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As we close out this year, I share a message that has been prevalent on my heart and mind, and I have seen a similar one mirrored back to me through many others.
We are in a time of change; and in all actuality we are ALWAYS in a time of change, but we are really FEELING that change and the uncertainty that comes with it, right now. We are feeling the change of the season from fall to winter; the increased chill and time spent in darkness and indoors. We are feeling the shift into holiday season, and perhaps spending more time socially and less time in contemplation and reflection with ourselves. We are still feeling the rippling out from the reaction to the Presidential election and countless other world events. We are feeling it all.
If we turn to the news or (much of) social media, we can see how we collectively react to this uncertainty: with fear. We react by shutting down, closing out, narrowing in, and holding on. We default into old familiar patterns of what and who feels “safe”. Even when we act it can appear as though we are reacting from an “us v. them” mentality. What can come of this chosen mindset? Greater separation. Greater fear. Greater burying our heads in the sand (or pie, or reality TV, or meditation) and hoping it will all blow over soon and things will get ‘back to normal’.
And I believe it will all blow over, eventually, for a while, and then there will be an upswing again. Most of the great Teachings teach us that life ebbs and flows that way. One possible way to react to this constant flux is to believe we have no control anyway so we just check out and stay at a distance from it all; another way may be to blast that fear out by fight, fight, fighting, for what we believe in and what we want to see. Many of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle; restless but inactive. Could we take pause, breathe, turn inward, and reflect on how we are contributing to how we feel and what we see and from there, listen to what action feels aligned?
We’ve (likely) heard it many times, “your perception creates your reality”; but stop and let that soak in for a minute. What are you seeing most days? What are you feeling and experiencing? What are you focused on? How are you reacting? Can you make the connection from what you see outside of yourself and what you’re choosing to focus on, internally?
If, as a collective, we are seeing a lot of anger, acting out, separation, forcing, fighting, and darkness then as a collective, we are holding a lot of fear thoughts in our minds and projecting that outward. In other words, we are kind of expecting the worst in humanity, and then seeing it as ‘true’. In psychology we call it “self-fulfilling prophecy”: you see/create what you are focused on internally. It’s a hard concept to grasp because most of us have never been shown how powerful the force of our thoughts are, for better or worse, and getting in touch with that takes practice and a sense of trust in the process. If you doubt that your thoughts have any power, well, that is a powerful thought that will show you what you expect to see (that it had no effect!).
Perhaps you’ve tried some of the many challenges out there: a 21-day gratitude challenge, or self-love challenge. At first it can feel “cheesy” or inauthentic, but as you coax your mind into it, perhaps you begin to feel lighter, happier, and you become more aware of what’s ‘good’ in your life while the things that really used to send you over the edge don’t elicit such a strong reaction anymore. All that was required was a willingness to see things differently; a CONSCIOUS CHOOSING OF POINT OF FOCUS. When you choose to focus on the good, it grows; when you begin to ignore or react less to what doesn’t feel so great, it decays. Your brain literally rearranges and the world you see CHANGES as a result.
So, if we are in a time of visceral change that can feel daunting and create a sense of helpless, what can we do? How can we move forward with an intention, with a focus, that will serve the Highest Good not just for the “us” in our lives, but for ALL BEINGS, EVERYWHERE?
Start by getting to know your inner world. And by inner world, I mean your thoughts. When you get quiet, still, and observe, what thoughts are taking up the most space in your mental field? Without trying to change that, notice how those thoughts influence the events of your day and your experience of them. Notice, just by how you think, you are creating the world you see. And if you would like to change that, for yourself, for your family, for your children, for the good of all, begin the brave journey of choosing not to give the thoughts of anger, judgment, separation, control, fear so much power. Approach it through showering love, forgiveness, and compassion onto yourself. “I forgive myself for that thought, I choose love instead”.
See yourself as the small child you once were, and how he/she didn’t know many things and was just trying to do the best she/he could. You are still that same small child, we all are; much is still unknown, we’ve just accumulated more experiences that influenced our thoughts to be one way or the other. Begin with a commitment to choose to be the love, to see the love in your mind, in your body, in your world. As you do, you give others the permission to do the same. As many of my teachers have been sharing recently, “it only takes one candle to light a dark room”. In the space of your homes, your workplaces, your communities, your holiday gatherings, choose to be the candle. Commit to whatever practices and routines you find necessary to keep your light bright and share your wisdom, love, and light with all you meet. THAT is how we will change the world.
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May all beings be safe, happy, healthy, free of suffering, and experience peace of mind.