We get to choose in each moment what we are focused upon. For most of us, however, there are so many distractions clamoring for our attention it’s easy to lose focus. Our minds are undisciplined and our attention often gets pulled off in directions we don’t necessarily consciously want to travel. Every now and then we can see the big picture, but most the time we are caught in the minutia of daily living.
All the while, in the background of our unconscious, we are running scripts and programs that are contributing to the creation of our reality. It is not possible for us to be conscious of what these are at all times, but in our moments of awareness we can start to work with what we see. We can uproot any “faulty” programming we observe, plant new seeds, and practice mindfulness and self-compassion.
When we bring our consciousness and awareness to the thoughts we are thinking, we can make a choice in each moment if those “thought creations” are what we are wanting. Our ultimate power lies in our ability to choose. The more time we spend in our awakened state, the better choices we make and the better seeds we plant.
However, this is not to imply there is necessarily a “better” or “worse” choice. What if there were no mistakes? What if everything was divinely orchestrated and we were where we needed to be? What if, no matter what choice we made, it was leading us to something wonderful?
Herein lies another opportunity for us to embrace paradox: Finding this balance between making choices and accepting what is without judgment. Embracing and loving everything that comes into our reality without the need to label it as “good/bad, right or wrong.” At the same time, making the decision about what we would like to bring in next by making a choice as to the feeling quality of the thought we are thinking.
In our moments of seeing the big picture, one of the challenges we face is seeing a fear or concern we have with what is happening in our lives. If we’ve studied the law of attraction or new age thinking, we then conclude “as long as that thought/worry/fear exists in my mind as a potential reality, it remains a potential reality.” We then go about trying to change or get rid of it.
The minute we do this, we’ve stepped out of being our aware self. Because the aware self can hold all of our experience without needing to change anything. This is what makes new thought so dangerous. Because it has the potential to pull us far out of acceptance of what is and into a need for things to be different.
If we believe we are going to create that fear or worry, then of course letting it be is nearly impossible. What many of us can instead practice is a sort of living in the moment of allowing and accepting, while also making a new choice. The new choice doesn’t come from pushing against or trying to move away from something. It is a choice to move towards loving.
Each moment of our attention, each train of our thought moves us from this moment to the next in such rapid fire succession that we forget this opportunity to be fully here now, choosing love. The irony is that we can’t actually be anywhere else other than fully here now, so the language we have to talk about it is very limited. We can, however, be unaware of being in the present and of the choices we are making.
What often goes missing in all this is our emotional connection. If we spend our time in an intellectual psychological head space, we may lose touch with our feelings. One of the challenges we face then is to balance both our intellectual awareness and our emotional experience.
Caution is given here, however, not to insinuate that there is a state of being where we can always be aware and choosing love in every moment. This ideal sets us up for failure. It is actually not possible for our minds to consistently remain in awareness of either our psychological process or our emotional status. Thinking we can achieve this or setting this as a goal can keep us in a perpetual state of perceived failure and disappointment.
Awareness is something that is much easier to come by when we get away, have time to ourselves, go on retreat or sit in meditation. The rest of the time life is coming at us incredibly fast; stuff is being thrown into our awareness and our consciousness in each moment at an overwhelming speed. Ideals of always being aware and emotionally connected don’t take this into account.
They are a nice ideal. It’s a nice dream. But is it realistic? Can we live with that day to day as we go about the everyday dynamics of getting cut off in traffic, dealing with a rebellious teenager, or being yelled at by a spouse or co-worker? Not to mention the multitude of other things happening in each day which can pull us off our center.
So then, what are we to do? We are faced with this dilemma of having these moments of awareness; of deep consciousness. We have a desire to be aware and a desire to choose love in each moment. We also may now have the understanding that it’s not possible. So, what is left?
Ultimately what we want is to enjoy our lives. We want to be able to wake each day and feel the enjoyment and appreciation of every moment. We want to be able to go to bed at night with a smile on our face and sleep deeply. We want to feel safe. We want to have love and deep connection with the people around us. We want to feel we make a difference.
Therefore, we’re not likely to give up on our search for consistent happiness, or desire for the discovery of some means to change the way we look at things so we’re experiencing more of what we want. We can hear the message that life is full of ups and downs, we can understand it’s not possible to always be in our aware ego state, but most of us will not be dissuaded from trying to achieve our ideals.
The best we can do is to simply be gentle with ourselves and others. We can keep returning to our intellectual awareness and dropping down into the heart of our emotions. We can allow life to unfold as it will and do our best to accept what is, while making choices to move in the direction we desire.
It’s a day-to-day process. It’s a decision we return to over and over again. It’s what living is all about. Sometimes we’ll get it and sometimes we won’t. Can we let that be okay?
What if there were no mistakes? What if everything was divinely orchestrated and we were where we needed to be? What if, no matter what choice we made, it was leading us to something wonderful? What if, indeed….
Shannon Crane is a writer and speaker passionate about sharing how one’s focus, feelings and perspective influence the quality of life. She is currently developing A New Life Perspective course and leading a national movement for Sacred Caregiving. You can join her Facebook community, read her blog, or connect with her atwww.yourlifeperspective.com.