Lojong 17: Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions

This is part 17 of my series on Lojong, a Buddhist mind training technique.Image from: http://kadampa.org/buddhism/training-the-mind/The five strengths according to this slogan, are determination, familiarization, virtue, reproach and aspiration. It is not enough to understand the slogans, we must also make an effort to incorporate them into our lives, and it is through these five strengths that this happens.Determination: Set your direction and then stick to it. Decide in this moment, this hour, this day, I will practice mindfulness. Over time the period of practice becomes longer and requires less effort.Familiarization: By practicing loving-kindness and mindfulness often, it becomes familiar territory so it's a not a big deal anymore. Familiarization allows it to become ingrained within you.Virtue: Keep aiming high in terms of creating peace, compassion and loving-kindness. Put your whole heart into it.Reproach: As Acharya Judy Lief says, call a spade a spade! Recognizing that is the ego that prevents us from feeling compassion and loving-kindness for others will help to tame it.Aspiration: Aspire to attain enlightenment and to cultivate loving-kindness and compassion for all, no matter what obstacles you come up against. When we fail to practice, we simply recommit.By being more intentional about how we go about our days and how we think we eventually become that which we aspire to; a more peaceful, loving being who is undisturbed by the day to day turmoil that is life.