consciousness

Older But Not Necessarily Wiser

QuailIt would be nice if becoming another year older meant you actually became another year wiser.  But I have not always found this to be the case.  As I approach my birthday I’ve noticed that I can look back at my younger self and learn from an understanding that I had once gained but later lost.  On a smaller scale, there are some days when I really feel in tune with the rhythm of life, and others when I am lost in the darkness of my own ignorance.

How is it that wisdom and understanding come and go so easily?  They are measured by the degree to which you are present.

When you choose to be the witness of your thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, environment, you inhabit the space where all knowledge and inspiration reside.  When you are strung along by habitual thought patterns, you step out of the flow of life.

In the moment you become aware of your breathing, of the beating of your heart, you are wiser than anyone could ever aspire to be.  May we all meet there together.

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consciousness

What The Trees Are Telling You

TreesDuring a storm a tree sees its branches whipped about by wind. Leaves fall off. Rain drenches its limbs. The sky turns dark, but the trees don’t go inside. They stand there bending, breaking, bearing the brunt of the weather. Yet not all of the tree is touched, not every part lives outside.

Inside, underground, spread the tree’s roots. And while storms rage all around it, the roots remain unscathed. The roots’ only experience of the storm is the nourishment that makes its way in.

Weather the storms of life like the trees. Bear witness to the force of the outer circumstances that shake you to your core. Feel their immensity. But remain inside. Be the roots; for part of you too remains untouched. And watch, as all the rain that pours on you becomes life-giving nourishment to your soul.

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consciousness

The Story Of Your Life

The ProphetIn the center of fear, unhappiness, uncertainty, or grief there is a witness.  There is a silent space, so imperceptible that no molecule of pain can penetrate it.

In this space, the witness is you.  You’re in a soft comfortable chair, smiling, as you read a book entitled, “The Story of My Life.”  Even though you haven’t finished it yet, you aren’t worried.  You know that in the end, you turn out just fine.  After all, you are sitting there with the finished copy in your hands, knowing you end up completely whole.

In the thick of turmoil the mind may think it is unnatural to be at peace or to feel gratitude.  But there is nothing more natural, nothing more true, because that peace is you, and you are the truth: you, the silent smiling witness to the adventure of a life in the midst of being lived.

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consciousness

Thinking vs. Doing: What are you responsible for?

ACIM

We all have a perfect view for the bizarre parade of our own thoughts.  As this both random and repetitive display barrels ever on, we are constantly presented with a choice.  We can sit back in the lounge chair of our consciousness and witness this interesting spectacle as it passes, or we can pick out whatever catches the eye and hold onto it, even follow it off in its own direction.  Whether or not your thoughts are pleasing and true depends on which particular section of the parade is passing you by, but no matter what kind of thoughts you have, you can always decide which ones to believe.

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consciousness

How To Know If You’re Being Present

RumiOn my walk home from work tonight I looked up at the moon and thought, “I don’t have to accept everything about my life. I only have to accept what I am experiencing at this very moment.” I then suddenly tripped over an uneven crack in the sidewalk and just barely caught myself from falling. This startlingly answered my initial train of thought: thinking about being present is not the same as being present.

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consciousness

How To Complain

Have you ever let go of a persistent unhelpful pattern of thought?  As I’ve attempted to let go of automatic thought patterns I’ve noticed that my mind has no shortage of other patterns that work just as efficiently as fuel for thought.

One of the easiest thought patterns to get trapped in is complaining.  Complaining can be effortless, especially when it involves a situation where a correction really needs to be made.  But situations can be righted in ways that don’t create personal blame, negative energy, and food for more autopilot thinking.  A helpful question to ask before complaining about a situation is, “Am I taking this personally?”  Right away a space is created between your reaction and your conscious self.

I’ve been too excited about the rebroadcast of Oprah and Tolle’s A New Earth web-series, and I love the following video because it so clearly lays out the two ways to complain, their consequences, and how to end up with your desired outcome.

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consciousness

The Pros and Cons of Mind Reading

Thinking MindHave you ever wished you could read minds?  It seems like an incredible super power. There are some obvious perks: you’d do very well on game shows that ask trivia questions, and you’d know what the silent teenager across from you at the dinner table was actually thinking.  But the gilded idea of mind reading would very quickly become exposed as a major disappointment.

Our minds operate according to the same structure, with different content for each person.  The mind uses the content of your life to fuel its never-ending cycle of thought after thought. It also efficiently uses those thoughts to build up momentum for its continued operation.

Even though it seems logical to base your thoughts about another person on the thoughts they have or share with you, in reality they are a human being who also happens to contain the same thought-creating machine you do, and more often than not that machine is running on autopilot.  Mind reading would only end up telling you what content that person’s mind uses to fuel its incessant thinking, and not who that person truly is.

Can you tell which thoughts you consciously choose to entertain versus those that randomly fire of their own accord?

If I am honest and aware, I can tell that the majority of my thoughts are produced by a mind on autopilot with no actual prompting decision to engage in thinking.   I don’t consider this a failure, rather it is liberating!

When you can watch your thoughts and notice which ones were on purpose, and which ones were involuntary, you can choose to not take the autopilot thinking too seriously. The more you notice involuntary thinking, the more you are able to choose thoughts that are of some purpose for you instead.  Thoughts of worry, fear, judgment, complaints, and attachment are then seen for what they really are; firmly established patterns of the mind that fuel its autopilot mode of thinking.  They are nothing to take too seriously in yourself, or in others.  Now the mind is no longer using you, you are using the mind.

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