Make Today Meaningful


Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”- H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

Too often I find myself falling into the “just get it over with” mentality trap. Usually this occurs on Mondays, or whenever I have a daunting project/task to accomplish. The problem with this mentality is that it pulls me out of living in the now, it causes me to not enjoy the present moment, and the wonderful experience of actually “living”.

When I fall into this mentality I basically go on auto pilot, which allows negative (counter-productive) thoughts and emotions to gain a foothold in my psyche. Once this begins to occur, it is easy to allow those negative thoughts and emotions to snowball into a myriad of negative mental states.

Last week I had a particularly hectic week at work, because I was working on a large research and writing project (a legal brief), for a case that our firm is handling. Despite my best efforts to remain upbeat and aware, I found myself falling quickly into the “just get it over with” mentality. Instead of dispelling negative thoughts and emotions, I was actually beginning to embrace them.

The day the brief was due was particularly hectic, because there was still a large amount of research and writing to accomplish, in addition to countless revisions. All of this was exacerbated, by the fact that I was trying to leave work early so that I could leave town to visit family for the weekend. After it became apparent that rather than leaving work early, I was going to be working late in order to finish the brief (in federal court you have until midnight to file a brief), I decided to take a mental break, and  walk around the office for a few minutes.

During this break, I realized for the first time that I had allowed myself to become a total mess! Heart racing (check), headache (check), physically weakened (check), general bad mood (check), stressed (check), angry (check). I quickly decided to pull myself out of my “funk”, because being a mental, physical, and emotional mess was not going to help matters, in fact they were likely prolonging the writing process due to my lack of mental clarity.

When I got back to my office, I opened the window (it was cool and softly raining outside), I turned on some soft background music, and did a quick 5 minute breath counting meditation. When I finished my session, I spent a few minutes just enjoying the cool breeze flowing into my office, as well as the soft sounds of rain falling outside of my window. I then completed my work on a much more upbeat and positive note.

I really try to turn instances such as these into learning lessons, which I can integrate into my life in a positive fashion. While I really try to not allow myself to fall into negative mental states to begin with, nobody is perfect (especially not me), and life is bound to throw us some curve balls that irk us off from time-to-time. I think the key is to let the curve balls fall away, rather than chasing them into the dirt. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation or task, try to remain upbeat, and try as much as possible to enjoy the ride, because all negative experiences and situtions that arise will eventually subside.

As referenced in the above quote by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, we should try to make each day meaningful. Instead of looking at today as a list of tasks to accomplish, we should try to make today matter, make it meaninful. In order to make each day meaningful, you must not get caught up in negative mindsets, because negative mindsets make your day miserable rather than meaninful. In order to accomplish this, I have turned part of the quote into a personal mantra, that a repeat to myself each day when I wake up, I simply tell myself to “make today meaningful”. By making each day meaningful, it allows me to stay engaged with living in the now, rather than pushing through to the weekend, or some other point in the future, which may never come (which goes hand in had with my previous piece on living each day like it is your last- Momento Mori).

Practical Tip: Remind yourself each morning to make today meaningful. Also, try to accomplish something meaningful each day that betters your life, or the life of someone else. For yourself you can meditate, perform some form of spiritual practice, work towards accomplishing a goal, or simply enjoy life. For others, you can practice charity, do acts of kindness, or simply offer compliments or words of encouragement to someone else.

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Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

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  1. Baruti KMT-Sisouvong
    February 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    As always, Great Wisdom flows from within. Thanks!

    • February 28, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Thank you brother! Sometimes life’s lessons are our best teacher.

  2. February 28, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I am a list maker. I always feel lists help me to get my everyday tasks accomplished, but today I found myself using it as a negative tool to prove all the many things I still haves yet to do. This post made me realize I was wishing today away. I want to do my best to change my thinking to remind myself I am not promised tomorrow and to live each and every second I am given to its fullest potential. Thank you.

    • February 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      That is a great mindset to have! Lists are useful to get things done, and can be a great tool to make today meaningful, but they must be viewed in the appropriate context.

  3. February 28, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Talking about the present moment is easy. Switching gears in a pinch, like you did, is much harder, at least for me. Awareness and commitment are required at a minimum!

    • February 28, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      Yes it is tough, and I think practice comes into play with that. It takes the awareness to realize your current state (which I did a poor job of most of last week), and then deciding to transcend negativity in order to go back into awareness. As always, thanks for your input Morgan!

  4. asecondcup
    February 29, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Great story! A motivator!

    Many critics of positive thinking (don’t understand why there are critics of positive thinking) get their joy from pointing a finger, mocking a positive person at a negative juncture. They are wasting their time because, a truly positive person has a normal life of ups, and downs. That’s a given.

    The keen awareness of negative that a positive person possesses, is a motivator for a positive, end result. The mind immediately goes in to auto mode to the positive. It is that awareness that allows the positive back in, so quickly. It summons, positive action to counteract the negative.

    As for the critics why, so negative? Why all that time spent on time they will never get back, wasted? On what, exactly? Gotcha? Doesn’t speak well for their field of ‘expertise.’

    • February 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      What a great comment! Thank you for sharing! I tend to try and just ignore the critics, because their criticism is coming from a place of ignorance and/or they are simply projecting their own pain and feelings onto others.

  5. Dave
    March 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    We hear so many comments about positive, and negative but, rarely about, meaningful. You had a lot of negative turning to positive but, all was meaningful as each moment was contingent upon the next.

    Congratulations on your awareness of where you were, where you were going, and finally arriving at the finish line.

    The entire experience was not only motivating but, it was meaningful.

  6. March 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I was recently working on a presentation for work that I had spent a month researching, and as the due date neared, my anxiety increased. Mindfulness exercises helped me to take my ego out of it, to let go of the outcome, and to enjoy the process so much more. I love your mantra- thanks again for sharing your mindful insights! I really enjoy reading our blog.

    • March 26, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      I have always found it fascinating how things change when you simply let go of the ego, and let nature take its course. Our ego instills stress and anxiety in us, and by releasing it we can expand our awareness, which makes us more relaxed and creative.

  7. April 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    I am sharing this!! 🙂
    Great writing Jason…

    *cheers*

    -Astha

    • April 7, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed this! Thanks for commenting and thanks for sharing!

  1. March 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

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