Character Development

– Exercises for Each Day of the Week –


Many of us are interested in personal growth — in cultivating faculties for our own pursuits — whether it be to climb the career latter, become famous artists or writers, or some other endeavor. But sometimes, when we walk the path of self-development, we forget our deeper intention — we find ourselves in our heads, we get lost in the rat race or in trivial and fleeting pursuits like money, sex, fame, etc.

To avoid this, then, for each step I take in the direction of improving my own faculties, I try to take two steps in the direction of developing my own character — to keep myself honest and humble, to remind myself that my development is to uplift the world around me, to bring love, peace, and depth to my friends, family, and loved ones.

If you’re interested in your own self-development and, like me, want to put some checks and balances in place, please feel free to practice these character development exercises (adapted from the Buddha and Rudolf Steiner).

(Compliment with Cultivating Mindfulness. And for more reading and exercises see Start Now! by Rudolf Steiner, and the Space of Possibility)

Monday | Thoughts

Sit for 5–10 minutes where your sole goal is to be aware of your thoughts — to watch them arise, change, and disappear, to see them as a phenomenon, and also to examine their content, separating the essential from the non-essential:

“I will continually strive to separate in my thoughts the essential from the nonessential, the eternal from the transitory, truth from mere opinion.”

Tuesday | Judgments

Sit for 5–10 minutes while you hold the sole intention to decide — or come to a judgment — on even smaller issues only after full, well-founded deliberation and reflection.

I will let my reasons for everything I do be fully deliberated.

When listening to conversation, I will be inwardly still, renouncing all agreement and negative judgments.

Wednesday | Speech

Sit for 5–10 minutes while you hold the intention to let only meaningful words leave your lips.

I will avoid all talk for the sake of talking.

I will avoid speech of ill-will and hatred.

I will use my words only to bring about love and understanding.

I will avoid jumbled conversation and simultaneous cross-talk.

Thursday | Actions

Sit for 5–10 minutes while holding the intention to not disturb others, to not hinder their freedom.

I will carefully weigh how to best employ my actions for the good of the whole and the happiness of others.

I will carefully weigh the consequences of my actions.

I will abstain from doing anything that has no significant reason.

Friday | Understanding

Sit for 5–10 minutes while you hold the intention to live in harmony with the whole of nature and spirit.

I will strive to always consider — to keep in front of me — the unfractured whole of nature, life, and awareness.

I will avoid bringing restlessness, anger, hatred, and fear to my life and others.

Saturday | Resolve

Sit for 5–10 minutes while you hold the intention to not leave anything — any unsettled feeling, deed, or strife in your self or in your relationships with others — undone that is within your ability, while also taking care not to do anything beyond your power.

I will work toward actionable goals for myself that are also connected with the highest of human responsibilities and which are in harmony with Life, Nature, or God.

I will be humble about all my misdeeds and work diligently and compassionately toward their resolve.

I will not be careless or lazy.

Sunday | Humility

Sit for 5–10 minutes while you hold the intention to learn as much as possible from life and the cosmos.

If I do something incorrectly or incompletely, I will take the opportunity to do it correctly or completely.

I will learn from my experiences and always strive to do better in my relationships and encounters with others and the world.

I will strive to learn from everyone and every encounter.

First Sunday of the Month | Contemplation

Get comfortable with — or familiarize yourself with — stillness for about 2 minutes, not attaching to or pushing away anything that arises in your experience; sitting in a place of true equanimity.

Then, once your experience becomes soft, open, relaxed, but aware, turn your gaze inward for 5–10 minutes. Sink into yourself. Take careful counsel with yourself as if from a neutral, non-biased, position while you test and form the principles of your life.

You can get imaginative with this — sit on a nice rock thrown on the moon, looking down on earth, watching your interactions from the heavens. Drop all your biases, prejudices, dislikes, etc. — look at yourself from a truly neutral place if you wish to get the most out of this exercise.

What have I learned since I last took counsel with myself?

Are there any changes I should make regarding my duties, responsibilities, and routines? Are they serving the same intention in which I meant them to serve?

What is the true substance, the juice, of my life? Are my goals appropriately aimed and tuned toward them — toward that which I am truly grateful?

Experience — feel — real displeasure at those expressions and encounters you’ve had which reflected poorly on you.

What are my faults and imperfections? What are possible resolutions to improve upon them? What characteristics or or qualities or faculties do I need to improve? How should I improve them?

Then, for 2–5 minutes, while sitting in your heart space, meditate on the following mantras:

“I will strive for all my expressions — my thoughts, words, and actions — to be in harmony and not contradict each other.”

“I will explore how this harmony fills me with a deep feeling of peace.”

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