"We are not trying to solve a problem. We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control all together and letting concepts and ideals fall apart." -Pema Chodron
Lately, I have been taking my own advice. I mean, I always live and breathe my work because it is a part of me, but I have been playing detective more than usual. I have been internalizing concepts and ideas, questioning my thoughts and actions, and really watching myself - mostly how my mind and my thoughts manifest themselves into physical responses. My quiet and subtle analysis of my work over these past weeks has made me think of perception and perspective.
Several years ago, I was lost. Lost in my physical body, lost in my mind, lost in relationships, lost in myself. I felt like every day I continued to downward spiral deeper and deeper down a black abyss with no chance of ever escaping. A miraculous series of events (an amazing woman, a book, and study-more details to come in a future blog!) saved me from myself and gave me a new perspective of my life. Once I climbed out of my hole, I opened my eyes to the way I was living my life; I acknowledged the problem so I could fix it. I ACKNOWLEDGED THE PROBLEM SO I COULD FIX IT.
I realized that because of the way I perceived situations and thus reacted to them, that I was causing my own grief, misery, and insanity. I looked at myself when a fight ensued in my household. I looked at myself when I was angry at someone else for what they said to me, did to me, or how they looked at me. I looked at myself when I felt anxious, guilty, or bored. I looked at myself when...well, you get the picture! I held myself, or my mind, accountable for every emotion or negative feeling that I experienced. A quote that I carry with me is, "How others treat me is their path; How I react is mine." The word 'others' can also be interchanged with "unexpected situations, unplanned events, the world."
See, when we are children, we are taught certain ways of thinking, values, morals, etc., depending on the culture, society, and time period in which we are born. These thought patterns ebb and flow as we grow and our patterns of thought often lead us to negative states of being, which lead to negative emotions, which cause us much pain and suffering. We are not even aware that we inflict all of this pain and suffering upon ourselves, simply by how we live in, think about, and view this life. The old adage IS true; we are our own worst enemy.
The following ideas on the science of the mind will open space within you and allow you to shift your perception of life situations and break free from your typical, habitual mind patterns. With practice and mindfulness of the following, you will begin your journey to travel deeper to the truth and dissolve the illusion that we have all been living. As you live each day, practice this: When something is "wrong," recognize how you perceive the situation and see if you can shift your perception using the following teachings.
Impermanence- Employed, lose the job. Birth, death. In love, out of love. New car, car gets totaled. Forms change, just as the sand castle gets knocked over and becomes sand again. Nothing is wrong. Accept that this is simply part of life. To learn is to change.
Balance- Take the middle way with actions, words, and behaviors. "If you pull the guitar strings to tight, they will break. If you leave them to loose, the guitar will not play."
Egolessness- Ego is anything that covers up our natural, basic goodness and blissful nature. Ego covers up our direct, real experience of this very moment. Why do you feel uncomfortable, uneasy, threatened? This is not you. You are in the grip of the ego, which is pure illusion, not real- a story that our minds make up and we buy into what it says to us. Egolessness has complete confidence in the way things are, have been, and will be.
Nonattachment- When we are attached to the way things are supposed to be, to an object, to a person, or anything, we are in the grip of the ego. Let go of what happened and what is going to happen. Be mindful of what is.
Compassion- We are all the same; we are made up of the same material and we all experience happiness and suffering. Cultivate loving-kindness to all living things and human beings- young, old, pretty, ugly, nice, mean, friends, and enemies.
Suffering- We create our own suffering by thinking that we can find lasting pleasure and avoid pain. Because pain is inevitable, we are caught in a hopeless cycle that causes us to suffer. Accept, embrace, and know that pain and suffering will always be a part of your life, and then move on. "We are not trying to solve a problem. We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control all together and letting concepts and ideals fall apart." -Pema Chodron
For more detailed information of these teachings, resources, or questions, email me at Kelly@PamHoltOneToOne.com. As you make life discoveries, share them with people so that the truth can be discovered by all! Let us all become givers, sharers, and teachers of this work so the world may find true harmony and bliss!