I’d like to dedicate this blog article to three key universal principles which have served me well over the years. Like all inner growth, patience and time are required to achieve inner mastery with these lessons. When a lesson is skipped, the experience returns in another form until it is learned.
With that in mind, don’t rush the process of inner growth. There is no where to get to – for as soon as you arrive, another lesson will appear.
I invite you to practice the following principles in your daily life. Start with one principle and live it until you embody the teaching. You’ll know when the time comes since everything will be effortless and there will be an inner peace and knowing which accompanies it.
1. You are not your thoughts
A Buddhist principle states: you are not the sum of your thoughts, rather the observer of the thoughts. Many people entertain limiting thoughts around things lacking in their lives. I am not good enough; I am overweight. These thoughts lead to a feedback loop of self-deprecating thoughts which fuel our emotional body.
The truth of the matter is: these thoughts do not represent the real you. Do you think great leaders entertain limiting thoughts like these? I think not! They don’t allow them to enter into their conscious mind in the first place. They accept that a truly great person does not think this way. You are a great person. Understand what that means for a moment.
All great leaders started out like all the other people. They weren’t always great and inspiring. Their minds did not allow them to buy into limiting thoughts. They had a vision or goal of being greater than they were. You can create the same life if you choose.
When you become the observer of the thought, then you begin asking the question: Who is having the thought? This allows you to become removed from the habitual pattern that many of us fall into of identifying with our thoughts. We believe that, since we are experiencing the thoughts, they must be true.
Recall in earlier blog articles, I spoke about being the silent witness standing at the shoreline observing your thoughts as though they were waves coming in. Some waves arrive fast and furiously, yet seem to dissolve as soon they hit dry land. Other waves slowly find their way in and also fade away. By becoming the observer, you are allowing the witnessing of the thoughts to take shape.
The witness or observer does not become invested in the waves. He/she watches and appreciates that there are different waves coming in. He/she notices more and identifies less with the thoughts. This allows observation of thought to become habitual.
2. Live in the moment
Many people live their lives in the past or the future. When living in the past, you choose to dwell on thoughts, ideas and beliefs that served you back then. You might hold onto things that happened in the past, to any wrongs committed against you by others, holding onto relationships or beliefs about how your life should have unfolded. This prevents the energy of the moment from unfolding as it should.
For others, living in the future means a sense of anticipation of what life will look like when you…(insert belief here). You begin to project yourself in a future self that may not arrive as you envision it. The future self is escaping from the present moment, since he/she has did not like what came about in their present lives.
To live in the moment requires a great deal of mind training and discipline. Our minds are like monkeys, constantly fidgeting and moving about aimlessly. Our mind wanders from the present to the past and to the future. It clings onto thoughts that allow it to feel safe and protected. It might repeat the same thoughts day in day out in order to feel one with the thought. As we mentioned earlier, this is not the real you. This is the ego part of the self, identifying with a sense of self that is missing or lacking.
Through personal development and self-awareness, you begin to form a connection to the awareness of your thoughts. The conscious awareness leads us from a person who is having these runaway, fleeting moments to one who is aware of it. You must realise that no fleeting thought is who you really are. You are beyond all that. There’s a poignant quote that sums up how we respond to the moment – “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” – Jan Glidewell
3. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Fear can cripple you. Recall some of your fears of: insects, heights, water, public speaking. What happens to you physiologically when you are overcome with fear? Your heart beats faster. You experience shortness of breath. Your pupils dilate. Your palms sweat. Your muscles constrict. Blood pressure increases. These responses are hard-wired within us as we are alerted to ensuing danger.
Sometime throughout your life, this fear begins manifesting itself in other ways which are not conducive to your personal growth. You might have a fear of being in social situations which require you to speak with complete strangers. Your mind assigns meaning to the encounters and drives your body into an uncontrollable spiral of uncontrollable emotions. Anxiety and panic sets in and you feel powerless over the situation. The fear has taken hold.
In these scenarios, the more you fuel the fear by running away from it, the stronger the flames grow until it overpowers you. One of my early childhood fears was of water. I avoided, at all costs, being around water for fear of drowning. I would be overcome with so much anxiety and trepidation that my mother had to accompany me to the swimming pool during school swim training.
Although I managed to overcome this fear of water one summer as I taught myself to swim, the fear managed to find its way back into my life later in adult life. Fear became a theme in many instances. I dismissed it and avoided the fear by not facing the situation which was causing my fear. You see, it isn’t the situation that is the source of the problem. It’s how you respond to it which determines the quality of life.
One day I decide I had had enough and confronted my fear with the help of others. I realised that the fear was present in my life to teach me faith and courage. It was my biggest teacher, not my adversary as I once believed. I experimented with the fear and would do the things I had once feared. Little by little, the fear had less control over me. It was always present and will continue to be present for the rest of my life, yet I chose that day to turn the volume down on it.
The question I often ask myself when fear rears its ugly head is: “What if fear was disguised as love. How would I choose to move forward?” “What would I do differently?” You see, fear teaches you the passage to courage and faith if you choose to dial into its frequency.
There is a remarkable lesson in the fear itself. For those of you reading this, whether your fear is: body image issues, relationships, career, finances, health or other, choose to dial into the frequency of love which is waiting on the other side of that huge mountain which blocks your view. I assure you it’s there.
You must break down the illusion of the fear. It’s a transparency filter that has shades of luminosity to it—much like the one found in Photoshop. You choose to have the contrast up or down. Once it’s set to a lower level, you can see through the fog to the other side where love waits with open arms.
Undoubtedly as you implement these principles, you’ll be faced with setbacks and failure. Go with it. It is part of the journey. These principles serve as a road map for navigating life.
Use them often to discover the magnificence and beauty that life offers when you’re in alignment with your greatest potential.