Life can be tough to navigate and deal with sometimes. For my money it’s a good idea to have some tools & tricks to deal with the bugger when it goes pear-shaped, or gets weird.
I once read that the reason why Buddhism is given in lists (4 noble truths, 8 fold path, 3 root poisons, etc) is because the Buddha taught before such things were written down, and it is easier to remember lists. Being as I have a terrible memory, I can really get behind the idea of keeping it simple.
To that end I think there are a few things everyone could use to keep handy.
A way to keep fit that you enjoy. For me that’s Aikido and Tai Chi. Those have the added bonus of keeping me a bit safer too. Tai Chi is awesome for its portability. I also collect odd body-weight exercises that I can always do should I need a quick workout.
Some level of knowledge of how to keep your system fueled. Here I am thinking about a modicum of knowledge about food and how to make healthy choices. I also have a simple food-plan I picked up from my active time in OA – three meals a day, no snacks, no sweets, no peanut butter, no pizza. That combined with a basic fear of fast food keeps me well fueled.
A philosophical model/modality that helps you get through life. I keep a few basic truisms close to hand – “The map is not the territory”, “Opinion is not fact”, “We all see through our own distinct reality-tunnels”, and my personal favorite, “All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.” I also like, “Don’t be that guy”, and (thanks to Diane) “Just be cool, dude.” I also like Buddhism for compactness and a basic strong grounding in psychology, Taoism for simplicity, and the Integral Model for catch all applicability/orientation.
A way to connect to the truth. Atma Vichara and Meditation are my mainstays here. Atma Vichara you can find out about (my take on it) here. For Meditation you can poke around my tagged posts here. The vichara gets me zeroed in on the basic truth of what I am, and by extension since there really is not-two in this reality, the truth of everything. That may be a bold statement, but luckily the truth cannot be spoken so i don’t have to bother to try. Meditation helps me develop equanimity and sharpens my awareness. Two very useful skills for dealing with this wacky world.
What are some of your tools for getting along in life? I would love to hear them!