We All Have Choices, Irrespective Of Our Conditions
“Live life to the fullest. You have to colour outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, and keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”—Albert Einstein
I want to ask you a question, so simple you may not have asked it before: Are you happy? Do you feel a sense of joy when you wake up each morning? Do you look forward to the day or is your outlook filled with dread, worry or anxiety? Ponder this over the coming paragraphs, as I try to convince you why it’s never too late to rediscover the joy of being alive. There’s a great deal that takes place beyond our conscious mind which we’re unaware of. For this reason, it is important we make time for self-enquiry to see what is going on beneath the surface. I liken it to a pot that simmers before it comes to a boil.
By then the temperature has increased, which is indicative of what takes place in our own lives. If a situation is not given our attention, it will simmer beneath the surface and reach a boiling point. It may be difficult to find our way back to peace and harmony because of the disruption to our lives. Some people believe life is difficult and they don’t experience joy and happiness. This is because they are mired in their misery and view any change as unfamiliar. When was the last time you made a choice? Obviously within the last several minutes because you chose to click on the link to this article. But consider the thousands of other choices you make each day—how many are made with clear intention, in a manner that will positively affect your life today?
My point is, we all have choices, irrespective of our conditions, our past and present circumstances. We can choose joy and fall in love with being alive because it is one of the most precious gifts we are given. Something happens to a person at a certain point in their life. They come to appreciate the value of life which can be taken away from us in any moment. When we are young, we have the world ahead of us and don’t think far into the future. But the future arrives quicker than we realise and soon enough we are middle-aged and time has passed us by. Reflect on your own life, and the choices you’ve made that were less than fully conscious. Have your choices affected who you are now? Have you experienced challenging moments or turning points that shaped who you are today?
Remember. Release. Renew
“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” — Jack Kornfield
Whilst it’s said the past needn’t determine where we’re headed, we create a prosperous future when we reference the past through a new landscape. We don’t need to drag it along with us like a worn-out ornament, but see it through the eyes of compassion and forgiveness. We ought to take what is valuable from the past to improve our experience of the future. You are not defined by your past any more than what happened to you yesterday. The past has taken place but from this present moment, it is a figment of our imagination. We cannot touch, see, nor experience it but only replay it in our minds. It was the Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren Daishonin who once said: “If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.” It is why forgiveness and compassion are essential when rewriting a new karmic script for the future.
It is possible to experience exuberant joy and fall in love with being alive, irrespective of what has occurred in our life. The obstacles and challenges we experienced are not the impediments but are in fact the way. Our pain, hurt and misery can be used to heal what is buried within us. As Winston Churchill once declared: “If you are going through hell, keep going.” The way out through pain and heartache, is not to run away from it or stow it deep within our mind, since that makes it come back stronger. To overcome the wounds of the past requires experiencing them in the present moment, through the eyes of forgiveness and compassion. These higher vibrational states, bestowed in love are the soul’s eyes looking at itself, through a canvas of love and equanimity.
To rediscover joy, requires letting go of hurt and disappointments and refusing to drag along excess baggage into the future. I often mention to coaching clients and audience members a three-word mantra to describe this process: Remember. Release. Renew. So, we Remember the past, however instead of witnessing it through the eyes of pain and suffering, we rewrite a new script, through the eyes of forgiveness and compassion. To Release means to let go of disempowering thoughts or emotions associated with the past since we cannot create a new future with these negative states following us. Renew invites us to appreciate the lessons imbued in those experiences, so we can see them through a new lens. If we wish to rediscover joy and fall in love with being alive, we must let go of that which impedes upon this way of life. Only then will we discover the fountain of joy that has been living within us all this time.