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If you think about it, who you are today is simply a product of your genes and past life experience – neither of which are in your control. Some might disagree with me by arguing that we are conscious humans who are capable of making decisions and choosing our actions – but what are these decisions and choices based on? Genes and past experience.

Let me illustrate my point with an animal story (everyone loves those): We have a pet dog named Jimmy. One day Jimmy bites a kid. We don’t go blaming the dog for being “bad” and exacting some kind of elaborate punishment in the name of morality. Everyone understands Jimmy was just following his nature, we accept that this is the way he is because he is a dog with a disposition for biting. We have to take a calm approach to this; maybe we can make Jimmy wear a muzzle, maybe we can train him to be more friendly, maybe we will have to put Jimmy down because he is part wolf and will probably strike again. We don’t hate or blame Jimmy, we accept and manage the reality of the situation. Why treat people any differently?

If we take this point of view, then it becomes difficult to feel anger towards anyone. A more constructive approach of understanding and acceptance becomes the default – this is compassion.

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Just like physical fitness there is also mental fitness. Everyone knows that if you want to be able to run long distances you have to train your body by continuously forcing it to the point of exhaustion, gradually improving stamina. I don’t think that it occurs to many people that they can do this with their minds as well.

I am always reminding myself to stay conscious and keep thinking, exhaustion is just an opportunity to improve stamina. It is amazing how much this improves quality of life by providing energy to improve relationships (probably the most mentally demanding task we have in life) and getting out there doing stuff.

After some time, thinking becomes much easier and clearer. Moving from being the mental equivalent of a couch potato to the mental equivalent of a marathon runner.

Life is consciousness.

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