Many of the negative emotions that we experience come as a result of reacting. Even if there is nothing external to react to, we may be stuck in patterns of reacting to our own mind activity, reacting to our own thoughts.
“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
– Eckhart Tolle
It is so easy to fall into cycles of judgement towards our own mind activity, especially when thoughts arise that don’t align with our highest desires or expectations, and once we are stuck in these cycles it is often difficult to see any way out through the shrouds of illusion. But, it is important to highlight the key word here, illusion.
(Although this is in regards to our internal, this goes for external circumstances as well.)
If we attempt to fight or judge an illusion, the illusion will only grow, for we are then feeding it our energy and attention, we are then reacting to it. We are the masters of our own minds, not the other way around. The only power our minds have over us is the power that we give it.
No matter what though, love and compassion never cease to overcome all forms of negativity. It may sound cliché, but it is true nonetheless.Often the simplest of truths are the ones that are closest to it. My advice, from my own personal experiences is: Always choose love, and there will be no regret.
“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.”
– Nancy Willard
I’m sure that many of you have heard the saying, “sometimes the questions are more important than the answers,” as have I; Before I realized the extent to how true and impactful this message actually was.
For example: Whenever I feel feelings such as fear or anxiety arising within me, I simply ask myself the question, “What am I so afraid of?“Whenever I ask myself this question, all feelings of fear and anxiety dissipate within me.
Another example is when I catch myself having a difficult time being genuine or authentic with my words, or simply not sure which direction I want to go in. Whenever I feel this way, I pose to myself the question, “What are my true intentions?” Whenever I ask myself this question, a sense of clarity comes over me, and I am able to honestly work towards and communicate my goals and expectations.
These are just a couple of examples that I use often within my own life, but the power of questions don’t just apply when asking questions to myself, but sending a question out to the universe as well. I have found to be true that whenever I send a question out into the universe, even if the answer may not be direct, I always receive an answer in some form. Although from my own experience, I would say that the simplest and most effective way to use the power of questions to benefit one’s life is by posing them to themselves.
One does not have to verbalize the question that they are posing to themselves out loud in order for it to have a positive impact, asking the question in the form of internal thought is just as effective, if not more.
The possibilities for the questions that can be posed are endless, whether it be from something as vague as “What do I want?” to something as specific as “What am I feeling?“. At the end of the day, pose whatever question calls to you! We are all on our own individual journeys and thus are looking for our own individual answers that relate to our own individual experiences, so we will all have very different questions to ask, and that is the beauty of it.
The truth about self-discipline is that one simply has to do it. There is no thinking when it comes to making decisions that honors oneself, they either make it or they don’t.
There are many spiritual and metaphysical practices as well that require self-discipline like: yoga, meditation, journaling, educating oneself, and so much more. (although self-discipline can be practiced throughout anyone’s everyday life)
The more one practices making decisions that are aligned with their highest intentions, the easier it will then become to make these decisions. When one remains consistent with their word, then these decisions are no longer a struggle to make; they then become automatic, ingrained as a pattern within our subconscious.
For me in the beginning, I can admit that I had to force myself to become accustomed to such practices of self-discipline. Although looking back now, I am grateful for the ways in which I pushed myself to reach my highest potential.
Below, I list some of the healthy ways in which I was able to establish self-discipline in order to better myself.I hope it helps.
Getting to Know My Patterns
We all have patterns that run through our minds on a daily basis. These are the same patterns that influence our behavior, as well as the decisions we make throughout each day.
These patterns can be something from eating a sugary snack with a cup of coffee every morning, to smoking a cigarette whenever stress hits, to procrastinating every time one has to do work that disinterests them.
Yes, eventually the intention may be to reprogram these patterns to something that serves us, but nonetheless, the first step is simply becoming aware that these patterns even exist. Once we are aware, we can then take the steps to stopping these patterns through self-discipline.
Stop Playing the Victim Card
One of the most difficult shifts to make, yet also one of the most impactful, was realizing that it was time for me to stop playing the role of the victim and to take accountability for my actions.
As I became more and more aware of how much I unconsciously played the victim card, I also realized how much power I gave away in the process of doing this. I wanted to rise up to my true power, yet I was simultaneously contradicting myself by claiming to be a victim.
To make this shift, I first had to realize that I could not pick and choose when I created and when I did not. I had to make the connection that I was in control of the experiences that I brought into my life. If I wanted to accept the good, then I also had to take accountability for my mistakes.
This aspect of adding self-discipline to one’s life is so important, for it involves honoring one’s own words and intentions. To be consistent with your word is to keep the promises that you make to yourself.
It is so easy (and also very common, it happens to the best of us!) to begin a practice or to set an intention for ourselves in order to establish a set routine, just to have it discontinue as time goes on.
Of course it is never intentional to discontinue said routines, but we often tend to forget soon after, or sometimes manage to find an excuse in order to make ourselves feel better about discontinuing.
The truth of the matter is that being consistent simply requires dedication, determination, and yes, self-discipline. But the good news is that one does not have to rely on anything external in order to implement whatever routine it is they would like to establish, because no one has the power to push and motivate you more than yourself.
The initiative I took that helped me the most when it came to being consistent, in addition to simply taking action in the present moment and doing what it was that I wanted to achieve, was dropping all excuses.
I then made the connection that if I was going to maintain self-discipline, it would be for me and my own good; To love and honor myself through genuine and consistent actions (and although I am speaking from my own personal experiences, this can go for anyone).
Making the Right Decisions
Lastly, it cannot be broken down into a simpler form: Make the right decisions.
As I stated above, I realized that making excuses for myself was simply a waste of time. If I wanted to make the right decisions, I came to the conclusion that all I had to do was make them.
This may sound simple, but that is only because it is. I would spend so much time thinking about whether I wanted to make a decision or not, that I would end up making no decision at all; Or I would simply allow my impulsivity to take control and make the decision that I was used to (which was often not the one that served me).
I then reached a point where I was tired of my own excuses, and was hungry for change.
No matter what though, through it all, one must not forget to love themselves unconditionally through the process, and to remain patient and forgiving with oneself as they continue to practice and learn.
So I encourage you all to be the best yous that you can be, because we all deserve to be our best authentic selves. All my love, I hope this helps. Namaste.
“Just listen,” is not as easy of a task as most make it out to be. Listening is an art, a skill that can be mastered.
How does one listen? I have always found it interesting that from a very young age, we have constantly been told to “listen” and to “pay attention” without ever being taught how to. Even as adults, we so often neglect the importance of what it truly means to listen.
Listening is an art, and trust me, it takes a lot of practice. There are a lot of aspects that come into play when listening to another speak.
Investing All of One’s Attention Into Listening
I would consider this to be the aspect of most importance when it comes to listening to another. Directing one’s attention towards one thing at a time requires intense focus, practice, and self-discipline (especially within the fast-paced society we’ve constructed for ourselves).
When listening to another, it is of utmost importance to give them all of your attention within that moment. If one is simultaneously attempting to complete a separate task, or if their mind is wandering the entire time, then their attention is not being fully invested in what the other has to say, and they are therefore not listening.
Being present goes hand in hand with investing one’s attention into what the other has to say. If one is not fully present for the other, whether it be focusing on what is to come, or focusing on what has already passed, then they will not be able to comprehend the message that the other is trying to convey within that moment.
To be present with someone is to be grounded within the moment, to connect on a deeper level; A level deeper than the identities and mental-constructs of what we expect others to be. It is important to do this so one can accurately become conscious of what the other is actually trying to communicate, instead of formulating one’s own misinterpretation of what the other was originally intending to express.
Maintaining an Open Mindset
If we hold onto the assumption that we already know what the other has to say, then we are also implying that whatever the other has to say is not important, or does not matter.
I always remind myself that regardless of what the other is trying to communicate, their feelings are valid, and they deserve to be heard. This does not mean that I have to agree with or believe everything that they have to say, but by no means does it suggest that I have to disregard their thoughts and feelings.
One cannot truly listen to what another is trying to communicate if they have already established a presumption in their mind of what they are going to say. If one listens with an open mind, letting go of all preconceived notions and expectations, then they will be able to effectively hear the message that the other is attempting to convey to them.
Acknowledging the Beingness in Another
Lastly, acknowledgement is so powerful. It is important to acknowledge the beingness and conscious aspect of the other as you are listening and present for them. The other is not simply an object existing only to serve, the other is a living, breathing, human being with thoughts, feelings, and perception just like you and me.
Once one practices becoming aware of the fact that how we treat others is equally as important to the way in which we treat ourselves, and that what others choose to express to us is equally as important to what we have to say, we then are able to communicate from a place of compassion and higher awareness rather than placing the importance only on the points that matter to us and our own objectives.
To live in a constant state of gratitude is to be content with all-that-is.
Only when we make peace with all-that-is are we able to rise above, or overcome all that we consider to be negative in our lives. The situations within our own personal lives that we consider to be negative are only negative because we choose to perceive our circumstances through that lens. When we create a shift and recognize the reasons to be grateful for all that we have, we then begin to realize that where we are is actually pretty good!
Give to receive. That is law.
Whatever we give is what we shall receive. Whether it be love, judgement, fear, or gratitude; Whatever goes around comes around.
The power of living in a state of gratitude typically tends to be pretty underestimated. I’ve found this aspect of my life to be so important now that the last thing I say before I go to sleep and the first thing I say as soon as I wake up in the morning is “Thank you.”
When we teach ourselves how to be thankful for all that we have, we also open ourselves up to allowing and receiving that same type of positive energy. If we only focus on the things that are “wrong” in our lives, then that focus will allow those types of experiences to continue.
I know how easy it is to slip into the ego’s tendencies of complaining about all the things we claim to dislike in our lives. I know how easy it is to slip into thinking about how good our lives would be “If we just had…“, and I know how easy it is to slip into negative ways of thinking when things don’t go our way; But it is still our choice whether we want to focus on the positive or the negative.
It is, and always is, that simple of a decision.
Some ways that one can practice living in a constant state of gratitude are:
Starting a Gratitude Journal
This can vary from writing a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for every day, to keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude.
Saying “Thank You“
This can be saying “Thank you,” right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning, to simply becoming aware of saying “Thank you,” to people in general.
For Every Complaint, Find Gratitude
Every time you catch yourself focusing on complaints, become aware of at least one thing that you are thankful for. Make the shift.
These are just a few examples that work for me, but like always, the list can go on forever and it is important to follow whatever path works for you personally. All my love and best wishes, thank you.
The moment one “tries” to be a certain way is the moment they get lost in the process.
The beauty of simply being is that one doesn’t have to try or do anything. This is what some would call, “going with the flow”. It is the art of intentionally transitioning into a state of allowing and acceptance.
When we try to act, or even think a certain way, we are also unconsciously establishing the implication that we have to do in order to be.But we are already complete as we are.
Although it is important to recognize that through this natural process, awareness is powerful.Being is not simply giving up and falling into a state of unconsciousness, in fact, when we are in a state of being we are becoming more aligned with our higherconsciousness. When we allow things to flow naturally, it is important to do so with the presence of awareness so we also become conscious of the things that were once running behind the scenes as unconscious patterns.
So being is not simply a doing in order to gain a temporary sense of relief from our lives, it is a way of living. Once we begin to live life in this constant state of flow, it creates the shift into becoming our natural state. There is no more trying, there is no more “If I could just achieve this, I will finally be complete,” there just is, and that is a beautiful thing.
To observe thoughts without judgement or criticism, only with the presence of love and compassion, is to become aware of the truth that thoughts have no power over the way we feel, unless we allow them to have that power through reaction and ego-identification.
Of course no one would consciously want to give their thoughts the power to cause them suffering, that is why it is unconscious behavior. When one brings their awareness to the fact that thoughts do not have the power to cause them suffering unless they react to them, they then become conscious of it, and it is then no longer an unconscious pattern.
Some get as far as becoming aware of the thoughts that arise, but then lose this awareness by falling into unconscious reactivity; such as convincing themselves of “I should not be thinking this, I am wrong for thinking this” or truly believing that the thought has something to do with who they are (ego-identification), thus inducing emotions such as sadness, anger, regret, or fear.
The thoughts that we tend to react to the most are usually linked to a negative false belief systemthat we have recurrently convinced ourselves to be true (even if it is far from what is true), which then becomes ingrained within our mental structure. This false belief then influences unconscious cyclical patterns of thinking that we assume we have no control over, but we do.
When we begin to sit with these thoughts and look into why they arise, instead of fighting against, resisting, and trying to avoid them, we can then bring our awareness to the root cause of why these thoughts make us feel the way they do, and make the shift from unconsciousness to consciousness.
Presence not only has to do with becoming aware of perception and the activity of the mind, but becoming aware of the energy within the physical body as well. Although our essence is the formless aspect of our being, we are also connected to and inhabit our temporary physical forms that exists here within this collective reality.
To learn more about this connection between the form and the formless, one can look into concepts such as Chakras, Kundalini, and Tantra. (These are just a few examples that have helped me, but there are many more).
It is important to treat our bodies as our temples, and remember to not neglect this aspect of ourselves.
Resistance of the flow happens when one allows fear-based thinking and negative emotions to take control, which causes suffering. When one ceases to resist and allows the natural flow to occur within them, without judgement or retaliation, inner peace takes over.
To make inner peace is to cease the fighting within. To allow, to forgive, to accept, to love. There is a saying that we usually make ourselves own worst enemies, that is to say, we judge our minds and our own egos the harshest. The things that we tend to judge in others, whether we’re aware of it or not, is usually a reflection of how we feel about our own identities.
We all inherently have the desire to come from a place of authenticity, but that is a difficult task when most of don’t even know how to be honest with ourselves. This is not usually intentional, but we have trained ourselves so well to avoid thoughts and feelings that make us uncomfortable that, for most of us, it has become ingrained within our mental structure.
When we become aware of the reason behind why certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise, instead of falling into the self-constructed pattern of judgement and escapism, the path to freeing oneself of the suffering connected to these certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings then becomes apparent.
We then realize that these thoughts, feelings, and emotions only have the power to effect us because we allow them to, because we give it our attention, whether we’re aware of it or not.
To fall into identification with things like thought and emotion is to allow thought and emotion to determine and have power over how we feel, and this includes how we feel about ourselves. This is to resist the natural flow of what is, to resist all that is love.
When we allow these things to flow through us without judgement or fear, only with the presence of love and acceptance towards anything that arises, we then allow it to come and go, to pass through us instead of holding onto it with our attention. We then learn how to let go, and let flow.
When one begins to practice unconditionally loving them self, they are also nurturing a positive relationship between their mind, their body, and their being.
Unconditional love is not something that can be obtained, or a goal that is to be reached. Unconditional love is something that we as human-beings are constantly learning how to practice and cultivate within our own lives.
So many of us often create limitations for ourselves by reinforcing self-constructed negative belief-systems, like patterns of self-doubt and self-judgement. In my personal experience, it feels much better to work towards letting go of such a mentality, and to give yourself a break.
One thing I have learned is the importance of making myself aware of the fact that itis okay to make mistakes, as long as I am able to perceive these mistakes as a lesson to learn from instead of a grievance with the power to hold me back from growing.
Instead of holding such high exceptions for ourselves, as if we’re not human-beings with imperfections, we should work towards being more compassionate and understanding towards ourselves, as we can then more genuinely express compassion and understanding towards others.
It is not selfish to prioritize yourself; if anything, once one practices loving them self unconditionally, they can then radiate that love to others, and share it with whomever they decide to share it with.
You are already complete as you are, you don’t need any external validation to determine your self-worth, and that is truth. ♥
Patience, forgiveness, nourishment, making peace with being alone, a nice warm bath; self-love takes many forms, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to what works best for one personally, based on their own personal life-experiences.
Trust in whatever feels right for you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.