Remember that awareness is not just about noticing what is going on around you but also what is going on within you. The mind will use thought to distract you and tell you that something more important is going on out there. What is essential to uncover is not what is happening out there but what arises within you. We must notice how our thoughts guide us unconsciously. The only way to do this is through awareness. Remember that Grace supports us always, so there is nothing to fear. If you want to be free from worry, stress, and anxiety, use awareness more consciously.
Please test this out for yourself and pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day as often as possible. Do not let your mind tell you otherwise until you try it.
Notice when you get lost in thought and how the mind distracts you repeatedly. As you exercise your awareness muscle, it will become more robust, and through this newfound strength, we anchor more into the present moment.
As we journey down the spiritual path, we find countless options to wake up, become the person we think we should be or find enlightenment. We can even believe if we connect with our divine self, we will finally be free from problems and live in endless happiness. Sounds good, right, but is it true?
With so many options, we struggle to decide what to do. Should we take this workshop, read that book, or work with this person or that practitioner, etc. For some, this can become an addiction with the mind supporting you every step of the way. It will tell you what a great job you are doing. It will tell you how you are better than those who do not do this exploration. It will tell you that you are so close to getting there, only to have that mark moved year after year, decade after decade. Sound familiar?
And yes, you have made progress, you know that you are different. And yet, something still does not feel right or complete. You thought you would be further down the path and even arrived at your intended destination by now.
This continuous shopping around becomes a ploy of the mind to distract you. The thought that you must reconnect with your real nature seems complicated, something separate from you, even distant. This thought is another distraction, another lie.
Thoughts arise that tell you that you are so close; if you only go to this next workshop or do that next thing, you will finally feel and be the way you want. So, you take the workshop coming home on a high. You feel so good about what happened, what you learned, what you let go of, and your progress. And then it happens, someone does or says something to you, or perhaps something insignificant happens like misplacing your car keys, and you get upset, maybe even angry. You say to yourself, but why, I have done all this work on myself. Why is this still happening to me?
You must realize that what you have been doing is not working in the way you thought or intended when you started your journey. Even though everything you have done has added value to your life, it has not done what you thought it would, and if it hasn’t by now, will it ever? You must see this if you want to wake up; otherwise, you will continue to follow your mind’s guidance and schedule that next workshop or appointment. Understand that I am not telling you not to do these things. I am saying to do them with awareness, and not out of a compulsion that they will be the answer to what you seek.
We are talked out of doing things by our thoughts all the time, even when they for our highest good. Have you ever wondered where those thoughts originate? Have you noticed they are unsolicited and appear out of nowhere? If that stirs something in you, then start observing your thoughts, and it will lead you to remember your real nature, which is and has always been with you. The thought that you must find it is a lie. Direct experience of your true nature helps, but it is about remembering who you are, not finding something outside yourself.
Prove this to yourself, do not take my word for it, or believe it is true. Just having a belief will end up being more thought and distraction through the mind. Look with the intention to prove it to yourself. You have a choice to identify with whatever thoughts are coming up now and telling you this is nonsense or that it will not work. Or you can observe what is arising and choose not to identify with it. It is your choice, not the minds.
When it comes to having a direct experience of our true nature, the paradox is, we find what we are looking for when we stop looking. Your mind does not have to accept this for you to know the truth.
Note: To help you see how subtle the mind’s deception can be, if the act of observing is observable, then the mind is once again playing a trick on you. When we are in our true nature, it cannot be observed from somewhere else; that is impossible because there is nothing outside of it.
If you want, take a moment to get quiet, see if what I have said in the paragraphs above applies to you, maybe you already know it does. But if not, find a quiet place, somewhere free from distractions. Draw your attention down to the heart area of your chest. You can even place your hand there to bring your attention from the head to the heart if you are having trouble.
Know that the truth will not come to you through your mind in the form of thoughts, and it will not come from all the knowledge you have acquired. It will arrive directly from your soul, consciousness, Divine Creator, or God if you prefer. It will come in the form of insight or direct experience.
Become empty of thought by keeping your attention in the heart area. If any thought arises to distract you, notice that it is observed, and let it go. The key is not to identify with it. If you don’t, it has no power. Body sensations, emotions, or images may come. Notice that all of this is observable.
More thoughts will arise, that is a given. They might say I do not know how, or I cannot do this, etc. Stay connected to observing what is happening, instead of being in the movie, watch it play out. Do not identify with anything, and do not imagine. Now the mind may come in and say this is hard. You observed that as well, now let it go.
Once you feel ready, ask any question you want. For example, from what was said above, is this true for me? Perhaps you will hear a reply, feel something, or come into more clarity. If it seems nothing has happened, be watchful of your thoughts not getting caught in a new story. Trust that something has happened and watch over the next few days to see if anything is revealed or changed in some way. It will not come through the mind but will reveal itself in a moment of insight. You already know what it feels like when the truth is shown to you. You just know somehow, don’t you?
Unsolicited thoughts are not your friend. You must notice this undesirable habit of automatically identifying with your thoughts. They should be observed and questioned by bringing awareness to them; then, they will lose their power over you. One question you can ask yourself is, do I know this to be one-hundred percent true?
You are not your thoughts, and when you identify with them, they rise to power and begin to control your disposition and the direction of your life. No thought can pull you into a story without your consent. The more you bring awareness to them, the less power they have, and eventually, you will be grounded in the present moment again.
Note: Do not try to stop your thoughts; this will only keep you trapped. Many of you have wanted to do this during meditation and failed. The aware and awake do not identify or attach to thoughts. Then they do not hang around. They float by like a cloud in the sky instead of turning into a storm.
How much time do you spend on the what-ifs of life that never happen? How different would your life be if your unsolicited thoughts did not drag you away from the present moment? How much more energy would you have to be present with what faces you now? Know that where your attention goes, your energy follows. How can you create or manifest what you want when your energy is depleted or is directed toward the very thing that you do not want in your life?
The first step is to use your awareness to notice the automatic and endless flow of these unsolicited thoughts. No one can do this for you. You must be willing to begin to pay attention, step out of the stories your mind tells you through these thoughts. Become the observer, and watch what is happening. Your mind may say, how do I do that? And I say that you already know how to do it, so trust that you do. Any thought that says you cannot do this, or you do not know how is observed, isn’t it?
Few dare to do this, so know that you are among a courageous few if you do. Be kind and gentle to yourself when you slip, and you will falter from time to time, particularly in the beginning. However, if you stay with it, things will only continue to improve in your life.
Please do not take my word for it. I want you to have a direct experience that this works, that is the only way you will know the truth of what I speak and use it. So, try it out if you dare. What have you got to lose except a few thousand or so of unsolicited thoughts per day?
Does something feel missing in your life? Do you feel called toward something different or more meaningful? Are you continually searching for the next thing that will bring you the peace, joy, and happiness that you desire? Do you find yourself doing, doing, and doing until exhaustion, then trying to squeeze in time to enjoy life? Do you hang onto memories of the past and dream of better days to come?
Many experience life like this and ultimately wake up one day wondering where their lives are going or went, and this awakening becomes the motivating force to create something new. The misstep that happens is that we believe we must embark on a long journey to some place new — not realizing that what we are seeking is already here and does not need to be created.
What if your searching, which has offered you incremental change toward your desired outcome, somehow is simultaneously keeping you from your intended destination? Can you see this happening in your life? Does your intended destination always seem so close, yet somehow you never arrive?
The surprising solution is so simple that many think it cannot possibly work, and therefore, it is often overlooked. Is it possible that you are so trapped in personhood that you have lost the ability to see the truth of who you really are? Has your doing, doing, doing kept you from being able to just BE in life, to be present in the moment?
For some, this will sound silly to the mind, and especially so to anyone who has never questioned who they are. All I ask is that you ignore your mind just this once. Ask yourself this question if you are having trouble understanding where I am pointing. Has your mind throughout your life produced thoughts that were always true and helpful? If not, then please keep reading.
The following insight will tell you when you are actually in the moment, which is something you can confirm for yourself. When you can be present, in the here and now, the moment, thoughts are not perceived.
We have all had times like this when we do pay attention to our thoughts, and they seem to be gone. For example, when we are in awe of a sunset, or we experience so much joy that we lose track of time. In these moments, there is nothing to do and nothing wrong. We are one with what is and fully present. We become still inside and full of peace. It is only when we fall back into personhood that thought once again appears.
Of course, afterward, we THINK that living every moment in this way is not possible because we have to make a living or we have to take care of the family, or we have to… Like a dog chasing its tail, we continue looking for something that seems elusive. We keep searching to find that thing that will recreate our experience, not realizing that it is always here. We have forgotten it is our natural state, just to BE.
The truth is that living in the present moment is not about creating anything. It is not about taking a journey or changing anything. We are so attached to our thoughts that we cannot see this, and we THINK that being present is about practice, a ritual or hard work. We fail to recognize that we are more than just the body and this life as a person.
You cannot figure all this out through the mind because it will get in the way of you seeing the truth. It will make you THINK that you already know or you are getting close if you just do one more thing. Finding your way out of this mind-trap is simple; however, letting go of years of conditioning and habitual thinking is not always easy for most of us.
Therefore, if you truly feel a calling to go deeper and have direct experience of this truth, you must be vigilant and bring more awareness into your life. Life does not have to be so serious. Suffering comes from the attachment to thought and the desire for a different outcome than what showed up. You know when this has happened you have become too attached to personhood and lost awareness of your True-Self, your real nature. You will only find stability there because everything associated with personhood is unstable; it comes, goes, lives, and dies.
I am not asking you to believe me or to acquire more knowledge. Test it out for yourself, because it will only be through direct experience that you can build the strength to ignore the misdirection of your thoughts. Use your mind when you need to and stop believing everything it says. Become aware of its rambling, and your life will become full of joy and peace. Return to your real and timeless state.
All things connected to personhood come and go because this is how our human existence is experienced. Therefore, it is only natural that you understand that your thoughts also come and go.
Disharmony arises when we put too much attention on pointless thoughts, which when noticed flow continuously throughout the day. Once you put your attention on any random thought, it will carry you away from the present moment to some godforsaken place.
Our beliefs, which are created by this habitual thinking, also distract us from remaining in the present. Do not misunderstand; we need some of this mechanical thinking because it releases us from consciously having to think about routine matters. However, to be continuously carried away from the present moment by something that is fruitless only leads to confusion and suffering.
Becoming aware of this useless thinking is the first clue that will lead you to something better and to what is real and true. If you want to be free in life and peaceful, you need to let these thoughts go and stop following them down the rabbit hole.
The way back home is experienced when we remember not to follow the thoughts, then they no longer hypnotize us, and we can experience our original state. Notice that something can observe these thoughts. Have you ever asked from where are you able to watch these thoughts?
When we believe these worthless thoughts continuously and wholeheartedly, they create a delusional story that feeds the ego and keeps us stuck in life.
This is not something you figure out intellectually, and it does not happen through acquiring knowledge as the mind would have you THINK. To come home again, we must enter the silence of our natural state, the place that never comes and goes. You will know this place because it is always stable, unlike your mind. Is it from this place that you are watching the thoughts?
If you begin today to notice how your thoughts carry you away from the present moment, I promise that you will start to break your lifetime habit of falling down the rabbit hole. The practice of noticing alone will begin to break the obsession and one day awakens you to the beauty of your true nature once again.
In the beginning, the mind will struggle with your attempts to stop following this addictive thinking. Just remember that disturbing emotions, misperceptions, and confusions are not in accord with the nature of reality and your true state, they are signposts that you are on the right path. If you continue, eventually the minds fight to remain in dominant control will begin to weaken and at some point, you will no longer need to pick up every thought as it floats by wanting your attention.
Notice I am not telling you the thoughts will stop, only that you will have no interest in them. You do not have to struggle or get somewhere special, have a unique or powerful experience as the mind thinks to awaken. Just follow this simple practice of letting the thoughts go and see for yourself if it is helpful. You have nothing to lose except perhaps some of your disharmony, and maybe one day you will see that what you seek has been here all along waiting for you to wake up.
Most of us think about what food we put into our bodies. Of course, we do not always do a great job, but at least we try. However, many of us never think about what we are putting into our minds, and we are feeding it all day long with negative information and repetitive thoughts that keep us from being in the moment and present with those we love.
You know what I am talking about; we even start forming our response in the middle of someone else’s thought, without really listening and giving them a chance to finish. Pay more attention, and you will see that what I am saying is true.
Finding our True-Self through inner exploration is more important than any scientific discovery, invention or creation by man. If we do not take this responsibility seriously, we will continue to destroy the planet and ourselves through the choices we make.
Our choices arise from a foundation created by our conditioning and the person we have become, not our True-Self. The True-Self is free from all conditioning. This conditioning gets passed down from generation to generation within our race, gender, family, country or any other group that we belong. If we continue on our current path without any correction in our thinking or actions, the planet will continue to deteriorate, and we will keep fighting wars until we self-destruct, whether these wars are internal ones or with each other.
Bringing awareness to our thoughts and actions, and questioning them will begin to release this conditioning. Know, that our conditioning, like a bad habit or addiction, will not let go without a fight and we must be vigilant in our efforts to expose it and free ourselves. If we do not bring the light of awareness into our lives, then we are destined to be oblivious to this conditioning and held hostage by it.
If you think you are already free from it, I would ask you to question that thought because your conditioning may be deceiving you. Also, when your thoughts say it is too hard or you cannot or do not need to do it know that this too is your conditioning anchoring in and protecting its place in your life. You always have the power and ability to release your conditioning, no matter what your current situation is in this life.
If you are sincere in your wish to release it, then your unbending intention to question your thoughts and actions will begin to shine a light in the corners of your being, exposing what needs to release. You have nothing to fear or lose except that which you no longer need.
There is nothing more important in your life than freeing yourself from this conditioning. When our guidance comes from the True-Self, we lead from the heart, and our efforts will be for the highest good of everyone. Can you see the possibilities once we rise to our full potential and enter the flow of natures organizing intelligence?
I know it is possible to live in a peaceful world where everyone can flourish together without fear. What do you think?
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.
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.