Time and tide, as the saying goes, wait for no one. The question is how we live out our time. It is all too easy to simply allow it to sweep us along any way it goes; when we really should be taking charge and using time to work towards our enlightenment. On important occasions, such as the beginning of a new year, many of us probably remember this need to develop ourselves. We might wish to kick a bad habit or develop a good one. Aspirations are often made, pursued for a while, but typically left behind – again. 

 So, what can be done to help us keep to our aspirations? More importantly, what will it take to sustain our efforts towards the transformation of ourselves into enlightened human beings? One answer lies in the Buddha’s teachings on the Iddhipāda, or the four roads to power. To succeed, we will need to develop and cultivate the will (chanda), mind (citta), energy (viriya) and self-investigation (vimamsa). Harnessing a strong will to change, one fixes the mind and stay focused on the goal; just as the Buddha did in his relentless search for enlightenment. The mind has to be conditioned or reminded continually to keep it focused and clear. A mind thus developed is energetic. It will neither be slack nor restless. Finally, we must also develop a sense of discernment that comes from reflection and investigation; always checking ourselves and probing into one’s progress along the spiritual path. Our success with keeping to our aspirations, whether mundane or spiritual, begins with the development and cultivation of the will, mind, energy and self-investigation.

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