What do I value? How much do I value it? When I clarify these questions, I establish the value of my goal. I then consciously bring this value to all my thoughts and actions, measuring my behavior against the criteria set by my values. The means for accomplishment reveal themselves as I clarify my intentions.
The answers to these questions will be different for everyone. Here are mine:
What do I value?
- All Life
- My relationship with the Divine
- Doing my best to find and fulfill my Divine Purpose
- My home
- The material things in my life that sustain me
- My mind
- My body, which allows me to do the things I do
- Quiet / stillness
- Books and literacy
- The work of others which contributes to my own and/or others’ up-liftment
- Clean air, water, vegetation
- The earth, our home
How much do I value it. (As I was thinking about the list above, I thought, “shouldn’t all these just be a 10 on the scale of how much I value them”? Though this may be true, I am going to assign not-all-10s, so you can see how I value them relatively, and in relation to one another, more or less based on how much time and effort I actually put into each one) 1=least value 10=most value
- All Life- 10
- Relationships- 10
- My relationship with the Divine- 10+
- Service- 9
- Doing my best to find and fulfill my Divine Purpose- 10
- Work- 9
- Health- 9
- My home- 8
- The material things in my life that sustain me- 8
- My mind- 9
- My body, which allows me to do the things I do- 8
- Quiet / stillness- 8
- Books and literacy- 7
- Music- 6
- The work of others which contributes to my own and/or others’ up-liftment- 6
- Clean air, water, vegetation- 10
- The earth, our home-10
This exercise is not about judgement, like, “Oh, I only gave music a 6, why don’t I value music more…maybe I need to do something to show that I value music more…” No.
We all have limited resources of time, energy and attention (until we reach the state of unlimited Being…but I sure am not there yet). We cannot give 100% of our time, energy and resources to 100% of the things we value 100% of the time.
But I can strive for 100% at any given moment. When I listen to music (which honestly is not that often), I absolutely love listening to music. I value it fully, and find as much pleasure as I can in it.
This list is for observation and self-awareness.
For example, when I listed, “my mind”, I thought about the attachment that I have to my mind. I love my mind. I love my thoughts. I love my thinking process. Am I too caught up in my own mind? Who would I be if I did not have my mind–how would I be able to define myself, how would I have an identity? These questions came up as points of awareness, without (too much) judgement. Now I have more self-awareness.
With this self-awareness, we now also have a tool to proceed with the next part of the Guiding Thought: I then consciously bring this value to all my thoughts and actions, measuring my behavior against the criteria set by my values.
This next list gives you an idea of how I think my behavior measures up to what I say I value. In other words: Do my actions represent my values? A scale of 1= least congruency between value and action 10=most congruency. Please note… I always think I can do better…
- All Life- 6
I am getting better. The things I have been doing recently [within the past 3 months] are: 1) I am at about 90% vegan, as I believe the food industry is basically a system that is cruel to animals 2) I’ve stopped buying leather (a by-product of the killing of an animal) 3) I had to kill ant colonies and some wasps this summer. I felt terrible about it, but I honored their lives, and thanked them for transitioning to a different state to help me maintain my house and yard. 4) I have started thanking the birds and critters I encounter. Or sometimes, I just say, “hello, beautiful!” when a bird, rabbit, praying mantis comes across my path.
- Relationships- 7
I had to really think about this. Within the past two years, I have intentionally ended two relationship (friends, not partners), with people I have known for more than 10 years. This would not signify valuing relationships. But, I think in both of them, the releasing of these relationships gave priority to a) my relationship with my partner and b) my relationship with my self. Letting go of friends gave value-preference to my two primary relationships.
- My relationship with the Divine- 9
I do pretty good on this one. Consecutive 40-day Journeys dedicated to the Divine. And that’s only what you see here…
- Service- 7
My number here reflects more what I want than what I think is. I am very service oriented. I just want to do more.
- Doing my best to find and fulfill my Divine Purpose- 6
Ugh. How do I know? I just do the best I can. The number reflects my lack of self-assurance that I am doing everything I can to fulfill my Divine Purpose (even though… consecutive 40 day Journeys, dedicated to the Divine…)
- Work- 6
I have to acknowledge what I said above, and forgive myself: I currently have limited resources of time, energy, and attention. I can only do so much. If I could, realistically, I would work 20 hours a day. I love to work. Do I do it? Not so much.
- Health- 7
On this, I have been making recent improvements. I’ve increased my whole food and nutrient consumption, I’ve been eating predominantly vegan (which, aside from opposing cruelty to animals is also generally better for health), I’ve increased my water consumption (2-3 qts/day), I’ve really been working on exercising daily. I have a bit to go before this will become an 8 or 9, but I am on the right track, with a plan.
- My home- 7
More or less the same as health. I’ve been making improvements, I’m on the right track, and I have a plan.
- The material things in my life that sustain me- 5
I still have trouble with the daily maintenance of life: cleaning, washing, changing the oil, etc. I do OK, and I’ve improved over the past 5 years, but I am far from where I want to be.
- My mind-8
Daily reading and contemplation, usually mantra. on track.
- My body, which allows me to do the things I do- 7
- Quiet / stillness- 8.5
I live in a quiet house. There’s outside noise, but for what is within my control… I am happy with the quiet in my life.
- Books and literacy- 7
You should see my library! But there is so much more out there to read!
- Music- 8
See my comment above about music in my life.
- The work of others which contributes to my own and/or others’ up-liftment- 5
I do value this. I do not know how to demonstrate how I value it. Thus… a 5.
- Clean air, water, vegetation- 7
I bless water. I do not use insecticides or harmful chemicals, except when I killed the ants. I apologized to the earth and the ants for my use of the insecticide.
- The earth, our home- 7
I do the best I can in a modern western world. I recycle. I compost. I have an organic garden. I generate as little trash as possible. I re-use bags. I do everything I can think of to reduce my footprint. …but I live in a modern western world. what can I say?
Now, you see, I have an idea for where I need to go. I have clarified my values and how much I value them, and assessed a need for improvement in some areas. I can now strive to improve even more, and look for means to do better.