In today’s world, where technology has eclipsed our humanity, many of us are looking for a way to operate in our lives with a day-to-day sense of excellence and wellbeing, a way that fulfills our spiritual nature. People have tried different religions or disciplines with varying degrees of success or failure. They have taken motivational workshops to try to discover some meaning to apply to their lives and many have come away wondering, “Is this all there is?” This vague sense of emptiness or dissatisfaction can permeate our lives, even when we accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.
People listen to a private, internal radio station that plays oldies but not so goodies. This station plays tapes that are repeating and self-defeating. Have you ever listened to the recording that says something like, “I am in my mid-thirties and I don’t have a relationship. All of the relationships I have ever had haven’t worked. I’ll never have one. Why bother trying?” Another similar tape is, “What is the use? No matter how hard I try, I will just be disappointed again anyway.” etc., etc.
The way we humans function is very similar to modern day computers which can only operate through the applications that are installed in them. So, for instance, a computer that has a word processing program but does not have a spreadsheet program installed will never be able to do spreadsheet type activities. This is not a fault of the computer, for if the computer did have a spreadsheet program installed, it would handle this task quite easily.
You, too, are not at fault if your internal voice repeats self-defeating messages. You can only function and extrapolate your future from your past. If you have never had a relationship that worked, the prospect of one working in the future is very dim. In other words, if it hasn’t already happened, you cannot conceive of it happening. Minds function like a closed system. They extrapolate from what is known. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.”
How can we learn to see the world anew? What can we do to create a future that isn’t either a repeat of the past or simply an incremental improvement on what we have had before? How do we have quantum leaps in the quality of our lives?
The answer is surprisingly simple. In order to jump spontaneously into your potential rather than reinforcing your self-imposed limitations, you need to discover how it is that you actually are rather than how you think are. This is accomplished through honest self-observation without self-reproach. In other words, it is about noticing your behavior without judging yourself for what you discover. This will empower you to naturally stop doing those things that you have done automatically. Then life becomes vital and filled with meaning.
Spirituality exists in all aspects of our lives when we experience life directly, not through the filter of our judgments, agendas or thought processes. You can only do one thing at a time. You can either think about what is happening in your life or you can be in the experience of what is happening in your life, moment-to-moment. This does not mean that one stops thinking. It does, however mean that the conversation that judges, evaluates and rates how you are doing fades into the background and no longer dominates your life.
One of the side benefits of living life in the moment is that relatively mundane acts take on a sense of fullness and your actions become appropriate, not based on past decisions or agendas. Agendas are those ideas that we have of what will fulfill us or produce satisfaction in the future. These agendas all come from the known. They come from what society holds to be true (or the resistance to society) rather than from your experience of what is actually fulfilling for you. Therefore, fulfillment or satisfaction can never be achieved by completing these agendas unless you are already satisfied. True satisfaction comes from living your life directly, not judging yourself for how you are doing.
Living life directly includes your agendas and goals but is not merely driving forward to achieve them. For example, you may have the goal to be physically fit and have planned a regimen at the gym to support this desire. However, the people who exercise with the intention of experiencing purity of motion and having optimum form while performing each move will come away enlivened from the experience. They will also be simultaneously moving forward toward being physically fit. However, people who look in the mirror and complain about what they see, those that exercise in order to be all right someday, inadvertently reinforce the known story that something is wrong with them and even when the goal is achieved, the sense of being wrong lingers.
So, how does one live life directly? How does one become satisfied? Well, here is a hint. Engaging in any activity as fully as you know how is the beginning. If you are washing the dishes and find that you are talking to yourself in your mind about whether or not you want to be doing what you are doing, this is a clue that you are not fully engaged.
Ahh, here is the tricky part. If you are preoccupied or complaining, that is all you can be doing in that moment. THAT IS your moment. However, with awareness (a non-judgmental seeing of what is) the conversation that you are listening to will complete itself or you will be able to intentionally disengage from it and redirect your energy.