Before I share my two cents, let me share a disclaimer:
Nothing I've said here (or ever say) is original. Everything has been said, in some or the other form, by someone or the other, before me.
You could say I'm being true to my ancestry - I'm aping! Or you could say I'm standing on the shoulders of giants.
Wisdom in Eklavya
In today's day & age the amount of information available is overwhelming, & quite often it's difficult to discern the right source. In my experience, like everything else, this access to excessive information has its pros & cons. Here are a few steps to make the most of this excess:
1. Identify the right source.
2. Once you identify the source - the right teacher/ guru/ guide for you for the stage you're in - in the form of a person, course, workshop, book, concept, etc, become Eklavya - Eklavya engaged in self study & became a marksman greater than Arjun. It doesn't matter whether you have a society-approved teacher/ institute. What matters is that you seek the teacher/ guide who is right for you in your respective stage on the path.
3. The View (intellectual understanding) is very important - unless you know where you intend to arrive, the path will feel shifty. So the view is very important. But it's only 2% of the work. The rest 98% is consistent & diligent Practice. The practice must also be the correct practice - practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!
Choice in Every Moment
In everything you do or don't do, you make a choice. Even in the times you felt you had no choice, you did - you chose to not have to face the dire circumstances, still it was a choice even if one of choice-less-ness.
This is important to acknowledge & accept because without this understanding your agency will not be strong enough to bring about the changes & shifts you desire. In my work with people I always bring to their attention that they are always in choice whether or not they engage with a thought, feeling, or exercise - this raises their awareness & ability to engage in self-healing.
No free Lunches
Nothing in this Universe is 'free' - everything has a cost - something you give in order to receive what you desire. If you desire to know yourself, to heal yourself, to find your true purpose, to maximize your potential - be willing to pay the cost - momentary doubts, confusion, unease, struggle, & letting go of what's not needed (at times, it is your current self that needs to be let go of - and it's not easy!).
Effort, being vulnerable, persistence, & seeking - are some of the other costs involved.
Build your Emotional Genius
Emotions are like waves in a sea. Just like the sea waves, they always recede. Let them drench you - when you get drenched in emotions, with awareness, you don't drown. This is because when you get drenched in them, you're letting them pass through you with zero resistance. However, when you resist the force of strong waves, the waves either sweep you with them, or build into a tsunami over time. Similarly, dance with them, instead of playing hide & go seek! This is to say, instead of brushing heavy emotions under the carpet or running away from them, go near them as much as you can, move back when they feel too much, then again try approaching after building some resilience - so on & so forth as if in a dance. This will allow you to face them in a gradual manner instead of suppressing or repressing them. Remember, what is repressed will continue to repeat itself.
Nothing in this existence exists of its own - everything exists dependently on everything else. So do your habits - everything you do or don't do is a habit. It exists because it was repeated often enough & is dependent on all those many repetitions. Similarly, if you want to build a new habit, all you have to do is begin doing it - every time you do it you are forming the base for it to arise the next time. No matter where you are in this moment, there's a way out - even a tiny step can change the direction of what's originating by the virtue of dependent origination.
Yes, such a thing does exist.
To try to understand this I invite you to go to a moment when you felt unconditional love for someone. As you go to this moment, notice what happens to your happiness - you'll observe immense happiness with this one moment of unconditional love for one person.
There are infinite beings in this Universe. Now imagine your happiness if you could feel such love for all the beings at all times - that's maximum happiness. Thus, in order to feel maximum happiness you have to generate unconditional love for ALL. Difficult, very difficult indeed. Also, possible.
The Root of all our Miseries
We are all consciously or unconsciously driven by our selfish nature - everything we do, we do for our sake - our happiness, our contentment, our peace. And so it's counter-intuitive to think that if we put others before ourselves, we'll have the maximum happiness, contentment, peace! Think of any time you've been miserable - angry/ upset/ jealous/ etc - it's always because of something you want for yourself, directly or indirectly. Now think of a time when you've done something for someone else, unconditionally - how did you feel? Miserable? Chances are, you experienced happiness, contentment, peace.
The root of all our miseries is putting ourselves before others. And the only remedy to this misery is to reverse this attitude.
Everything is energy. Some energies are more solidly packed & easily visible, like our bodies, animals, plants, etc. Other energy forms are more subtle, & not always visible &/ felt by everyone.
One such subtle energy is our subtle energy body - it is easily accessible to all of us if we pay attention to it - and it can greatly enhance our physical body's well being. And it's not juju! Once you learn to work with it, you would have opened a door that was always in front of you with a deceptive curtain covering it.
We are but a part of nature. In my experience & understanding the issues we face today are because we try to stand apart from her, believing we are above her. If you pay close attention, you will realize your being - mental, emotional, & physical - does better in & with nature. Try this mini experiment for yourself - observe nature, and then just ape it for a while - a few hours, or days, or weeks - whatever you can afford. See what gets revealed to you :)
The Whole is affected by the Parts
Let's say you want to buy a phone. You're given the best software, with a damaged screen. Would you say it's a great phone? What if it's vice-versa - great feedback from the touchscreen, damaged software? Neither will do, because the parts affect the whole. This holds true for us too - every single aspect affects every other aspect - diet, sleep, health, mind state - they are all interconnected, & each part has the ability to affect the whole.
Moving between Stages
If the being is struggling with the very basics - high stress, anxiety, lack of self-discipline - these must be worked on first & foremost.
The stages of the path are not exactly linear - you are bound to go back & forth between stages, time & again. At times, it might feel like regressing - this going back is only to move forward, & is a part of the process. And to arrive fully you need to go through every stage.
It's all very simple, really - but this is the simplicity that is reached only after having understood the complications & complexity.
Lightness in the Gravity
This is serious work - most important & urgent.
And this urgency needs a lot of patience & self-compassion. Be serious about it, but also hold yourself lightly through it.
Know that this isn't a cake walk - looking at the truth never is.
Also know that this is the most rewarding path you'll ever walk, only once you stop taking yourself too seriously! When we take ourselves too seriously, it is only reflective of our ego. The ego is what makes us hold on to things that should have been let to die so that they could be born anew.
The work is grave & important, your ego isn't. Letting go of the ego is a core pillar of the path.
Who needs healing?
Who doesn't? If you're human, you're social. If you're social, you feel hurt. If you feel hurt, you need to tend to that hurt for it to heal.
When there's a major traumatic event (trauma with a big T) we acknowledge it as trauma. However, on a daily basis, we all suffer multiple minor traumas (trauma with a small t) that we don't even notice in our busy schedules. Over a period of time, they fester into nasty wounds, & then come to collect their toll.
So, who needs healing? We all do.