Learning How To Practice The Art of Living

Do You Practice The Art of Living? —

Lawyers practice law.  Doctors practice medicine.  They never claim to be perfect.  Learn to do the same.  Learn to practice living.  What does the art of living mean? Can I learn how to do it?

Practicing involves the pursuit of or the learning of a profession or skill set.  Some use the term practicing concerning following the dictates of a religion.  To be artful is to do something in a clever, unique, and efficient way.

We want to look at the subject of living in a way that produces joy and fulfillment.  Do you live life in this way?  Would you like to learn how to do it if you don’t?

What Does Art of Living Mean?

Before NPR used the term, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talked and wrote about the subject.  Living in a way that makes our life an artful expression  It’s something we can do when we are centered and grounded.

When we come into the world, we are grounded by our healthy emotional attachments to our family or caregivers.  All we know is love.

We have no beliefs about reality other than when we need something; those who love and care for us are there to provide for our needs.  Our initial job is to learn about our bodies and the experiential input of the senses.  It is our original state, free from any cultural programming.

“Being is the ultimate reality of all that was, is, or will be. It is eternal, unbounded, the basis of all the phenomenal existence of the cosmic life. It is the source of all time, space, and causation. It is the be-all and end-all of existence, the pervading eternal field of the almighty creative intelligence.” — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Science of Being and Art of Living

The Problem

We don’t last long in this world before we are subject to various kinds of programming, which affect our thinking, our preferences, and values.  Some of the things we learn are necessary, such as not touching a hot stove, but we can also pick up a lot of things that distort our thinking, like unhealthy biases and prejudices.

The sources of harmful programming are all around us.  Religion and commercialism are the two most significant contributors.  They are almost impossible to avoid, so one must learn to minimize their harmful influences.

Returning to Our Original State

what does art of living mean

To get back to our original state of bliss, we need to unlock our spiritual gifts.  These gifts will help us forge a path of happiness.  Sounds great, doesn’t it.  Maharishi spent his whole life promoting this path of life.  He understood that material things have their place in life, but they don’t bring joy.

“I’ve often said that I wished people could realize all their dreams of wealth and fame so they could see that it’s not where you’ll find your sense of completion.” — Jim Carrey

Maharishi provided instruction on how to achieve this state of bliss.  In his book, he detailed this process, the art of living, and the science of being.  The science of being is what makes “living” an art form.

We respect doctors and lawyers in their professions.  We admire many career fields because of their missions.  Scientists in all disciplines, practice, and research.  Musicians improve by practicing and rehearsing.  Everyone understands mistakes are bound to happen, and correcting errors is one way we learn to be better.

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which.” — Franasois-Rena de Chateaubriand

Our culture allows them to “practice” the execution of the decisions and skills throughout their careers, understanding that practitioners make errors and there is always room for improvement.  Science embraces the idea that innovations build upon previous successes and failures.  The happy accident is often the catalyst for discoveries.

How to Practice the Art of Living

Let’s break down the artful practicing of living into three steps.

1) Identify and Remove Harmful Programming
2) Discover The Virtues of Your Spirit
3) Practice and Create A Unique Spiritual Path

So, let’s get started!

1) Identify and Remove Harmful Programming

First, we need to identify and repair unhealthy cultural programming and negative self-talk.

One common roadblock that keeps us from living in the spirit is unhealthy programming.  Unhealthy self-talk is destructive.  It affects our thinking and everyone in our circle of influence.

The primary sources of unhealthy programming are religion and politics.  It is important to note that not all religions are harmful.  There are some which promote freethinking and inclusion.

Unfortunately, almost half of the world’s cultural narrative is controlled by those who promote prejudice and bias.  The world’s three most popular religions promote discrimination while justifying violence, including genocide.

You ask, what are these religions?  They are the Semitic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (2).  They assimilated the ancient mystery religions of the Mediterranean and renamed them, claiming them as their own creations.

If you were subject to indoctrination as a child, what you believe is not your fault.  However, now that you are an adult, it is your responsibility to fix your programming.

What does it mean to practice the art of living the Abrahamic paradigm?  It translates to varying degrees of submission.  In some sects, like Hesdic Judaism, almost every daily activity is to be done in a prescribed manner or ritual.  There is zero room for freethinking.  In others, it means supporting the organization financially or taking part in acts of violence.

2) Discover The Virtues of Your Spirit

We must learn how to access the virtues of the spirit.  Yes, you have them; they are spiritual gifts in our DNA.  These precious gifts come to us via the line of our ancestors.

The realization that there is more to life than working and earning money.  Maharishi’s book The Science of Being and the Art of Living (1) outlines how we can make life an artful journey.  He proposes this journey starts with proper meditation.  Japa, or what he calls Transcendental Meditation, is the process to establish the grounding of pure consciousness.

He is not the only sage from the East who advocates meditation as a tool to help us get in touch with ourselves, our gifts, and the virtues of the spirit.

“Meditation is the art of living with yourself. It is nothing else than that, simply that: the art of being joyously alone. A meditator can sit joyously alone for months, for years. He does not hanker for the other, because his own inner ecstasy is so much, is so overpowering, that who bothers about the other?” — Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)

Being grounded is the key.  Once we gain access to the thread of pure consciousness, we open up the “virtues of the spirit.” Opening these gifts allows the Universe to speak through our intuition.  Being is the essence of life.  Being finds itself in multiple expressions of life on our planet.

To practice the art of living, you must first be grounded.  One of the best ways is to practice a form of mediation that allows you to enter the 4th state of pure consciousness.  Japa Meditation or Transcendental Meditation (TM) is the most direct way.

Once you are grounded, the next steps in this awakening process come naturally.  The virtues of the spirit are the keys to revealing other spiritual gifts.  Opening these gifts will help you create your path.  When we develop our “own” way, our lives become a work of art.  It will lead us to the beauty and peace that nourishes our souls.

3) Practice and Create A Unique Spiritual Path

The third step is the easiest; we practice a lot.  Try things and do good things for your body, mind, and soul—practice life in a way that has positive effects on those in your circle of influence.

Learning to practice the art of living is just as noble an undertaking as any profession.  I submit living is a more noble aim than any career.  The goal is to learn how to connect with our purpose and life mission.  Living a fulfilling is everyone’s mission.  Don’t you think this deserves as much or more respect than what we “do”?  How do we learn how to do this?

Developing your path means taking charge of your physical, mental and spiritual development.  It means you are applying tools to investigate your consciousness.  We call the tools for this spiritual exploration.

“The material and the spiritual are but two parts of one universe and one truth. By over stressing one part or the other, man fails to achieve the balance necessary for harmonious development… Practice the art of living in this world without losing your inner peace of mind. Follow the path of balance to reach the inner wondrous garden of Self-Realization.” — Paramahansa Yogananda

The real you isn’t your body; it is the observer behind your awareness.  That person you speak to inside is the real you.  Because we “are consciousness,” we have no physical limits such as space and time.

Some people are content to live life in the default partitions of normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming.  But others want to explore the depths of consciousness.  We hold the keys to the spiritual gifts and other partitions of consciousness if we choose to use them.

“Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One with Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” — Eckhart Tolle

Being “one” with life is like surfing.  You learn to keep your balance in shallow water.  Then you graduate to rougher water.  Eventually, you go out to catch a wave and see if you can balance as you ride the wave.

In Conclusion

What does the art of living mean to you now?  Are you prepared to identify and remove the harmful programming that affects your thinking and values?  Do you want to open the virtues of the spirit and enable them in your life?  Living life artfully is the way to get the most of this opportunity.

You owe it to yourselves to start practicing life in a way that brings joy and fulfillment.  We highly recommend you take advantage of this marvelous opportunity to experience life in beautiful and affirming ways.

References

(1) The Science of Being and the Art of Living (2001), by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi#Science_of_Being_and_Art_of_Living

(2) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions

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