Mindfulness and Values
Values are like our personal lighthouse guiding us towards our authentic selves. When we are lost, floating in the ocean amidst the storms of life, and we don’t know where to turn, we can come back to our values. They are a beacon of light and help us to decide how we should act moment to moment.
Living in alignment with our values requires constant mindfulness. Values are, in fact, mindfulness in action!
In addition to our personal values, there are some universal values that can serve as guides for mindful living. These values are really just a reflection of our highest wisdom and when we are in alignment with our highest wisdom, we automatically embody these values without any effort.
When our intuition, thoughts and actions are all aligned (the 3 H’s), this also helps us with our mindfulness practice because we are less likely to ruminate on thoughts and feelings such as guilt, shame, blame, and judgment. Ultimately, we are more harmonized and the monkey mind does less jumping around.
It is through mindfulness in daily life that we live our values and it is through the consistent upholding of our values, that we are able to become more mindful!
Some widely held or universal values to reflect on:
This is the awareness of our interconnectedness. This value also will guide us to speak truthfully, kindly and helpfully. It will help us to know when to speak and when to be quiet.
Love is the feeling derived from this awareness of our interconnectedness. Love here does not refer to romantic love or lust. It is a love that is unconditional and which flows automatically without any expectation of rewards. It is non-judgmental, non-possessive and accepting. In terms of relationships, this kind of love is often best fostered in respectful relationships based on the wish for good will and happiness for each other. Sex can be part of a loving relationship but is an expression of deep caring.
This is behaviour that arises from an understanding of our interconnectedness.
When we are living with wisdom, we will choose to live life with the fullest joy while doing our best to uphold a healthy, fair, and just society. This can also be a reflected in our choice of occupation, how we choose to distribute our income and wealth, and our choice in use (or non-use) of intoxicants.
This value arises within when we are aware of our interconnectedness. When we know that we are interconnected, we no longer wish to intentionally harm other living beings because we sense that harming others is the same as harming ourself.
When we are aware of our interconnectedness, the desire to give of ourself in terms of time, energy and personal resources springs up spontaneously. In addition, by sharing what we have, we are able to dissolve some of our attachment to ourself, and the sense of “I’ness is lessened along with the barriers that separate us from others. Generosity can be the sharing of material possessions, wealth, wisdom, love, or time in service.
Love + words = Truth
Love + actions = Wise living
Love + understanding = Non-Violence
Love + sharing/selflessness = Generosity
Sometimes in life we become confused or lost or we fall into the traps of ignorance, craving, aversion and ego. At these times, we don’t always embody these values so clearly but we can try to be guided by them as we know they will keep us in line with our highest wisdom when we’ve lost sight of it.