Lifestyle and Livelihood

Our Lifestyle has changed over a period of time. Drastic changes have taken place with globalisation and technology upgradation. Technology is good, but it depends on how we use it. The lifestyle changes which have affected our health must be addressed. We must live a life of moderation, self-discipline and spirituality. We must use the technology in an optimum manner, to the right extent. We must utilize the technology for our benefit, and not let the technology exploit us.

People’s standard of living has been elevated during the past decades. Technology has given us so many comforts and opportunities. For example, we have electricity now in the rural areas too. Fifty years back, there was no electricity in many villages. We have so many gadgets coming up which utilise electricity. Mobiles and internet have revolutionised communications. Two decades back, mobile wasn’t available to a common man. Since a decade, almost everyone has it. And maybe in last 4-5 years or so, many have smart phones. Previously, even simple mobiles were not affordable by all. This immense change in just a short span. Everybody is empowered in terms of communications. With rise in social media, TV channels and other OTT platforms, everything is increasingly available to every person. We have more facilities, money and better connectivity.

This advancement in lifestyle must show up in two things. One is, you must be definitely happier than what you were, if you have really progressed. If not, there is something wrong. You are then not utilizing the development in the right direction. If your happiness is not as much as before, that means what you have acquired has caused more problem. Thus, you must use the development and technology in a manner that you are happier than you were in the past.

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The advancement in lifestyle must also be apparent in the time that you have for yourself than you had previously. With more gadgets, work must be effortless and quicker. For example, the time and effort spent in manual grinding has drastically come down with the advent of a mixer. With a modern appliance, time is significantly saved. Even with transportation, time is greatly spared. You don’t have to walk farther distances. Multiple modes of transport are available within the reach of almost everyone. If you don’t have more time for yourself to do what you want and if you are not happier than before, then there is some issue with your lifestyle.

Lord Buddha’s teaching on the noble eight-fold path, the path towards overcoming dukkha, includes lifestyle and livelihood as one of the important objects. You must look at lifestyle in relation to your own health and happiness and also with regards to moderation, self-discipline and spirituality. You must progress in a holistic manner. Your livelihood should not be causing pain to others. Your trade should not be at the cost of somebody’s loss. Your job should not be such that you create products that cause health problems to others. Instead your livelihood should enrich humanity as a whole and not cause agony. Therefore, dealing with weapons that go into wrong hands; trading drugs, which affect the health of many young people; manufacturing products which involve tobacco, etc., can have serious consequences. If you are involved in such kind of livelihood, you must change it. Also, you have to live a life of moderation, not excessiveness.

Balancing Life

You must balance life. All kinds of excessiveness, including addictions and things which cause you loss of health must be avoided. Excessiveness will lead you into trouble. For example, greed can pull you down one day. Investing all your resources in one place out of greed is risky. Anyone who is greedy, may land in serious trouble one day. The sooner the better, as he can recover from the loss. With delay, recovery becomes difficult. Like, people put all their money and even borrowed resources into real estate properties that have some drawback or in certain speculative stocks and later are in trouble. You must balance your investments. Greed is one of the very serious issues. Similarly, stinginess is not good.

Balance light, love and power aspects in your life. That’s the right lifestyle. Power without love manifests as cruelty. Having power, but lacking intelligence, results in wastage of resources. Love with no intelligence or power leads to chaos. You must balance love and compassion with severity. All three aspects are required. Any excessiveness of one aspect causes problem.

You must have self-discipline. You must propel yourself to do what is right. Do time management. Use your time properly to sustain and maintain good health. You must have a moderate lifestyle and move towards nature. Everyone, whether an individual, a family, a nation or the entire world, must value one’s own origin, the Earth and the nature. Mother may bend rules sometimes in certain special circumstance for her children. But Mother Nature does not bend any rules. It is better for humanity to realise this and mend its ways by respecting ecological limits, containing pollution of the living Earth, conserving natural resources and in general focusing on human well-being. Otherwise, we will be forced to learn the lessons the hard way.

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Balance your life with spirituality. There is a purpose for humanity to be a channel for the Divine. Therefore, in your life you must have a spiritual direction also. You must have somebody to give you feedback. You must validate and work on the feedback. The feedback system will help balance life, practice moderation and to progress. You must have a routine which involves practice of all these aspects. Various ways of balancing the different aspects in life:
  • Take balanced diet.
  • Practice regular and proper physical exercises.
  • Do breathing exercises to strengthen the body and also balance emotions.
  • Develop mental clarity; practice inner reflection to check and work on yourself; work on the causes in each situation.
  • Identify your karmic obligations and fulfil them. You also have obligation to mother Earth. You must do service. You must have proper plan and targets.
  • Ensure time management to meet all the responsibilities. Look into what can be done and how to utilise your time. Work on what is important and what is urgent. Move forward in a systematic manner. You have to validate and use your time properly.
  • Align with right people and right group to progress spiritually.
  • Do intelligent evaluation. You must study and validate important things. You must know what to study. There are so many books and so much literature available.
  • Create a conducive environment at home for children. They have certain good and certain not so good habits and qualities. You must strengthen what is good and weed out what is not so good in them. You must create a fault-free environment and lead them by example.
  • You must not work under pressure all the time. You may come under some pressure to get into self-discipline, but eventually you must make life rhythmic. Moderation means rhythmic.
  • Constantly adjust and make changes according to feedback. You must reflect into yourself for personal feedback. What is happening within, where are you heading, what do you want, how is your health, etc. You must take remedial measures to get back to track and sustain on track. Sustaining is important. It requires regular sadhana and practice. Sadhana must become part of your life. That is lifestyle.
  • You must maintain good health. Your health must improve, on a day to day basis. Your life must be better than last year.
  • Anything gone out of your control or affected, must be restored back. Relationships must be restored back and sustained. It requires effort.
  • You must be happier than how you were and you should have more time for yourself to progress the way you want to, using the technological developments and resources. You must be the master of using your resources.
  • Have right kind of a livelihood and lifestyle. How are you earning? Is it in a right manner? Is your lifestyle good for sustaining good health and happiness?
  • Bottom line is live a life of moderation, self-discipline and spirituality. You may validate these and reflect into yourself. Make a sustained effort to move in right direction.
You may try our YPV Sadhana app which is available in many languages for free. It has guided techniques for breathing exercises to improve health and calm down emotionally. There is a guided track on the practice of forgiveness which helps improve inter-personal relationships. There is a guided loving kindness meditation, known as, Planetary Peace Meditation which channelizes blessings to the entire Mother Earth. Practicing this meditation is a great world service, especially when done in a group.

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