I think we can all agree on the fact that Buddha’s teachings are a treasure trove of wisdom.
What’s more, you don’t have to be a Buddhist to be able to incorporate his advice into your life.
A lot of what Buddha taught can be applied to anybody, no matter how different our lives are, which is where the true value of his insights can be found: He spoke of universal truths.
Here are 7 timeless insights from Buddha that can reshape your understanding of life.
1) “All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts.”
Let’s begin with what I consider the most crucial insight of them all – the importance of your thoughts.
What you think shapes your actions which turn into habits that ultimately define who you are. And it all starts in your head.
If you think you’re not good enough to reach your goals, there is a high likelihood your actions will correspond to those thoughts, and you’ll fulfill your own prophecy.
If you can imagine an amazing life for yourself, on the other hand, you will do your best to achieve it, which increases your chances of actually getting there by a thousandfold.
Change the narrative you’re telling yourself about who you are. Shift your mindset.
And watch yourself flourish.
2) “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?”
Next up is the crucial role that action plays in your life.
Yes, thoughts are where it all begins. But if you don’t act in the real world, those thoughts will remain nothing but abstract ideas that never come to fruition.
You may read a hundred self-help books and buy a hundred self-improvement courses, but if you never pick up a journal or sit down to meditate, what good will all that knowledge do?
Stop living in your head. It’s time to take action.
3) “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
On a similar note, it’s time to take responsibility for your life.
A victim mindset won’t get you very far. Unfortunate and deeply painful things happen to all of us, but what matters in the great scheme of things is how you react to those circumstances.
One of the most important realizations I had in my life was to recognize that the people who hurt me had nothing to do with my healing journey. I would get no apologies, no validation, no acknowledgment.
It was up to me to pick up those pieces and mend them back together. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
You and only you can walk the path. You and only you are responsible for healing your pain and overcoming your challenges.
On the bright side, this also means that you have the power. Those who hurt you can only do so much. At the end of the day, you’re the one in charge.
4) “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Speaking of pain and healing, I used to hold on to so much burning resentment and anger just five years ago that my days were spent feeling bitter and spiteful.
This was before I realized that my anger hurt me so much more than it hurt the people I was angry at. Yes, I’d suffered at the hands of others.
But did I have to add salt to the injury day after day? Did I have to make myself suffer, too?
Yet another quote by Buddha highlights exactly that:
“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”
Remember that forgiveness isn’t meant for the person you’re forgiving. More than anything, it’s meant for you.
Forgiveness is peace. It’s closure. It’s moving on and letting go of anger because *you* deserve to be happy.
5) “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
Here goes another insight from Buddha I absolutely love. This time, it’s all about flexibility and new beginnings.
People tend to think they need some special occasion to turn their lives around. Their new habits have to start on Monday, on the first of every month, in the morning, or at the beginning of the New Year.
The truth is that you can *always* open up a new chapter. Every second of every day is a new chance. Isn’t that amazing?
All that matters is that you do your best in the here and now.
6) “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
This brings us to another misconception – the idea that happiness is a tangible destination you can reach if only you try hard enough.
Happiness is actually much simpler than that. It’s in the everyday. I know, I know. It sounds boring, but that’s just the truth of things.
If you chase happiness, you will never reach it. But if you find happiness within yourself every day, you’ll realize that it’s not a destination. It’s a way of life.
7) “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”
And how do you find happiness in your mundane daily life, you may ask?
That’s what this final insight is all about.
It’s all about the art of noticing.
I’ve practiced it for years now, and every day, I manage to find something that makes me feel alive in the best way possible, be it the way the tree bends in the wind, the sun setting beyond the rooftops, or how my chest moves up and down with every breath.
Even a single flower is a miracle. If you adopt this mindset and look at the world with the realization that it’s all magic… your life will take on a new shape entirely.