Two weeks back, I promised to finish my list of what matters most on a path of peace, love and joy. This is a fitting subject for a day where I am entering my seventh decade of living. On these special events, it has been my habit to stop and reflect on what has passed as well as what is yet to emerge but is showing me glimpses of possibility.
From past experience, I learned to trust that people, as social beings, transform through their relationships. Furthermore, everything we need to evolve our consciousness—to transform—exists in the events unfolding around us, which are often triggered by our near relationships.
Pause and remember— Every single event in your life, especially the
difficult lessons, have made you smarter, stronger and wiser than you
were yesterday. Be thankful! Jenni Young
Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in
rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and
compassion. Dalai Lama
We have all read the sad stories of infant monkeys raised without the love and affection of their mothers. We all know that mammals or humans reared in the absence of loving kindness and compassion and in the presence of anger and violence likely enact their experience. Even knowing this universal truth of reciprocity, it is still very challenging to shake off our past conditioning and, no matter what, offer love and compassion. An additional reward is we feed and grow the amount of positive energy in the world and subsequently diminish the negative energy.
So, how can you add positive value to the world? Appreciate, by actively pursuing, the things and people that trigger your good feelings. On the other hand, remember and appreciate that negative, reactive people are also a gift. They are poking and prodding the negativity out of us by bringing it to the surface of our awareness, and thereby providing us the opportunity to practice non-reactive, positive responding. And always, in all ways, love and appreciate yourself.
We only hurt others because we don’t love ourselves. Learning to truly love
yourself changes your relationship with everyone. Bryant McGill
I believe the only way we can remove suffering and misery from ourselves, and thus the world, is to love fear out. Only when we have replaced our inner fears with self-love can we then radiate love outward. A first step is accepting we are good enough just as we are in this moment. Acceptance of our present state of being doesn’t stop us from becoming even better. It enables us to recognize and go deep into our strengths—that magical combination of what we love to do and are good at. At the same time, it frees us to acknowledge what other strengths we would like to grow into.
I personally discovered there is no such thing as managing relationships. There is only managing oneself. Self-mastery or self-control is the outcome of a deep love for oneself.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anais Nin
Confronting our inner fears takes great courage. The catch 22 is that confronting fear is what builds great courage. What stood me in good stead over the years is my curiosity. My love of adventure counterbalanced my fear of uncertainty. Carl Jung summed up the experience of falling down the rabbit hole of fear and uncertainty by saying “The only way out is through.” Digging deep into our strengths expands our capacity to then deal with what frightens us. Looking deeply into the face of fear unravels the limitations of our past conditioning. The space created as a result of this unraveling not only strengthens our courage but also opens us up to choose new experiences.
In education, at home, through social compulsion, human beings are trained
in thinking, knowing, experiencing, organizing relationships, standardizing
patterns of reaction, playing around with physical, verbal, psychological
movements. The dimension of movement is emphasized and the [dimension
of stillness] is ignored. Vimala Thakar
In day-to-day living, everything is moving and changing—our thoughts, our bodies, our relationships, our emotions, etc. However, we have another state of being which is often ignored—that is motionlessness, stillness, aloneness. These motion-free, thought-free, sound-free, relationship-free experiences occur for us when we are in silence. Unfortunately, most of us are not educated to cultivate silence. I have discovered we are in our power when centred in silence. By that I mean we are able to silently hold our centre no matter what is confronting us—explosive anger, verbal abuse, uncertainty, fear, chaos—we are not feeding (increasing) the negative energy. Instead, we are allowing it to dissipate.
As an example, I spent the better part of my life believing that being assertive meant one must speak out against those who would diminish one’s human rights. This led me down a path of constantly challenging those who did not share my belief and expending a great deal of energy in the process. It never occurred to me that if I merely stood my ground in centred silence, my energy would not deplete and I would still reap the changes I was seeking.
Cultivating silence opens the connection to our creative source, which is where wisdom in the form of solutions and contributions awaits our attention.
Freedom from self-oppression requires silence,
wherein a gentle fluttering registers its presence.
This dawning of a new understanding
sets forth an inner re-jigging, a shuffling
of the cogs and wheels integral to the whole.
And from a space of centred silence
radiates a power beyond rage and negativity,
a presence freed of chaotic reactivity.
Silence is a power summoned forward
by the glimpse of grace and freedom.
Therein resides an openness to embrace
the uncountable opportunities everywhere.
In considering what matters most to you, what are you appreciating in this moment? Do you accept yourself as you are right now? By that I mean, do you have the courage to look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you”? Are you curious enough to explore the realm of silence?
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