just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Why Awareness to Our Thoughts is Critical to our Success

Published on 02/04/16
by randy


Without awareness to my thoughts, they carry me away. When I’m carried away in thought I lose my balance. When I lose my balance and alignment I’m much easier to push over. My reactive mind is now much more vulnerable to making a mess of things. And when I’m trained in witnessing my thoughts I can better see how they’re making me feel. Are they feeding my negative emotions or positive emotions? Are they pulling my present moment attention from its center? If they’re negative thoughts feeding my emotions of anger, jealousy, hate, anxiety, etc., I may say, “I feel bad”. If they’re positive thoughts from compassion, gratitude, success, belonging, praise, pleasure, gain, etc., I may say, “I feel good”. In either case, we can feed these thoughts which feed the emotions. Yet, at some point we notice how the feeling changes. The good feeling praise has blame just around the corner. Failure is just behind success. Feeling accepted has rejection somewhere in its future. Just when we think we have it all it can be taken in a heartbeat. So the real spiritual question is, “How do I feel when things don’t go as expected?” Can I hold my balance and center in the midst of life’s changing winds? How do I meet diversity and those who challenge my map of the world?

The more I practice the art of awareness, witnessing my thoughts and emotions, increasing sensitivity to their transient nature, the more freedom I find when returning to the beauty of the moment. I love the phrase, “Beauty is always there, always ready to be noticed, even in the most dreadful of circumstance.” Some have called this, “Making space to find the gift in the given.” Essentially, when I can release thoughts of the past which have captured me I can find my strength to hold balance. Dropping the linguistic stories in my head, returning to the nonverbal sensory/perceptual experience opens a portal to a deeper life experience. It allows me to drop my fixed identities of ‘who I am’, letting me see that it’s an absurd question. I’m not all the linguistic labels I carry, and yet I’m not nothing. I like to say I’m “awareness residing in this body”. With an open, curious mind this awareness sees how thought works. It observes flexibility in nature. Wherever I turn I can witness allowance vs. resistance, tension vs. relaxation, persuasion vs. dialog, balance vs. imbalance. Meeting diversity, my small notion of a fixed self may be scared. As awareness I see it as opportunity to learn.

When I eat without awareness I can see how my belly grows. This has consequence to affect my posture and results in back pain. Witnessing my thoughts of frustration, I work to let them go and find gratitude for the perceptual gift given. I thank the belly for the sign. I thank the back for the pain signal that motivates me to more mindfully consume. I find great joy in the relief of the back pain as the extra belly weight diminishes. I’m filled with gratitude for the practice of awareness, sensitizing me to how the body/mind changes moment to moment through thought and emotion. I’m elated for the contrast of “what I don’t want” vs. “what I do want”. In brief, I want a balanced, aligned mind/body that carries more and more a sense of “well being”.

So how do we carry a growing sense of well being when in the midst of another political campaign? I have to carry gratitude for all those out there focused on what they “don’t want” because they help me better put attention to what I do want. Politics is about persuasion and the “I know that” mind. Closed minds are forever engaged in combat about what they think is right. I’m much more interested in the ‘yes’ mind focused on what it sees moving forward. The political party of “NO” has gifted me the energy to more deeply ask what I do want. It’s clear that when we attempt to change others to agreement with us they just dig in deeper to their contrary position. If I’m to truly influence the change I’ve imaged, I first have to have the courage and skill to empty thoughts of being right. My success in this endeavor is dependent upon my willingness to meet diversity with an open mind, ready to receive their positions of vast difference. I can witness their negative emotions and hear their negative thoughts and with enough training I can hold balance and alignment, holding the felt sense of well being. It’s the felt sense of well being, fed from compassion and gratitude, that opens the other to diversity. When I try to push without this I’ve found that I almost always make things worse. In that case, when I’m not solid on what to say, it’s almost always better to just not speak.

Life is conditional. There’s definitely cause and effect. I only have control of my thoughts and emotions and following actions. I don’t have control of your thoughts and emotions. I can only invite you to go exploring with me as we mutually try to better understand the territory from our very limited maps. This is the difference between monologue and dialogue.

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