“I am crowded inside.” – Pradeep Venugopal
We are, all of us, crowded inside. Echoes from the past. Experiences of the present. Dreams of the future. And the tape loop of all of our thoughts and fears. Myriad possibilities, co-existing.
And sometimes, a cacophony of competing voices.
The challenge is to resist the urge to smother some of the voices. And rather to create a space for different and sometimes even opposing ideas to co-exist. Life is messy, and our desires sometimes contradictory.
No, I’m not talking about some kind of Orwellian doublespeak.
But rather I’m pointing out that all of us have conflicting needs, and sometimes the space between who we’d like to be and who we really are is wide. To accept that this is the case, and simply be with it, while challenging, moves us in the direction of self-acceptance and growth.
Knowing ourselves means becoming acquainted with our own voices, especially the ones that tell us things that we don’t want to hear, or things we’d rather not admit to ourselves.
We have inside of us our own wisdom and power, if we are patient enough to learn to access it.
What if you already know the answers to the questions you are asking?
And if you connect to your own wisdom, and your own power, what happens next?
“Nothing in the world can ever make you happy, because happiness comes from within.” – David Hawkins
I’ve been listening to Healing by Dr. David Hawkins on CD in my car. He presents a scenario: you are sitting in a chair, and someone comes in and hands you a bag of money. You immediately feel happier. But nothing in your life has really changed. You feel happier because you have a thought that reflects the belief that money can make you happy.
Likewise, your thoughts can make you unhappy. And they can be a reflection of limiting beliefs you hold about yourself and the world around you. So, thoughts generate feelings which create and color experiences in life.
Happiness is an inside job.
It may seem like it’s not true at first, but it is. Oh sure, life is easier (and arguably better) when you have good friends, a nice place to live, and a great job.
But true happiness isn’t a feeling state, it’s a being state.
Feelings are reactive, and transitory. If you spend your life chasing a happy feeling, you’re likely to be disappointed.
Think of some of the happiest people you know. I mean the ones who are always up. The ones you feel good just being around. Are they happy because of circumstances? Or because of an attitude and approach to life that reflects an unshakeable inner quality?
Want to start an inner journey towards greater happiness and well-being? Meditation is a good first step. Why? Because a meditation practice makes you more aware of your thoughts, and your thoughts shape your experience of the world. How do you change your thoughts? Start by watching them – the act of observation itself is powerful because it makes you less reactive.
The big picture? Change your thoughts, and you will change your life.
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill
Most of the things I worry about never happen, which leads me to believe that worry is merely a habit, or maybe an addiction. It can be extremely harmful because it takes focus and attention away from the present moment.
The thing is, worries always seem to be legitimate at the time. But we’re really not warding off anything by worrying. In fact, the opposite is true. By worrying we’re feeling into possibilities we don’t want to have happen, which actually have not yet happened, and may not ever happen at all.
One way out of worry is by creating new habits: essentially re-training the mind. The way to begin training the mind is by watching your thoughts, noticing the stories your mind creates. The key though is that the exercise is just watching, not judging. There are no good thoughts or bad thoughts. Just stories, projections on a movie screen. They aren’t real. They can’t hurt you. They are not who you are. And, you don’t have to try to stop them (thankfully), or do anything with them at all.
Thought-watching is a foundational aspect of meditation. It’s become clear to me over the years that many people think of meditation as something that only a few really special people can do. It’s simply not the case. But meditation requires discipline. It isn’t easy or fun. Nobody pats you on the back for doing it. Nobody, in fact, will even know that you’re doing it, unless you tell them.
Will meditation change your life? Probably not in the way that you expect. (And no, it won’t happen overnight.) Meditation is self-discovery and self-recovery. You don’t know what you’ll find along the way, but that’s part of the adventure.