At the end of each chapter of his book Pāramī , Ajahn Sucitto has a section called “Quotes and Suggestions”, where he recommends practical things to do to develop each perfection. At the end of the chapter on resolve (adhiṭṭhāna pāramī) he writes the following:
Reflection: To link wise reflection to resolve we might enquire: ‘With a mind that seeks my welfare, how do I shape and sustain a direction in life? How do I let myself down; where are my weak spots? On the other hand, what is a good quality or skill to develop? Which of these obstacles or skills would I point out to someone I wish well who has a similar disposition, or is in a similar situation?
This gets to the heart of the matter: What resolutions are pertinent and useful to each of us, in our particular circumstances, with our individual strengths and weaknesses? It seems especially helpful to work on both sides of the equation together. What’s our biggest obstacle and what is our greatest strength? So, for me, with aversion (dosa) as my biggest obstacle, I resolve on patience (khanti) again and again, and when kindness (mettā) is present, I try to nourish and sustain it.
It is helpful to ask someone who knows us well to assist in discovering the most promising resolutions. We can ask a trusted person, “What do you consider my best and worst qualities?” If we have no such person in our lives, we can try to reflect honestly on ourselves as if we were someone else, someone we cared about. What do we like best and least about that person (ourselves)? What do we most admire and what blocks the heart?
One of the quotes offered by Ajahn Sucitto: A person has four grounds for resolve…the resolve on wisdom, on truth, on relinquishment and on calm. -MN 140.11
If we are feeling stuck or aimless in discovering appropriate resolutions, we can investigate these four possible themes: Acting on wisdom? Meticulous truthfulness? Letting go? Developing calm? All of these are deeply admirable qualities to develop in ourselves. Does one of them seem to be calling?