We often like to blame another person or event for our problems. Even as much as we would like to THINK it is true, our real opposition never resides out in the world. In truth, it resides within and is often invisible to our conscious awareness. In fact, to hide its very existence, it convinces us through our thoughts that the problem is always somewhere else. Without careful observation to build our conscious awareness muscle, we will forever be under its control. Too many are clueless to this, however, with awareness, anyone can awaken to this self-imposed con artist, our very own thoughts.
In yesterday’s post, part 1, I talked about how we can be upset emotionally and physically by what someone else does. I mentioned taking a different perspective on that person and their actions. Now I will share some steps to take to stay peaceful in times of uncertainty.
In order to get some clarity, we need to stop blaming the other person for how we feel, and then we have the opportunity to look at how our incessant thoughts contribute to our unbalance. Yes, their actions caused us to feel uncomfortable, but the emotional intensity and the effects on the body are unique to each one of us depending on our perceptions, beliefs and past experiences. Noticing that we have unique experiences in similar situations, shows that the person we are blaming does not cause us to continue suffering long after the incident, we do that on our own. Otherwise, everyone would experience his or her feelings in the same way and for the same length of time and we know this is not what happens.
This shows us how important it is to start looking at why we are reacting the way we are. This is done through awareness, attention, and self-inquiry. It gives us the opportunity to shift from a reactive state into having a response that does not throw us out of balance.
Begin to pay attention to your thoughts and question them. Are you aware of any beliefs that come up because of what this person has done? Here are some examples of questions. What is the belief? Does it still hold true? Is your response right for what the other person has done or does it feel out of proportion or out of control? If it is, you will be out of balance and may experience discomfort in your emotional state or body. Are your thoughts supportive of your well-being or are they causing agitation? Thoughts will not cause agitation unless we have attached to them or ruminate on them.
As you continue the process of paying attention and bringing awareness to your thoughts and beliefs, you will start to notice what is not serving you. Over time, you will be able to let them go. Often it only takes the awareness of the thought to let it go and other times you will have to repeat the process until it shifts for you.
This is important to remember, the very thoughts that are not serving you will distract you from your intention. Each time this happens, gently bring yourself back to paying attention. You will find this easier to do with practice and over time, it will be harder for your thoughts to distract you.
There are times when working with your thoughts may feel impossible. In these times, working with the body is a more grounded process. Please refer to Body Scanning part 1 and part 2. These two short posts will give you direction in the body scanning process.
Do the best you can and remember to be kind to yourself, this is not about perfection. No matter where you are in life, you can have more balance and peace, you only have to look for them. They lie behind your thoughts, in the innermost recesses of your own being. Finding them anywhere else will only be temporary.
It is easy to be upset by someone who is doing things that we do not agree with and many of us could probably name someone like that now. They make us feel out of balance emotionally, physically or both. For instance, emotionally we might worry, feel angry, frustrated or fearful. Physically we might get a headache, feel nauseous, become ill or even experience pain in the body. Each one of us experiences these imbalances in different ways. Have you ever noticed or thought about how you experience an imbalance in your life?
It is important to recognize that when this happens it is not what the other person is doing that causes us to be this way. It is how we are reacting to what that person is doing. Our reaction is formed from our experiences in the past and other factors that influence how we experience and operate in this life.
If we are not aware and awake to these feeling and sensations, we will feel like we do not have control over them. Please remember that being aware and awake to them is very different from just experiencing them or being absorbed in them. We all have the right to feel our feelings. However, being awake and aware of them means that you able to be with them, not overwhelmed or controlled by them. You must come to a higher understanding of what you are experiencing for this to happen.
A different perspective is to know that no matter what someone is doing, that person is doing the best that he or she can do in that moment. That does not mean that what they are doing is okay or right. It just means that they do not know any better. In life, when we know better, we do better.
Look at your own life. Most of us have done something that we regretted or that was wrong. Once we finally realized it, then we made every effort not to do it again. If someone is still doing terrible things it is because he or she cannot see or does not understand what they are doing is wrong. In their minds, it is perfectly OK and they feel they do not have a choice, even though others see it differently.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and is about learning how to stop reacting and how to start responding so that you can take proper action when needed and stay more peaceful in times of uncertainty.
With an attentive nature to our thoughts and beliefs, we will begin to awaken to how others have influenced the direction and choices of our lives. Hope lies in the action we take. We do not feel hope when we let life pass us by; it does not come through resistance, only pain and suffering happen when we make these choices; life becomes dull and there is an inability to live life to its fullest.
How much of your life has been influenced by the conditioning of family, society and the people around you? You will never know unless you start being attentive to your thoughts and beliefs. Your freedom lies in the exploration of your inner world, it will never come by blaming anyone or anything out in the world.
Feelings of judgment, anger, and hate come from the False-Self. When we act from the False-Self, it is because of a lack of awareness of our own thoughts and beliefs. Kindness, compassion, and empathy come from the True-Self, our natural state. Through awareness, we can awaken to the influence that the False-Self has in our lives. Once we do, eventually we are no longer reactive and can respond appropriately to the events that occur in our lives. Our actions and words stop being destructive and we begin building connection and community instead of fostering separation from any one person or group because they are different from us.
This is not some lofty ideal, but your natural state and can be experienced through developing greater awareness and questioning your current thoughts and beliefs.
In the beginning, you will be pulled away from noticing your thoughts by the False-Self. Each time you discover that you have been distracted, bring your attention back to your thoughts. Do not judge yourself for forgetting, this is a trick of the False-Self to regain its seat of power. Once you notice you have been distracted, bring your attention back to your thoughts. For some, this will be easy and for others, it will be challenging, however, if you stay steadfast in your intention to have the True-Self’s influence greater than the False-Self you will be successful. You cannot fail because you are reconnecting with your natural state, that of the True-Self.
The spiritual seeker who seeks enlightenment for himself or herself to help everyone else is being misled by their own ego and thoughts. In a covert way, it perpetuates our separation. We must recognize that this is a collective journey. The future of spirituality will not be found in the “enlightenment” of a single person or group of people, it will arrive through us collectively.
Therefore the phrase, “we are all one” is not just a catchphrase, but brings to light the totality of consciousness. Our recognition and experience of this truth brings our energy into alignment with the creative force of the Universe. This shift in thinking is more valuable than our efforts up to this point. Once we embody this truth, any action we take from this higher level of understanding will accelerate the ongoing evolution of our collective spiritual journey and it will accelerate the arrival of enlightenment on the collective level.
The recognition and experience that “we are all one” is shown to us through an internal knowing, intuition or personal experience, and is accessed in a state of non-thinking. A state of non-thinking can be reached in many ways, meditation, contemplative prayer, time alone in nature or any other way that quiets the mind.
You do not seek this experience, but allow it into your awareness by awakening to what is. When we are awestruck by a beautiful sunset we do not seek the feeling out it just happens, because the awe that you experience is in the sunset. This is also true when experiencing the totality of consciousness and our oneness. However, if you are too busy experiencing the busyness of life, your thinking will never slow down enough to connect with your True-Self, which is one with the totality of all things.
Do not allow the thinking of your False-Self to tell you that you do not have time or that when you do take time that it is not working. Because this is how the cunning False-Self keeps us looped in a perpetual state of busyness. From here we cannot experience our oneness, release our conditioning or see the truth that is all around us.