Can you spend today looking for things to appreciate? Can you do this repeatedly throughout the day? And then, when you notice that you have fallen out of this practice, can you gently bring your thoughts and attention back to doing it again?
You may notice that this is not easy and that your mind wanders. It gets distracted by thoughts that have nothing to do with appreciation. Notice what it gets drawn to, and gently bring it back to appreciation again.
Do not let your thoughts tell you there is nothing to appreciate because this is not true, no matter your circumstances. There are countless things in life; your life to appreciate if you take a moment, slow down, and notice.
Therefore, I encourage you to challenge yourself today and try it. Then perhaps you will do it again tomorrow and the next day until it becomes a way of living that brings more peace and joy into your life.
Most of us have experienced irritation for one reason or another in our life. This irritation is a clue about our unconscious programming. Remember, everything that irritates us can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves. When we watch our reactions, responses, feelings, and thoughts about other people and events, we are given an opportunity to make a shift in our field of awareness. This shift allows us to let go of our unconscious programming, which releases the behaviors that no longer serve us.
First, make a decision that this is your intention, then begin to notice each time you become irritated. Sometimes you may not see your irritation until after the fact, and that is OK. The important thing is the recognition of the irritation, not when you notice it. As you continue this practice, you will eventually feel or hear your irritation right when it happens.
Irritation will make itself known to you through your thoughts, a feeling or a sensation in your body. Once you become aware, notice or remember what was said or happened to make you irritated.
Remember this exercise is not about beating yourself up because of your behavior, you are already doing this each time you get irritated. Irritation throws your body into an uncomfortable state, changing your mood, blood pressure, heart rate, and many other physiological changes occur. This is about letting go, just notice, reset your intention to notice your next irritation and move on. Over time, you will let go of the energetic pattern (behavior), and your True Self will rise to the surface leaving you more relaxed and peaceful.
Original post 3-26-2014 edited and reposted 12-10-2018
When things get tough, we are often stuck in thinking continuous thoughts about our difficult situation, and we are unable to break out of this unhelpful thinking. At some point, a moment of clarity will show up, and you will hear these thoughts. At that moment reach for a thought that feels better.
When you do this, you will find that The Universe will respond differently because of your effort, and your intention. Yes, you may fall back into the darkness of your thoughts temporarily, but remember each time you reach for something that feels better you will release a piece of the dark revealing more light.
Eventually, this massive field of darkness that you thought you would never find your way out of will reveal the light again. The dark never destroys the light, and it only hides it until we focus on it. Remember whatever we put our attention on becomes visible. This is not new age gibberish; this is quantum physics in action. This is how life works, and you always have a way back to the light if you look for it.
So remember to reach for a thought that feels better when things do not feel right and watch how the Universe responds to your effort to feel better. Staying in the dark is optional, and it is your choice whether to live there or in the light.
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 beunder its control. Too many are clueless to this, however, with awareness, anyone can awaken to this self-imposed con artist, our very own thoughts.
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.
Our biggest opposition to living this life fully is the person we have become, which is called the False-Self. When we bring awareness to the False-Self, we can let it go and reconnect with the True-Self. Once again connected with the True-Self we feel the presence of the Divine within.
If this is something you are drawn to, then you only need to begin by bringing awareness to your thoughts and beliefs, pay attention to your actions and question them.
Each time you forget, bring your attention back from wherever it has wondered and start again. This repetition will build a habit and begins to release the False-Self with ease and grace.
If it feels hard, it is because you are resisting in some way. Perhaps you beat yourself up for forgetting or you have latched onto a thought that says it is hard or that you cannot do it. If any thought does not support your intention, then the False-Self has taken over and you only need become aware of this unsupportive thought or belief. Now you have a warning sign for when the False-Self is in control. This is an opportunity, not a problem. There is no need to get upset, just reset and follow your True-Self out of the darkness and into the light.
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.
Do you find yourself in a constant push to have some magical spiritual experience or perfect spiritual connection? If you are, then you are impeding your ability to experience the very thing that you seek. What you are looking for you already have, it is your birthright; it is who you really are. Remember you are a spiritual being having a human experience, not the other way around. We were born to experience and enjoy this life here and now. If you allow joy in and let the hardness of your search go, perhaps you will find what you are looking for and realize that you had it all along.
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.