The Manifesto

                                                     Photo Credit: Bob Ramsak / piran café

·      Know thy self. Through this, know others. This is so because we share the same fundamental needs as humans.

·      At the core of these needs is a need to be treated with real consideration as a complex human being.

·      Do this for yourself first and you can begin extend the practice to others. This is compassion. (Or what we could call an expanded edition of the “Golden Rule.”)

·      If/when we take this seriously, we will fundamentally alter our lived experience. By extension, we will alter how we are in the world and those around us.

·      Our cumulative choices and decisions we make each moment of each day, taken together, form the lives we now know and the person we are.

·      However, the choices we make are not wholly our own. We can recognize that we are influenced by a myriad of outside influences, some of which operate on an unconscious level (we are not aware of them).

·      Despite outside influences and conditions, we can change our choices and decisions.

·      Apart from outside influences, we have an intrinsic knowing. An intuitive sense. We can develop our ability be in touch with this.

·      Many people want to live more fulfilling, happier lives and are unaware of how to go about doing so.

·      A fruitful starting point is with the awareness of our own feelings and internal states.

·      Our feelings and internal states are directly accessible to us. (Though some need practice in accessing them). They provide information about our values and highest needs.

·      When we know the answers to the following questions, guidelines emerge for how to live a good life (also called virtuous life, fulfilling life, meaningful life, happy life):
o   What matters? (Bring this down to the level of needs.)
o   What do I most highly value? Answer this for a)right now and b) in general
o   What kind of a world do I want to see?
o   What actions and behaviors can I do right now, that contribute to these things?

·      Living in integrity means making choices that are in alignment with your values.

·      This is not black or white (I am living in full integrity. I am not living in full integrity): We move closer to or further from living in alignment with our values with each choice we make or action we take.

·      Feelings of disconnection and discontent point us to areas of misalignment. Extend gratitude to them as they are a starting point for realigning.

·      We can use disconnection and discontent as opportunities to turn inward. We can make sense of our discontent and connect with our disconnection.

·       We then make new strategies with our increased understanding and move further into alignment. We resolve to do things differently and we take action on this resolve.

·      This is a process. You will never arrive, but can learn to enjoy the journey.

·      This is not an abstract idea. You can begin at any time with any choice, behavior, or decision no matter how “small.”

·      If it helps, remember that there are others who feel as you feel, desire meaningful and fuller lives, and struggle with how to get there. There are two times when I find this practice particularly useful:
o   When I feel alone in my efforts or when I feel misunderstood.
o   When I encounter difficult situations and need to stimulate feelings of compassion.  Do you know anyone at all who doesn’t want to be happy?