Be Your Own Best Life Coach

Be Your Own Best Life Coach                                   By Paul  Hanson

March 2nd and 3rd was a very special time for Dharma Drum Mountain, as we were honored with a program led by the Venerable Chang Ji. She was the secretary and International Affairs Special Assistant to the late Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen.  She has traveled all over the world to coach young people and continued her work in UN as the representative of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.

The afternoon of March 2 featured a Young People’s Gathering. One topic of this event was Everyday Creativity. We were taught that everyday creativity is looking for extraordinary opportunity in the ordinary. To obtain everyday creativity, sometimes you need to get a different perspective, just like if you wanted to improve your eyesight you would need to get a pair of glasses. The Ven. Chang Ji discussed with us some methods that we can use to change our lenses to give us a new perspective, and achieve this everyday creativity in our lives.

I will try to apply these principles of everyday creativity in helping others. Usually I am so busy that although I will help someone if I can see that they are obviously in need of help, I won’t go out of my way to think of ways to help others. By using everyday creativity, I hope to be better able to see ways that I can help people that I might not have noticed before.

Another subject at this meeting was our Soul Profile. Often when we think of who we are, we think of ourselves as being defined by our career, or possibly by our hobbies. But this isn’t really who we are, these are just the things that we do. A true profile of our soul can lead us to a real understanding of who we really are. Our Soul Profile consists of the deeper characteristics that give us our true identity. This includes what our life’s purpose is, what our contributions are, and what each one of us can be counted on for.

By learning about these elements of our personality, we can identify ways in which we can help improve the lives of other people with compassion and wisdom. I hope that by concentrating on my Soul Profile, I will not get sidetracked by the many distractions of the material world. I hope to be better equipped for truly improving my life and the lives of other people.

On Sunday, we learned about some issues effecting the environment. Very little of the earth’s water is suitable for drinking. Only 3% of the earth’s water is freshwater, and out of that, only 1% is usable for drinking. In the 20th century, the world’s use of water increased by six times. These facts made me realize just how precious commodity water really is. In the future, I will try to use water more conservatively. Small changes can make a big difference in the long run. So some things that I will do are turn off the water when I am brushing my teeth and washing dishes, and take shorter showers.

Many of the components that make up our electronic devices come from very troubled parts of the world. Cell phones in particular have many components made from minerals that come from the Congo region of Africa. The mines in this area are controlled by local mafia, who destroy the landscape and treat the people living there horribly in the pursuit of obtaining these minerals. These gangsters have raised private armies of child soldiers by kidnapping children from the local populace.

Although we don’t think about it, one consequence of constantly purchasing new electronics is supporting these brutal warlords in Africa. It makes me hesitant to want to go out and buy the newest phone on the market, just to be stylish. Even though my cell phone is quite old, it still does all the functions that I need it to do. A new phone would only be something that I want, and not something that I need.