“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.
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.
What we place in our imagination is more than just an empty thought, it becomes our reality.
When one assumes the feeling of a wish fulfilled, they are imagining the feeling of how it would feel if they already had the things that they desire. One can do this simply by asking themselves the question, “how would I feel if I already had it?”
Once one has a clear visualization of what they are striving for, they can then bring all of their attention towards envisioning that for themselves; focusing only on their highest expectations instead of the “how” it will happen, thus allowing the process of manifestation to unfold on its own.
And of course as I like to remind myself, infinite patience produces immediate results.
(This post was inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled)
This quote can apply to so many different things in life, so it is important to know that there is no one-right-way to decipher this principle, as it is subjective regarding the way in which it applies to each own’s individual journey.
Guide your attention towards being within the present moment, be content with what is.
For me personally, nothing is more important than being content within the present moment. Once one learns how to be satisfied with what is, or in other words, once one learns how to simply be, then awareness and inner peace have room to move in.
It may sound simple, but bringing all of your attention to the present moment is not always an easy task.
Like anything that can be mastered, it takes practice. Our mind consists of many thought and reactive patterns that are constantly playing through our heads on a daily basis. Sometimes we become so used to these thoughts and ways of reacting that we don’t even realize they’re there playing in the background.
We often forget that these thoughts are just thoughts, not who we are. When we take on thoughts as our identity instead of a passing production of our minds, we’re allowing our egos run the show and therefore slip into a negative cycle of judgement towards a part of ourselves that doesn’t even really exist (except as a mental construct within our own head), which often leads to more unnecessary suffering.
When one becomes conscious of the present moment, they simultaneously become aware. If you practice meditation, one way you could identify this awareness as a reference is as “the space between,” that calm and peaceful sensation that arises between each passing thought.
To forgive and let go of the past, to cease placing so much importance on the future, to be here now at all times, to be content and satisfied with all that is, there are many different paths to presence, but the goal is all the same.
This post was inspired by Eckhart Tolle, one of my greatest influences.