Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Held Hostage by Emotions

What we feel has a powerful impact on the quality of our lives. When we feel happy, life is grand and it’s easy to stay in a positive mindset. When we feel down, life seems bad and it’s much easier to keep ourselves in the muck of sadness and depression. Though our feelings are powerful enough to sway our thoughts about life one way or another (or is it the other way around and our thoughts are what’s swaying the feelings of our lives) it’s important to remember, the way we feel is temporary.

When something bad happens, it is a choice to dwell on that bad thing that has happened to us. We can choose to learn from the experience and uplift ourselves or stay where we are creating more of the same. Sadness is a choice, as is happiness. When we feel good it’s easier to keep a positive mindset, but not so much when we feel bad. It is at this point that we have a choice to make. We can build a bridge from bad feelings to good feelings so that we can uplift ourselves to a more positive experience. I won’t even go into the alternative.

How do we build that bridge? We do it by finding thoughts and ideas that allow us to have a feeling of wellbeing. And it’s not so much the situation itself that causes issues in our lives, it’s the way we view the situation. So if we are in the midst of a bad situation then the object is to find a way to think a thought that allows us to feel better about it and distract ourselves from the thoughts that make us feel bad. You may say, “But this is avoidance.” Well, why don’t we view it from another angle? We create what we focus on and if we continue to focus on the negative aspects of something we draw it to us. So, it benefits us to focus only on the positive.

This is easier said than done in the beginning, but with practice it can work. The idea is to, not let our emotions weigh us down and wallow in bad feelings. Instead, when we feel these bad feelings, we should take the time, find out the cause of the bad feelings, work to no longer focus on them and instead find something we appreciate, love, or feel good about to focus on instead. In this way we can stop attracting things we don’t want and learn to align ourselves with that which we truly want. It works, if you work it!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

"All of man’s problems stem from his inability to sit quietly with himself."  Pascal

I found this quote to be most interesting considering I have the hardest time keeping my mind quiet. My mind always seems to be constantly going (well… it is) and when I was younger, it used to be busy enough to give me headaches. A busy mind means busy thoughts. Busy thoughts can often mean clutter and/or confusion. We have so many thoughts going through our minds at any given time it can be dizzying. I think part of it comes from our busy (boy I’ve been using the word busy a lot in this post) lifestyles, which seem to only be getting busier and busier.  Instead of focusing on ways to calm things down, we try to figure out ways to cope with our overbearing lifestyles then spend time complaining about how busy we are. After all, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

But, I have noticed that when I find a quiet space of time, where I’m not in the midst of some activity, I tend to feel “bored” and go looking for something to fill my time… but wait, hadn’t I just been begging for some peace and relaxation? Through my reading, I’ve come to realize that, at times, I have been unappreciative. The universe would provide what I’d been asking for, only for me to find away to ruin it (I’m sure no one’s ever done that before *wink*). As I moved further in my studies, I also realized that I didn’t spend enough time listening to the wisdom of my inner self.

Shortly after I had these realizations, I remembered that I already had the key to obtain what I’d been wanting. There is a very prominent meditation, practiced widely through many groups, that helps to clear the clutter so we can really listen to the voice within. I can’t say if it has a specific name, but the purpose of the meditation is to clear the mind of all wandering thoughts, constantly clogging our thought process so that we can learn to just be in the moment… in a sense.

Here’s how it’s done. Find a comfortable chair or resting position where your back and spine are straight for comfort. Then gently close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Your breaths will begin to slow and your body will relax. At this point lots of thoughts may still be coming in and out of your mind. As a side note, we often follow our thoughts and they build and build until we’ve daydreamed an entire scenario based on these thoughts. The idea here is to not allow your mind to focus on any one thought long enough to allow it to grow and get bigger. Just let the thoughts flow in and then out never giving any one thought your specific attention. There is no specific time length for this exercise. I just do it until I feel a tangible sense of relief.

This meditation is by far the hardest meditation I’ve ever tried, however it has always helped to provide the most clarity. When your mind isn’t cluttered with a bunch of random or unhealthy thoughts, the true guidance from within can be heard with much better clarity. When we follow the voice of our true selves only good can come to us and we are able to focus much easier on that which we truly desire instead of that which we are currently living.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Other People’s Opinions

From personal experience I know that a good deal of us (maybe all at one point or another) spend a lot of time viewing ourselves from the viewpoint of someone else. You disagree? What about our parents, significant others, bosses, even our children? Do we not do things to keep them happy? Do we not look into our actions to see if they would be acceptable to others? And what about the idea of respect? Is it more important to behave in a manor that we think will earn us respect from others or in a manner that is, more aimed toward self respect… and don’t say both. What if the opportunity arises where it has to be one or the other, how would most of us choose?

Yes I do realize we live in a world with other people and we want to give some consideration to that knowledge, but how much? I have seen too many, live life practically looking over their shoulders. “I can’t behave in this manner, because someone else won’t approve.” And most of the time these behaviors won’t cause any harm to us, or the others surrounding us. Still, we refuse to follow what we want because it’s unpopular or frowned upon for who knows what reason? Should the opinions of others matter that much that we stifle our true selves under a blanket of false security? “If I behave this way then people will like me or respect me.” Well, excuse me if I’m inclined to disagree.

If people really want to, they will search until they find a reason not to like us. Worse, there is nothing we can do about it. We can bend over backwards trying to make ourselves into an acceptable person according to other people’s standards, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll like us. Moreover, why does it matter so much? If we truly love ourselves for who we are, then wouldn’t we spend more time trying to be the people we think we should be, instead of what someone else thinks we should be? If we truly cared about our own personal wellbeing wouldn’t we nourish and care for ourselves in a manner that’s best for us? When we really take a moment to think about it, what is the true reason we care so much what other people think? Is their opinion really that important in the grand scheme of things? Can they live our lives for us? Is someone else to be the judge of what’s best for us when they can’t even walk in our shoes? There is a fine line between taking healthy advice from others who care for us and letting someone else run our lives for their best interest. Just a little food for thought.  


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quote of the Week

[I] can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.” Morpheus (The Matrix)

One of my favorite quotes of all time. This quote is (in my opinion) a statement of responsibility. Over the course of our lives we have many teachers who appear to us in many forms, parents, school teachers, spiritual guides, friends, etc. Most of them try their hardest to relay to us messages that on some level we have been asking for. Often I have realized that teachers are challenged to give their students information they don’t like or want to hear, even when the students know it’s valid and applicable to their lives and wellbeing.

Often when things are difficult for us we try avoid those things that cause us discomfort. The bill collectors, calling for the money we don’t think we are able to pay them, the significant other making demands we don’t feel we can fulfill, the expectations others and we have for ourselves that seem too grand to measure up to. I have seen time and time again where people (myself, first and foremost) have tried to avoid things they thought they wouldn’t be able to handle. We often, unknowingly, try our best to avoid that, which could give us the most growth, while at the same time asking how we can obtain more growth. Interesting, doncha think?

We go to people for advice all the time, but usually what we are hoping for is reassurance that what we are currently doing is enough. So, it causes conflict when our guides or teachers once again bring to light that which we have been trying to avoid… then when we decide to see the truth of the matter (usually after much of life’s poking and prodding) we say, “Well why didn’t you tell me this sooner? It would have saved me a lot of headache.”  I just usually laugh. It is not until we are ready to take the plunge, that we start to, consciously, make the necessary moves to get us going in the right direction.

No matter how hard we wish it, no one else can live our lives for us, regardless how hard we want to avoid certain experiences. When we try to avoid something, out of fear or uncertainty, we tend to focus on that very subject we’ve been trying to avoid in the first place. Hmmmm, something to think about. The point is, no one else can do for us that which we need or want to do for ourselves. It just cannot be. If we want to expand, we must be the ones to take that first step and be willing to breach the “unknown.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Minding My Own Business

You already want to hurt me, I can tell, but hear me out. In our everyday lives, we spend a lot of time with other people, family, colleagues, friends, associates, etc… But at times I feel we become too immersed in the lives, problems, drama, issues of others. It’s natural to care about others (well I think it is) and it’s natural to care about what happens to them, but when the events of their lives begin to have long term effects on our lives in a negative way, things need to be reevaluated

So often, we become so engrossed in what someone else is doing, we start to have intense emotional reactions. This is a flashing red light, a big fat warning, an indicator that we have started the process of attracting something to us we may not want. At this point, we should be stopping and taking a deep breath to analyze whether we are bringing something we want or something we don’t want. This is not to say, we can’t empathize with people we care about, (or people we don’t even know) but when we begin to allow their experiences to effect our points of attraction, we need to take notice and possibly action to insure, that while we are working to uplift someone else, we are not dragging ourselves down in the process.

Then there is the situation where we are “against” what someone else is doing. We take a stand, get all up in arms, feel the need to vent our anger toward that which we are against. Yet again, we must take a step back and remember that our thoughts (and only our thoughts) create our reality. So, in giving our focus to those things we don’t want, we are actually activating a thought pattern about it in our own experience and beginning the process of drawing these unwanted things toward us. Have you ever noticed how fighting against something you don’t like makes you feel bad? Sure, when we’re in the midst our self-righteous fight mode, going against this bad thing we don’t like, we think we are doing the right thing, but usually the whole ordeal contains a negative underlying tone, meaning I am immersed in something I really don’t like. Even if you are fighting against it, you are still giving your attention to it and filling your head with thoughts about it.

So instead of fighting against what we don’t want, I propose being for something we really do want. Do you sense a feeling of a relief as soon as you think that thought? I am going to direct my thoughts and energy towards something I do want. I am going to immerse myself in something I do want. I am going to encourage actions, thoughts, activities and events that are for what I do want. Instead of being against hunger, I am going to work to help people get the nourishment they need. Instead of fighting against disease, I will focus on wellness and perfect health. Instead of fighting against war, I will focus on peace. If focusing on what you don’t want only brings more of it, then why focus on it all? Instead, just place your thoughts in places and toward things that make you feel good and you will be surprised at the new ways the light is shinning upon your life. It’s been working for me so far. Just a thought.