5 Step to Developing A Strong Container
Sakyong Mipham taught that by taking five easy yet ordinary steps, you could make everyday life a container, allowing you to live day to day avoiding draining or confusing situations while turning these steps into a source of power.
Even though these may seem simple, they are not. The first step is to clean up your space. When you surround yourself with clutter you live in chaos, you feel chaotic. It’s impossible to feel energized and together when you are stepping over undifferentiated piles of stuff (including people). However, when you make your space orderly (your definition of “orderly”), the impact on your vitality is dramatic.
Wear nice clothes. You may think this will require you to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, at least that's what we have been trained to think of when someone says wear nice clothes, but it doesn't have to mean this.
When I say wear nice clothes, I intend to wear clothes that are clean and pressed, they fit you well and make you feel happy. Nice clothes build on your self-esteem rather than detracting from it. Please don't pick up yesterday’s clothes off the floor, put them on, and think, “This is good enough.” Take some interest and care in the way you dress daily. It isn't necessarily that you appear fashionable or making a statement but as an expression of self-regard.
In our world of fast food luxuries and quick eating locations, we forget the little things so quickly. Another step to developing a strong container would be to eat good food. Of course, I am not referring to the taste, but the essence, the nutritiousness of the food you are eating. We get bombarded with this information and are routinely shamed continuously on the foods we eat and the diets we choose to follow. I am not saying that you should go vegetarian or vegan, and there is no need to detox immediately. Eating good food is referring to buying, preparing, and consuming food (and drink) that is of the best quality that you can afford or find, procured decently, prepared thoughtfully, and consumed with gratitude.
Please also take care and pay particular attention to what and how you eat. If you desire to be vegan, buy fresh vegetables and organic grains. If you lean the other direction and you want to eat a burger, rather than shoveling in a McAnything, get quality meat. If you drink coffee get good beans, and if you are a drinker and want to drink wine or any spirit, buy a nice bottle and avoid the bottom shelf. Admittedly, if you don't have much money, this doesn't necessarily makes sense but trust me, when you nourish yourself with quality products it's a sign of self-respect and will eventually change the quality of your presence.
Another step to building a stronger container is to spend time with people that you love to be around and who love you and want to be around you. This shouldn't require an explanation. Unfortunately, we all have to spend time with people we’d rather not, and making this suggestion is not a directive to cut those people out of your life if it is not needed, but we should limit their influence on us. Minimizing the amount of time you spend with these individuals or groups while maximizing the time you spend with those you see (and yourself) as beautiful, interesting, and lovable. If you ignore all the other steps and just do this one, I know you will be amazed at the difference it makes in the way you view yourself and how much energy you have.
Within the "Modern" world the amount of time we spend outside is limited. We can go from one building to the next with relative ease but do most people spend more time than that being outside? Trying not to generalize most people, I know I don't spend enough time outside. Even when I was younger I wouldn't venture out without being forced, the reasons I gave were comical, it was either too bright or too hot, most times I just wanted to watch tv. On the weekends I fight my inner lethargic show and movie binges to get outside and either ride my bike or walk around aimlessly, the weekdays I also try spending time walking outside.
Needless to say, spending time in the natural world is a good thing and can bring a feeling of serenity, peace, and calm. When we touch in with what is most elemental, we remember the simplicity and depth of our experience here on this spinning rock. Each of these five steps reminds us to slow down and pay attention to ourselves, others, and the world with love in our hearts. Try practicing any or all of these steps and let me know if it made a difference in your life.