Have you ever struggled to find peace and happiness due to overthinking, anxiety, or physical issues? Living with these problems has been known to result in insomnia, and the only known cure is to accept life as it is and find a more enjoyable way to live it. Japanese Buddhist master Miyamoto Mushashi has formulated 26 rules to make life more enjoyable—and he’s Japan’s greatest swordsman, so it’s best to heed his words.
Remarkably, he crafted these rules only 2 weeks before his death, and they are primarily based around accepting life’s circumstances, being comfortable with yourself, and taking control of the things you’re capable of positively managing. Please read the list below to utilize this enlightenment in your own life.
#1: Accept reality.
Acceptance is crucial to overcoming mental challenges. Instead of fighting negative emotions such as anxiety and stress, it’s vital to accept them for what they are because doing so will actually make their impact on you weaker. Keep in mind that acceptance involves patience and balance much more than indifference or apathy.
#2: Don’t obsess over pleasure.
Doing so puts human beings into an infinite loop of temporary satisfaction that will only keep you wanting more and more short-term pleasure in the long-term. Instead, allow yourself to enjoy life in general, especially when you have the opportunity to simply think to yourself about whatever you enjoy thinking about.
#3: Don’t rely on fleeting feelings or emotions for guidance.
Human emotions are always in some form of transition, so if you base your decisions based on how you happen to feel inside at the moment, then you’re usually not making the wisest decisions possible.
#4: Contemplate the world more than yourself.
A wise Chinese Proverb argues that, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
#5: Don’t ever be a slave to desire.
Buddhism reveals that desiring leads to suffering, because when you desire you are inherently dissatisfied with your current state. Instead, be content with existing—and living freely.
#6: Don’t harbour regret.
Quite simply, you can’t change what has happened in the past, so you should instead appreciate that you can learn from the past in order to experience greater happiness, success, and peacefulness in the future.
#7: Don’t harbour jealousy.
Quite frankly, it just isn’t positive or productive. Instead, be happy for other people who succeed, and attempt to learn from them to enhance your own happiness and success.
#8: Accept separation.
You must accept being separated from someone or something before you can genuinely move on—and move forward.
#9: Don’t harbour resentment.
Instead, learn from the situation or circumstances, and take action to ensure that similar experiences in the future will be more positive and less frustrating.
#10: Don’t be a slave to lust.
The feelings and emotions won’t last forever, so focusing on them in the present will only lead to disappointment—and possibly even heartbreak—in the future.
#11: Don’t be a slave to bias.
Having biases will only leave you unprepared for other scenarios which are just as likely to transpire, and it will only cause you to feel disappointment whenever things don’t occur as you’d most prefer.
#12: Don’t imprison yourself in one place.
If you have the opportunity to experience greater happiness, success, and peace somewhere else in the world, you shouldn’t hesitate to embrace moving. By the same token, don’t up and move when you’re perfectly content where you already reside.
#13: Don’t be a picky eater.
Unless you’re being picky about health and nourishment. Aside from that, learn to enjoy a wide variety of different tasting foods (you’ll be more satisfied more often).
#14: Don’t be a slave to possessions.
Instead, eliminate clutter and appreciate having more space to live and breathe in.
#15: Don’t be a slave to tradition.
Respect tradition, but be progressive whenever possible; if something makes the world a happier or better place overall, then do it (regardless of custom).
#16: Don’t use weapons unnecessarily.
Know how to defend yourself—but never intimidate or victimize.
#17: Don’t fear death.
Instead, learn to feel fortunate and privileged for receiving the gift of life, period—in any duration.
#18: Don’t obsess over your legacy.
Enjoy the time that you have to be alive, and do the most amount of good that you can, while you can. Let history decide what your true legacy will be—it will do so whether you try to interfere or not.
#19: Respect Buddha and the gods, but don’t rely on them.
If you can utilize your faith in order to be more productive in life, then do so whenever you’d like. However, be aware that you are responsible for accomplishing what you’re required to regardless of whether or not you receive divine help or energy.
#20: Preserve your honour.
This means always saying and doing what you feel is right.
#21: Learn for a lifetime.
This means that you must continue to learn and grow as a human being every day for your entire life.
#22: Focus on the present.
Live without being distracted by the past or future; as mentioned, you can’t change the past—and the future is constantly becoming the present anyway.
#23: Listen to your inner voice.
Ignoring it, fighting it, and arguing with it will only delay positive and productive action.
#24: Accept what you can’t control.
Refusing to do so will only cause you significantly more frustration and pain than you deserve to experience.
#25: Be conscious of all thoughts, feelings, and actions.
You are responsible for everything you think, say, or do whether you realize what you’re doing or not (so pay attention and act wisely).
#26: Never give up.
Doing so will only make it harder to try once you realize that you have to—and it’s the job that never gets started that always takes longest to finish.