of another person or creature who was really feeling it.
I wondered what the issue was.
And so I stepped back and analysed the situation. It pushed me to change almost an entire circle of friends and made me back away from a certain type of person.
Up front i will say that I am not religious. I don't follow any form of bible. You don't need to read the bible or Quran or any other religious text to have good morals and values. I have divorced myself from believing that religion and being a good person are inherently connected.
But I do follow buddhist thoughts and principles and it always helps me see the middle way and not get caught up in surface issues.
When you get to a point where produced, cheesy, pop or, overly-produced rock music with the same old lyrics has no effect on your emotions, when you hear gossip and you want to keep them quiet, when the news repeats the same stories night after night so you choose to never watch it again, when you search for deeper meanings to everything around you, then you are definitely on your path.
When you get to the point when the surface excuses of others make you simply blink, become unreactive and you say, "That's your life. Live it how you want. You deal with the outcomes of the way you live it." You are on your path.
You will find that sex has less meaning, that love is an impermanent illusion that we buy into between two partners, that you know there is more to life than trying to please that one person when they are never happy anyway.
You love just being in the moment.
You can see the potential outcomes for all of your potential actions and it allows you time to consider your next move.
You are in no rush to 'get there', wherever that place is, even if it exists at all.
As people speak, you question why they are saying those things and either write them off as unenlightened, shallow, needy and narcissistic, and intuitively know when the question they are asking is not the question they REALLY want to ask you, leading to something deeper conversation, helping them overcome a fear, guilt or some other overpowering emotion they are bottling up.
You are never too extreme and you search for the middle ground that will keep everyone happy.
You have empathy for other people's suffering but tire of those who just keep repeating actions and thoughts that lead to that suffering.
All in all, you feel calm, at ease and you get much more out of every experience than you once did when you lived at the surface with everyone else.