I was always waiting for things to get better, knew that something great was just around the corner. Fulfilment, though, has always been just out of reach, seemingly a privilege only others are entitled to. I yearned for it, but didn’t know in which direction to go to find it. Then, when I saw a quote, I suddenly realised what needed to be done:
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you”. James Allen
It was clear to me – I must seize control of my mind, to pilot it towards fulfilment.
I sought out psychotherapy, enlisted a psychologist, bought self-help books, spent hours challenging my fundamental beliefs. It soon became apparent that nothing external needed to change. I had to change my mind. And that meant truly seeing what was around me, not what I expected to see. It meant ripping myself away from being controlled by my “autopilot”, which runs on an internal model stored in your mind, built from your interpretation of life. It works relentlessly on solving perceived problems, often focussing solely on them at the expense of awareness. Although it does have its uses, there is a time and a place for it. Left unchecked, it can automatically try to solve life, which is a futile and consuming exercise. I’ll give you an example of “autopilot” in action: Have you ever made a journey somewhere and upon arrival, thought, “How did I get here?” You may as well have been asleep, as you had no conscious involvement. Meanwhile, the “autopilot” was busy solving the problem at hand – how to get to your destination.
I needed to wake up to what was happening around me – LIFE!! I had been searching all around for fulfilment in life, when instead I should have been taking fulfilment for being in life, and appreciating the potential fulfilment already within me. I worked out that all you need is a slight shift in perspective to transform your world into a thing of wonder; a shift in your focus from what you don’t have, to what you do have. It’s truly liberating when you realise that although you can’t control this volatile substance we call life, you can control your reaction to it, and so reclaim the purpose to your existence.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. Marcel Proust
Lately, I have spent more time in my head, than in this wondrous world around me. I developed a meditation to help re-establish my connection with reality, and appreciate who I am within it. I am sharing this meditation in the hope that it may help someone. If you want to give it a go, please spend as much or as little time on any part of it as you see fit. It is specific to my personal problems, so may not be completely relevant for you. It usually takes me around 15 minutes.
- Sit on a firm seat, with your eyes closed and in a dignified position.
- Don’t try to change anything – you and all your faults have done amazing things to get you this far. Be proud to be you.
- Listen to what propaganda is playing in your mind. Acknowledge it with endearing amusement, as if it were a child that doesn’t know any better. Realise that your mind is just constantly generating ideas based on it’s experiences; whether you choose to pay attention to them is entirely up to you.
- Ground yourself in this moment. Feel any sensations in your body – notice the contact with whatever is supporting you, your clothes/any wind against your skin, any aches and pains, smells etc. Come home to the body. If your mind wanders, gently escort your attention back to the here and now.
- Appreciate that this moment will never happen again, and that every time you do this meditation, it is closer to the end of this “extended holiday*”. Don’t be annoyed about any distractions; instead, embrace them for helping make part of your moment. Apply this to life – after all, it is nothing more than a moment in existence.
- Now focus on your breathing, on your abdomen changing on the in and out breaths, any pauses between these.
- Feel the life around you. Breath it in as pure bright energy. Synchronise it with your breathing like waves in an ocean. On every in breath, imagine the life flowing to each part of your body, leaving it glowing with energy, feeling any sensations intensely as if for the first time. Feel it revitalising and regenerating everywhere it goes. It should eventually fill every fibre of your being. At this point remind yourself – you ARE life!
- Alternate between thinking of past / future achievements:
Think of an achievement, one which made / will make, you feel proud of yourself. Go back/ forwards to that moment. Imagine you’re there, feeling all the sensations, within and without. Especially focus on the emotions.
- Keep that emotion in the forefront of your mind. Now, on every in breath, repeat “I love myself”. Feel the contentment and security, knowing that you will always be truly loved on a level that transcends reality. Remind yourself that you’ll always be looked after by someone who has achieved amazing things; who knows everything there is to know about you. That you will never be alone if you just listen to your “higher self” / soul calling out his help.
*When I went on a holiday to Tenerife, I was so much more motivated and enjoyed what was around me, much more than usual. I thought how much I’d dearly love to replicate whatever had so much of a positive effect on me, so asked myself, “Why was this?” It was because I was seeing this place for the first time, so my “autopilot” wasn’t engaged. Plus, I was acutely conscious that I was only there for a limited time so had to make the most of it. By looking at my normal life back home as just a longer version of my time in Tenerife, an “extended holiday” in England, I gain a much-needed shift in perspective.