Why aren’t we teaching these skills?

We live in a physical environment that is in constant motion, and as a result, life is impermanent, uncertain, and volatile. Our life experiences are filled with trials and tribulations, as nothing ever remains the same. Sometimes life feels calm, stable, and joyous, and other times it can be a rocky ride. And despite the turbulent nature of the physical environment, we keep seeking permanence, certainty, and happiness from this very environment, causing us immense stress, anxiety, and pain.

We all want to live happy and fulfilling lives. Yet, many get stuck, unable to move forward and live joyously. Living life with fullness and resilience is an art. It requires us to experience a gamut of emotions without getting swept away into a pit of fear and anxiety. This ability comes from developing exceptional mental health and well-being and having a wonderfully balanced mind and emotions.

To live joyously and with resilience means first to accept the dichotomy of the world—only then can we change our experiences with it. Our experiences fluctuate between pain and pleasure, light and darkness, health and sickness, birth and death. Life encompasses an amazing diversity of experiences that are neither good nor bad but simply represent a journey that propels our human evolution and spiritual growth. Overcoming our challenges gives life meaning, as our obstacles become opportunities for growth. Challenges bridge the gap between success and failure, mediocrity and excellence, shallowness and depth. Once we accept this great truth, we can approach life with a fresh, broader perspective, learning to maneuver our life circumstances with skill.

Our physical world represents a stormy ocean. We are ships on these choppy waters, trying to seek calm. To anchor and stabilize, the ship must return to the harbor, to our inner selves, and to the only place where we have the power to impact outer circumstances. We live simultaneously in two worlds – the outer world of people, material objects, and events and the inner world of thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Whatever happens in the outer world, we react to it in our inner world. Our brain does not know the difference between something happening in the outer and the inner world; the experience is the same. Your brain can turn on the stress response by thought alone.

If your mind is not in order, if it is not a healthy place to live, nothing you do or achieve will ever make you happy nor give you fulfillment. Human beings mainly operate from a very superficial layer of consciousness where the conceptual mind, driven by the ego and the senses, determines how you think, feel and act. This energy sphere is fraught with restlessness and chaos, as it remains focused on the outer world, which is impermanent, uncertain, and volatile.

When we are willing to go on a journey within, we come into our power. We can learn to regulate our minds and emotions, become less emotionally reactive, and develop a solutions mindset. Every problem has a solution; we simply have to build the mental muscle to create the right attitudes and behaviors that support our ability to navigate challenges and uncertainty with skill.

These are essential life skills, and without them, most remain stuck in their lives, in repetitive thought, emotional and behavioral patterns that do not serve their well-being. For example, self-awareness is a skill that enables us to recognize those thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that no longer serve us. Mindfulness practices help create new mindsets and behaviors that align with a vision of a more wholesome life experience. These skills and practices significantly enhance mental-emotional-social well-being, empowering us to navigate daily challenges, work productively, build meaningful relationships, contribute to our communities and achieve our full potential.

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