Pelican, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
We begin by realizing that our lives no longer work for us. We start to understand that we have been programmed and have been acting in accordance with our conditioning. We grow tired of being fearful, angry and uneasy. We careen from desire to frustration, remembering painful memories from the past and imagining an uncertain and frightening future. The things that used to make us feel better no longer work. We are terrified of illness and death and we dread getting older. We finally ask ourselves whether there is another way to live? An answer immediately comes to us: "There is!" This is the beginning of awakening.
Once we decide that we want to live another way, all of the tools necessary to awaken will be offered to us, if we will only open our eyes to them. The answer is simple. We need only recognize what we already are, Pure Awareness. Pure Awareness is our attention without judgment or beliefs. Once we align our attention with the Awareness that permeates all things, we will finally achieve clarity. Doubt, insecurity, fear and unhappiness will fade, and be replaced with wisdom, peace, joy and love.
There are many means to live mindfully. Everybody's path is different (of course, as we travel down the path, we will soon realize that there is no path). We should choose the tools that best suit us. Nobody can tell us what is best for us. We can figure that out for ourselves. The tools are endless: We might find a meditation class or a book that will teach us how to meditate. We might try yoga or Tai Chi. We might find our true selves in nature. We might learn how to bring our attention away from compulsive thinking and into the present moment. We might temporarily learn from a teacher, although if we stay too long with one, there may be a danger that we will associate awakening with that person. Ultimately, we will tread down the path alone.
Let's wake up and live the life we choose to live.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Stony Batter, Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Let's be present.
The first step to awakening is for us to have the desire or intention to awaken. We may have had experiences of deep connection and wanted to continue that feeling. We may have hit the depths of depression and are finally willing to give up our conceptions about how we think things are.
Once we establish our intention, we can utilize the tools that are readily available to allow us to awaken. We choose the tools that resonate with who we are. We may bring our attention to our breath in meditation, practice loving kindness like the Dalai Lama, or simply consistently return our attention to the present moment. There are many tools available to us. Once we have our intention, the Universe will meet us halfway and present opportunities for us to awaken.
We usually have to be disciplined to constantly keep our attention in the present. The pull of our conditioned thinking is very strong. Our programming started at birth and continues today. We are conditioned from all sides, every time we interact with a person, watch television or play a video game. It takes discipline to remind ourselves to stop our compulsive thinking and bring our attention back to the present.
It takes courage to become aware of the pain and fear which we have repressed for years. It also takes courage to leave behind all our thoughts and beliefs, which establish our identity and connect us to our various tribes.
Let's be present.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
We criticize others in order to feel superior. If we belittle the other person, it makes us believe that we are better than that person. We also label what we see to reinforce our belief systems. By putting what we experience in a box, we feel safe in knowing that everything is accounted for. This feeling of safety covers up our feeling that we are not in control. By labelling and criticizing, we are trying to assure ourselves that we are safe and in control.
We judge ourselves as well. When we criticize ourselves, we are reinforcing that feeling of insecurity. However, when we brag about one of our attributes, we are also reinforcing our insecurity. If we really believed that we had the attribute, we would feel no need to brag about it. We brag about it only because we want to believe that we have it. We want to believe that we have it because we know that actually we do not.
We can live in harmony with the flow of life by experiencing the world with Pure Awareness. Pure Awareness is bringing our attention to our interaction with the world, without judgment or labels.
Let's experience the world just as it is, without judgment or labels.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Asakusa Festival, Tokyo, Japan
By bringing our attention to the present moment, we break our connection to compulsive thinking. The pull of our thoughts and emotions is very strong. It will constantly pull us back into being lost in thought if we are not vigilant.
If we are disciplined, we can reverse the polarity and have our default setting be presence, rather than compulsive thinking. We can spend less time lost in thought and more time living in presence, where we are in harmony with Universal Intelligence. Our lives will immediately change. Our anger and frustration will disappear. We will become more peaceful. Our enemies will no longer be our enemies. We will no longer feel alone. We will be connected to a larger way of life.
Every moment presents a new opportunity to be present. We can be aware of our steps, what we are speaking about, what we are feeling. We can feel our chests rise and fall with each breath. We can see the world with new eyes, by suspending our labelling and judging and seeing things as they really are. It does not matter if we are in the city or in nature, although it is sometimes easier to stay present in nature. We can see beauty, even in the busiest and noisiest city.
Let's be present.