Have you ever had a moment of sudden realization where after a long exhausting period of struggle, you finally see a situation in a completely different way? Suddenly, you know exactly what to do or say that completely changes everything.
Don’t you wish you could have more of these moments?
So, how could we experience them more often?
A few days ago, I witnessed something that made me experience one of these “aha moments” for the answer to this question.
I was standing behind a man at a checkout counter to pay for my carton of milk. As the cashier was ringing up his items, he reached in his pocket and took out his cell phone. He placed an item in his mouth in order to free both his hands and started typing on his cell phone. When the cashier gave him his total, he placed his cell phone on the counter and reached in his pocket for his wallet. He stood there digging in his wallet. At some point, he placed his wallet on the counter and began digging in the pockets of his jacket. He kept going back and forth from his wallet to his pockets without success. Then, the funniest thing happened. He turned around, looked at me and said, “Hew ah…” He never got to finish his sentence because as he opened his mouth, the item fell to the floor. It was his credit card!
His attention was so focused on his cell phone that it created a distraction in his mind, not realizing that the thing he was searching for was right there in front of him within his reach.
Many of us have had a few of these ‘lost in my thoughts’ moments. We look everywhere for our lost sunglasses, only to find they are right on top of our heads. Or, for our lost keys, only to find them hours later still hanging in the door (or, maybe it’s just me:)). Just like the man at the check-out counter, I realized that when this happens, there’s always some thought or event that fogged my mind. So, I lose clarity in looking for the missing items in the most obvious places-within my reach.
Isn’t this also true with the way we live in our daily lives? Whether we’re looking for that perfect opportunity to do the things we really want or, the perfect solution that will solve all our problems, we may just be so lost in our thoughts that we don’t see it, even if it’s right there in front of us. The accumulation of all our thoughts and beliefs which we hold to be true prevent us from seeing the truth. The constant negative chatter in our minds is what drives our habits, attitudes and actions and take control of our lives. There’s so much information out there, so many different sources, so many choices, it becomes hard to determine what’s real. This only ends up providing more distractions and we become overwhelmed.
Now I don’t have the perfect solution. I’m still learning to fully experience and be present with my own daily interruptions and disruptions. But, here are a few practices which have helped me a great deal in getting better at it.
Disconnect to Reconnect
Let me ask you this; is it easier to look for a lost item in a messy room that looks like a tornado hit or in a clean, tidy room? Notice how you suddenly start seeing things you never really paid attention to, when you look through freshly cleaned windows.
Now, imagine our mind like that messy room or dirty windows. Cluttered and fogged with so many negative thoughts and false beliefs, we can no longer see two feet away from us. From the moment we wake up, thoughts about the past or worries about the future come creeping in. We feel a great deal of stress and anxiety trying to keep up with society’s expectation of whom we should or should not be. We are so focused on trying to stay in touch with everyone and everything, we lose touch with our inner Being. We search everywhere for answers or opportunities that will provide us with the peace of mind we’re searching for. It’s right there, within our reach but, we cannot see it because of the heavy burden in our minds.
By disconnecting from our thoughts, we provide our minds with space to reconnect with our inner Being and allow our inner strengths and creativity to shine through. We will see opportunities, no matter how small, right there in front of us.
Don’t just believe this to be true. Try it, experience it. Believe it because you lived it.
Take some time during the day, totally disconnect from all devices. Try sitting in a quiet place alone with your eyes closed. Observe your thoughts without identifying yourself with them. By observing them, they lose power and you’ll eventually be able to let them go.
Try going for walks in nature alone (without any devices). Try reconnecting with nature and looking at it as if for the first time. It’s incredible how much we can learn from nature and reconnect with the present moment.
I learned that by being comfortable with my own company, without depending on any external factors to motivate me, I experienced inner peace and contentment. I felt energized and began getting new ideas and seeing new opportunities. Sometimes, while trekking in the mountains, while looking at the sunset, while cooking or washing the dishes. Now, imagine that for a moment. Your best ideas or best opportunities right there in front of you! All because you cleaned up the mess in your mind and made space for your intuition to take over. You cannot make the most of an opportunity if you can’t see it.
Appreciation and Gratitude
Have you ever noticed how almost everyone remembers and tells stories about negative experiences so much more vividly and in great detail than positive experiences?
A negative experience definitely has a much greater impact on us than a positive one. It triggers an alert of a possible threat and it becomes our main focus of attention. It doesn’t matter if in the same day, we received many acts of kindness and praises, that one criticism is what we obsess over. It’s this same attention and focus that we put our energy in that makes us unable to see our best opportunities or solutions even when they’re right in front of us.
When we practice and train ourselves to be grateful and appreciate the positive experiences and events, slowly our mind will shift and we will respond to the negative with a different approach. Slowly we will create a clarity and space in our mind allowing it to search for experiences similar to that which we focused our attention to.
Let It Be…
“Let it be, let it be… there will be an answer, let it be” – The Beatles
We all want this to go smoothly, with no interruptions and certainly don’t want our routine and comfort zone disrupted. The thing is we don’t have control over everything that happens and over other people. No matter how much we feel that our efforts are for very good reason, when we react to such things as a disruption, we are resisting the present moment. Sometimes, we just need to slow down and let it be. It’s ok not to have all the answers. If we accept that we are exactly where we are suppose to be, the answers will come when we least expect them. By resisting that which is out of our control, we may be missing out on an opportunity that’s probably right there in front of us. Most of all, we are missing out on experiencing loving every moment of our life with a passion. Whatever life may give us at any given moment, LET IT BE. It is an opportunity to experience courage, confidence, forgiveness, compassion, learning new skills, learning from our mistakes and LOVE!
“Great opportunities come to all but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is simple fidelity to what each day brings.” – A.E. Dunning
Have you had a “aha moment”? I would love to hear about it. If not, which practice can you start doing today to clear your mind?