That the birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. (Chinese Proverb)
Very true, but how can we stop worrying and reacting to everything that happens.
Modern life’s message would probably be to take a chill pill; an anti-depressant. Pills are often a quick fix, needing little input from us and often disregard side effects of the drug.
If we acknowledge that we have continual thoughts every day of our lives, we know that thoughts play a big part in our life. Yogis call our mind – a monkey mind – chatter, chatter, chatter. The issue is that often our thoughts are repeating and negative, day in, day out. And what we think we become. This is how we create our life.
The challenge is to know that we are much more than our thoughts. As Deepak Chopra says, ‘we are the thinker of our thoughts.’ We need to be aware of our thoughts and know we are much more than our thoughts and we can change them.
Our salvation is to go beyond our thoughts to a place of stillness and silence. To a place of peace where there is no worry, fear, anger, sadness, stress of living. This is our own sanctuary which we all have within us. When we then act from a place of peace and love, our world changes. We act differently. Others act differently towards us.
How do we do it?
We bring awareness to what we do. This sounds so easy, but it is the hardest thing to do in our lifetime. But with focus, intention and awareness we can change our lives. We can all can do it. It is our birthright.
Let’s look at three questions
What is awareness?
Awareness is bringing attention to what we do. How often are we thinking of the next thing we wish we had time for, or looking forward to our next weekend or holiday, or wishing the task was finished, or worrying about what we did in the past or what someone else did to us etc. Often our thoughts are not on what we are doing.
We can go right through life, not being aware. It is sad, but when we finish our life, we haven’t truly lived it.
Why don’t we bring awareness to what we do?
We are not taught how to. Our society teaches us that happiness is more money, which will give us more choices and enhance our life, and then we will be happy. Everything we need is within our reach – outwards – holidays overseas, new car, big house, restaurant meals.
But what if we were taught that everything we need is within our reach – inwards. Who wouldn’t want to be able to go beyond their incessant thoughts to a place of nurturing, peace and love, so that we can deal with whatever life throws at us?
How can we be aware?
Awareness happens when we start to notice what we think and how we act.
Start with our breathing – pause and breathe.
As you breathe in say silently to yourself –
- I am breathing in. I am breathing out.
- I am following my inbreath. I am following my outbreath.
- I breathe in calm. I breathe out tension.
- As I breathe in, I am happy. As I breathe out, I smile.
Do this as often as you can. It trains our mind to become aware. It becomes habitual.
Start to notice your thoughts. Be aware of habitual negative thoughts. Once you are aware, you can change them.
Sit quietly with yourself in silence – even for a few minutes a day. Negative thoughts will come up. Be non-judgemental about them, be aware of them and let them go.
If we want to change our life, we can. No one else can do it for us.
The real journey in life is within. Then we can enjoy the life outside us.