It's not about raising the bar by expecting more out of yourself, your family life, or the world you live in. It's about totally removing the bar, setting yourself free to live a more joy-filled and satisfying life.
Over the course of our busy lives, in between family, work, and dinner parties, we have precious few moments to sit down with a hot cup of herbal tea or frothy coffee to reflect upon our lives. But, when we do, let's be totally honest with ourselves -- it can be brutal.
Our thoughts are pretty limited to the context of what society (and our relatives) have to say about us as judgments. Begin to observe your own thoughts and notice how many innovative thoughts you actually have each day, or if you are recycling the same ones over and over again.
But, then something miraculous happens. On your way home from a lovely evening out, dusk's rising luminescent moon captivates you and you experience a moment of ecstasy and utter peace. All is right with the world--and you weren't thinking about a thing. You were just alive--and brilliantly so!
What does this tell us about our thoughts? Do thoughts propel us to our highest potential, contributing to our happiness? Or do they in some way keep us locked in a cycle of limitation?
You might think the solution is to smother negative thoughts by piling on more positive ones--as many self-help books recommend--but it goes much deeper than that. Most of our thought processes are habitual and just plain part of the package of being human.
"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." -- Albert Einstein
Attempting to retrain the mind at the level of thought is a tedious process. Positive mantras and affirmations are helpful in that direction if you are going through a particularly difficult time and need moment-by-moment self-care.
It's also beneficial to know that thoughts are a useful tool that is bi-polar in nature, meaning for every development, you can create a positive and a negative story about it. You may pick more predominantly positive stories to tell about yourself, while others pick more negatives stories.
This too is part of the human condition. Thoughts can be very useful but contain only incomplete bits of information. Just having this simple understanding alone may empower you enough to prepare you for what is becoming a game-changer in lives all over the world:
More important than whether thoughts are positive or negative is transcending thought for mindfulness. This is where you begin to unlock your infinite potential as you push through self-created boundaries that limit personal fulfillment and happiness.
Mindfulness is to place our awareness fully onto what is happening in the present moment without projecting an imagined future or dwelling over past history. Now you are finally able to break recursive thought patterns that are holding you back, creating spaciousness for something new to enter.
Spaciousness is where the magic in your life remains as unformed potential! Just as the silence between the notes in a song invokes a sense of the mysterious, the next note in your life lingers as undefined until you play it. This spaciousness is critical as it does not contain positive or negative charge.
Whatever challenges you are facing in your life, whatever disappointments, or even if you would just like a fresh new perspective on life, open yourself to your new song by becoming a blank sheet of paper, allowing inspiration to fill your pages. Inspiration is a higher form of awareness or consciousness than the ordinary awareness that automates our day-to-day lives.
Letting go of, rather than just lifting, the "bar" of self-limiting thoughts for mindfulness, is living your life's highest authentic truth. This is the greatest gift you can offer yourself and the world. When you live your highest truth and potential, self-fulfillment is the gift automatically included as part of the package.
Despite what the world will try to tell you, happiness is your natural state. Giving yourself permission to be happy and fulfilled based on what is real, rather than fleeting or imagined, gives others permission to step into their own peace and happiness.
Mindfulness is key to the self-realization that you came into the world already fully equipped with many gifts to share. Here are seven guiding lights to assist you toward becoming your authentic self.
1. Slow life down each day. You may have already experienced various forms of mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or immersing yourself in nature. Even going on a walk is a form of mindfulness. Life itself is immensely satisfying when we let go of unrealistic expectations and enter into the "Zen" or flow of life.
You've been practicing mindfulness intermittently throughout your life without knowing it. Recall those moments and how you felt a sense of calm and well-being within your body. Notice how balanced your world became. Consciously choose to make time to create spaciousness each day.
2. Thoughts are linear. Attempting to solve thoughts with more thoughts was Einstein's definition of insanity. Move beyond whether the glass is half empty or half full, tapping into the eternal and internal spring of your highest wisdom instead.
When we don't allow space around our thoughts, we are reactive rather than response-able. Whenever a challenge arises, rather than carelessly and spontaneously reacting, surprise those involved by remaining silent. Silence is extremely powerful and contains miracles. It shifts habitual patterns.
3. Give your imagination a break. In Western culture, planning and projecting ahead is one of our greatest assets. To not have a plan is a terrifying prospect. Are you willing to open the door to spontaneity and the creativity that arises out of it?
When you don't know what to do, rather than project different scenarios, ask "What's next?" Leaving infinite possibility open is to create a vacuum that the Universe must fill. It is even more powerful than projecting imagined preferred scenarios.
4. Say "I don't know," often. At least to yourself! And then sit in the space of I don't know, even if it is uncomfortable. This is very challenging, as often, we are expected and paid to know. You do know -- it just hasn't appeared in your awareness yet.
Any writer, artist, or other creative type will tell you that the muse is within. All inspiration arises from the void of emptiness. Get comfortable with not knowing, rolling around playfully with it.
5. Higher truth arises from within mindfulness. Wisdom, inspiration and creativity are born in stillness. Creativity is inspiration expressed. All are expressions of the Infinite in small enough bytes each one of us can understand.
The beauty of mindfulness is that even a child can express a thought at his or her own level of truth and authenticity, while continuing to dig deeper. Let us honor one another where we stand, knowing we each travel a unique journey toward higher consciousness.
6. Your thoughts are not who you are. Ask a Zen Master or Yogi and she or he will tell you your identity is not wrapped up in your thoughts. Yet, it is the bane and suffering of our existence to believe it is so.
Notice your most blissed-filled moments are empty of thought--a sunrise, your child's smile. Then ask where your thoughts are coming from. Are they really coming from your brain, or is your brain just a receiver?
7. You are enough. This may be your most important guiding light. Remember that it's only a thought that says you're not enough just as you are. Begin to investigate life through mindfulness and see that if you were not enough, you wouldn't be here. This realization is fulfillment in and of itself!
We work hard to be heard and to express ourselves. There are many in the world--men, women, and children--who haven't achieved such freedom. With freedom, comes response-ability.
Greater is the power in discerning when mindfulness can lead to authentic choice and the removal of boundaries within yourself and the world than to continue to react in ways that have outlived their usefulness.
To open up your life to your infinite self is to allow others the same opportunity. There is no greater joy than setting yourself and those around you free!