When you narrow your focus each step becomes clear. Take a look around at the here and now apart from your story about it, and find that it writes itself. All you have to do is read.
Do you ever feel restless, like you are just waiting for some type of change to happen? Do you ever feel like you want to do something more meaningful with your life or just want to feel differently than you do now?
If so, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not alone! The feeling of being disconnected, or just the slight sensation that not everything is as it should be, is a universal human experience. The bad news is, there is nothing you can do to fix it. Even if some exciting event were to take place in your life, afterwards you would just be back in the old familiar waiting stage.
The amount of time spent experiencing those pivotal life moments that are tangible and obvious pales in comparison to the waiting period. There is more good news of course! You can stop waiting. To the mind that would seem an impossible task. After all, it has so many thoughts about the future that it is waiting for, a future that will never come, because when it does it will no longer be the future, it will be the purgatory of the present. That is the mind’s view of life.
To stop waiting means to stop asking your mind for permission to experience the reality of your present moment. To stop waiting means to allow yourself to feel what happens when you become present and take away the momentum of your attention from the never ending thought ticker playing across the screen of your consciousness.
It may feel uncomfortable sometimes, but that is only the initial experience of the new layers you’re reaching as you delve just below the surface of your present moment experience. Much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to let go and relax as they were being strangled by Devil’s Snare in order to make their way through to the sorcerer’s stone, there is more than the prickly uncomfortable surface experience.
Next time you feel out of alignment with your highest potential take a deep breath, lean into the initial uncomfortable feeling as you come into the present moment, and settle into what is real. In this simple and transformative video Eckhart Tolle puts it much more eloquently:
Do you trust in your own decision-making abilities? How do you know if you’ve made the choice that will lead to the highest potential outcome? How can you maintain trust when people and situations reveal themselves to be different than you initially believed?
This coming week my grant-based job of four years is coming to an end and life is thrusting me into change and uncertainty. In work, as well as in relationships, my mind’s favorite candy is questioning my ability to make decisions that are in my best interest. The voice in my head could live an entire life surviving purely on self-doubt.
When I have difficulty trusting in people or situations I remind myself that I don’t have to trust in any thing, I only have trust in the universe, God, life itself. Yet, sometimes the voice in my head has enough momentum that even this perspective fails to interrupt its destructive thought pattern. This is why I am so grateful for the insight in the following video. It reminds me of what it feels like when my decisions are being guided by the clear perspective of present moment awareness, rather than the clever arguments of the mind. Being able to discern between the two is the difference between peace and suffering.
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.
Does drama seem to follow you wherever you go? Do you just want a moment of peace, but find that it is ever elusive? In my own life I can see moments where unhappiness and drama reigned supreme, and while I genuinely wanted peace, the ego within me lived for and on those dramatic moments.
When situations seem out of control, and your reactions seem like the only appropriate responses to such craziness, take a step back and witness your sense of self becoming all wrapped up in those outer situations. Feel the need to react, and watch the tirade of thoughts that follow. This creates a small space that is enough room for your true self that only wants peace to shine through and provide clarity and equanimity.
I’m so excited that OWN is re-broadcasting the webcast of Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s chapter by chapter discussion of A New Earth. One of the great gems of wisdom from these discussions is this clarifying piece on how to cure an addiction to drama. If you witness yourself complaining, blaming, or discussing the shortcomings of others, (and really who doesn’t), this video is a breath of fresh air:
The following video is not just beautiful and inspirational. It also speaks to the heart of the human experience and the lesson we must all learn at some point in our lives, at the latest when we are about to transition from this world. That lesson is how to be alone. Whether you are physically alone now or not, you are the only constant in the equation of your life, all other variables change. Now is the time to discover that constant self, and now is in fact the only place where who you are can be found.
As the years pass what I want to be has become clearer to me. I want to be consciousness, love, peace, joy, and utterly present. What continues to elude me is what I want to do. Not knowing my outer purpose has caused me to engage in a lot of efforting to “figure it out,” which comes along with the residual anxiety from thinking I should know what I want to do when I don’t yet know. This mental non-acceptance of what is, not only causes suffering, but is also a sure ticket to becoming out of alignment with the present moment.
The other night I received a profound message from a colleague who wasn’t even trying to offer advice. She told me that all through her twenties she kept trying to do what she thought she was supposed to do; she tried to “make it happen.” But eventually everything came together, her outer purpose became clear as day and was not what she initially worked for all those years. For her, this new understanding would have come one way or another, and the years spent thinking she was supposed to have it all figured out would have been much better spent just enjoying herself. Not only would her purpose have presented itself eventually anyway, she said it probably would have become apparent much sooner had she not been attempting to “make it happen” the way she thought it was supposed to.
In the gift of her story I heard echoes of Tolle, “Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” Enjoy the “right now”, no matter how messy that “right now” appears, and how elusive future security may seem to the thinking mind. A seed of joy now will be realized in even greater abundance in the future. A seed of presence now, will grow into your life’s outer purpose.