What you practice, you become

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on June 29, 2010 at 12:50 PM

What do you do, almost without fail, every day? It is well-known that who you are as a person depends, in large part, on those things that you give your time to every day. We can call those habitual activities a “practice” because they receive your focus and attention on a regular and consistent basis. Think about your daily schedule: what is your practice?

When I have questioned patients about their regular routines, I have discovered that most people are not aware that they even have a practice nor do they recognize that giving their energy to certain activities each day is shaping their identity. Sadly, I have met many individuals whose primary practice is to complain about the life they have been given, criticize other people, or dwell on angry and bitter feelings from the past. These negative activities receive a regular share of energy and time on a daily basis. No wonder these individuals feel sick and unhappy! Their practice is to be miserable all the time!

Granted, a certain amount of negativity seems to be part of our human nature. We are often controlled by powerful emotions that can toss us up or down on a whim. How do we cope with this tendency of ours toward a negative and harmful daily practice?

The answer is to create a practice for ourselves that is intentionally positive. We must focus our time and energy each day on activities that bring peace, wellbeing, harmony and joy into our lives. In this way we can counteract our weak tendency toward negativity.

To choose positive practices for yourself, think of your day in terms of how you care for your body, mind and spirit. Physical exercise, yoga, and stretching are, of course, good for the body, especially if you practice them with a willing and hopeful mindset (rather than resentment and a sense of obligation.) For your mental and emotional state: reading, writing and listening to music can provide a positive form of practice. (I like to work crossword puzzles to challenge myself mentally.) Finally, spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation and contemplation may have the greatest impact on your overall wellbeing, especially if you engage in them routinely for at least a few minutes a day.

So, take this message to heart: you can decide to become someone who is happy being alive, accepting of life’s ups and downs, and forgiving of others. All it takes is practice!

Categories: Spiritual Practice, Lifestyle, Transformation

Copyright ©2010 Karen Wyatt, MD

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