More than simply yoga, a diet, or a meditation habit, Sūvata Buddhism is a holistic practice to lift up your mind, body, and spirit simultaneously.
No matter where you’re at in your spiritual journey — or how you identify as a spiritual being — Sūvata can help you become a better version of yourself and find spiritual fulfilment.
These 11 guiding principles serve as a framework for how to walk through life and cultivate the best version of yourself.
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1. You are a spirit having a human experience
As Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
Father Teilhard de Chardin recognised this one important truth: we are all here to experience life as a human.
Your soul has lessons it needs to learn in order to evolve and grow. You were born into this life, this plane, this existence as a human so you can experience life and learn these lessons from the perspective of a human.
You could have just as easily been born into the existence of a cat, or a squirrel, but you weren’t. You were born into existence as a human so you can experience the world and learn the lessons that you can only learn while you’re a human.
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2. Live in alignment
The concept of ennui has plagued man for centuries, long before 1732 when the word was first used.
Ennui is often defined as a lack of excitement, but it isn’t just about being bored. Ennui is rooted deep in the human psyche and begins to rise to the surface when one isn’t living in alignment with their dharma.
When everything you do, experience, and feel is boring, unfulfilling, and dull it’s all too easy to fall into ennui.
When you are just going through the motions, doing as you have always done, and living because you merely haven’t died yet, ennui is inevitable.
Fight off ennui by living your life in alignment with your purpose, your values, and your world view. When you live in alignment with who you are, what you hold dear, and the way you see the world, your life feels right. It feels like it fits. It feels like this is what life is supposed to be.
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3. Open your awareness to energetic flow
Everything in the world is composed of energy. Some call it “qi,” others “prana,” others simply “energy.” Whatever you call it, energy is everywhere.
Energy lives in you, and around you. Energy is the life force that creates all life, flows through all things, and binds all things together.
It is everywhere yet nowhere. It is everything yet nothing.
Energy flows within your body along pathways called meridians, and when these pathways are blocked illness, depression, and anxiety can occur.
Cultivate awareness of the energy that flows through you, around you, to you, and from you and you’ll begin to see how everything is connected and affected by energy.
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4. Be Virtuous
It is oft said that patience is a virtue, yet in our modern society, we tend to forget there are other virtues that need to be cultivated that will, ultimately, serve us better than merely cultivating patience.
When you work to cultivate the Seven Sūvatan Virtues, you will cultivate patience as well. Your perspective of self, other, and the world will shift, and as a result you will not need to work on being patient; you simply will be.
These seven virtues lay the foundation for a strong spiritual practice, build strength of character and resilience.
By striving to become more compassionate, wise, courageous, non-judgmental, disciplined, content, and pure, you are cultivating your highest self.
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5. Trust the universe
We struggle with the great unknown because our primordial brain hates wondering. Our primordial brain wants to know all of the things all of the time. It’s a survival mechanism. Yet in today’s day and age, we will never know all of the things. We simply can’t.
Even with all of the knowledge at our fingertips, a great deal of the past is unknown to us, the present holds mysteries, and the future is completely veiled in shadow.
We must accept that we do not — cannot — know everything, and we must accept that we cannot control everything.
We need to surrender control and put our faith in the universe.
Trusting the universe can be challenging because it means trusting in the great unknown. It means trusting in the randomness and chaos that is ever presence to act and exist in a way that will best serve you.
Trust that the slow driver ahead of you is in your path for a reason. Trust that money, a job, or a partner will appear when you’re open and ready.
Believe that all is coming when the time is right, and that the universe — while it may not always please you — has your best interests at heart.
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6. Become your own best friend
The great tragic truth of life is that nobody will ever make you feel complete. There are things you may feel like you are missing (love, affection, companionship), and while acquiring those make make you feel whole, it’s really your life that is becoming whole.
You, as a human, are already whole. You are already complete. You already have everything you need to step into your true identity and flourish. You just need to unlock it.
And you can’t as long as you’re treating yourself like you would treat an annoying coworker. To step into your true identity, you first need to become your own best friend.
It starts with the words you use when you speak to yourself.
Reflect on the words you use when you’re speaking to — or thinking about — yourself. If you wouldn’t use those words to talk to your best friend, you shouldn’t use them to talk to yourself.
Reframe your relationship with yourself so that you know you have your own back, trust, love, and respect first and foremost.
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7. Tread lightly
We do not “own” the Earth. The Earth is not here for our use, nor for our consumption. We are part of the Earth. We are part of the eco-system. It is not our place to pillage and plunder the planet. As we have evolved our way out of the food chain, we owe a debt to the animals and the plants. We owe a debt to Mother Nature.
We must only take what we need. We must only take what we will use. We must practice moderation in our consumption, and strive for a life of minimalism.
Think carefully about what you need, what you want, what you’ll acquire, and what you’ll dispose of. Live with intention and tread lightly so as to honour Mother Nature.
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8. Be an example unto others
We are all connected, and those of us who are further ahead in our spiritual journeys should be an example for those who are still at the beginning of the path.
By living as an example of a spiritually grounded, evolved, and luminescent being, we show those who have yet to begin their journey what they too could become. We can inspire, lift others up, and be a source of joy and light by living as an example.
This means to embody your ideals, the Sūvatan virtues, and the guiding principles. This means to live as the being you were born to be. This means to embody your light and joy and show up as that human in all things you do.
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9. Pick your battles
Any practising Quaker can tell you about the parable of William Penn and George Fox.
George Fox was the founder of the Religious Society of Friends — Quakers.
William Penn had been attending Quaker meetings, and one day he asked George Fox how to reconcile Quaker principles with his need to carry a sword, a symbol of conflict and violence.
Fox said, “Wear it as long as thou canst.”
Whether or not this conversation actually took place is hotly debated among Quakers, yet the principle is sound.
When you find yourself having to live in conflict with your virtues or your dharma, it is unproductive to beat yourself up. There are things we all must do in order to survive in this world, and some of them are at odds with our core beliefs.
It is a much better use of your mental and spiritual resources to pick your battles. Recognise the disconnect is temporary, and required only to get you through this particular season of your life.
And, when the time is right and the universe and energies are in alignment, lay down thy sword.
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10. Release your attachments
In Buddhism, upādāna — clinging, attachment, and grasping — is a source of pain and suffering for mortals.
We create our own problems through attachments.
Attachments to what we feel, taste, experience.
Attachments to what we think and believe.
Attachments to how we perceive ourselves, and attachments to our habits and routines.
When we have attachments to anything we are forming expectations, and when we are let down, when things don’t go to plan, we feel sad, disappointed, unfulfilled. We live in suffering.
By releasing attachment (easier said than done) we reduce our suffering. By accepting that all things are and will be as they should, we get closer to liberation.
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11. Get out of your mind
While Aristotle posited we are born tabula rasa — a blank slate — that slate isn’t blank for very long.
We are programmed from birth by our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, coworkers, and what we encounter in the media.
Our beliefs are not our own; our beliefs are an amalgamation of those around us, our closest friends and allies, our enemies, and even those we don’t know but encounter digitally.
The flood of content that we are continually parsing,
A tenant found from Eastern Religions to Shamanism is that of mindfulness. Or — often — mindlessness.
The act of emptying your mind and allowing your inner truth to be heard by your conscious and subconscious minds alike.
Strive to empty your mind daily so you can listen to what your soul is trying to say.
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