Developing a Reflective Life In The Midst Of Turmoil
One of the most important things you can do in life is to simply find time for yourself. By this, we don’t mean opting out of society or “spacing out”. Value yourself enough to give yourself time to simply be, without any expectation of goal or result. Paradoxically, by doing this, we can often achieve far more in our externally focused lives than we otherwise might.
When our lives are primarily externally focused, it becomes easy to lose sight of the gameplan. What are we doing all this for? What is the point of it all? Like too many stressed out corporate “high-fliers”, we may reach the very top of the ladder, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall. The joy of simply living all too easily evaporates as we postpone our pleasure for some unspecified future date. We don’t allow ourselves to be happy NOW, but instead promise ourselves that when we have got that promotion, or fallen in love with that ideal partner, or had that baby, bought that new home, or become a millionaire, THEN we can be happy. Meanwhile the present time, which in truth is all we ever really have,
quietly slips away.
The biggest trap is to work for money. Many people do this assuming that once a certain amount of money has been amassed in the bank, or once they can see the sheer immensity of their assets laid out before them, THEN they will be truly happy. Again, it is an utter illusion. The truth is that you have to prepare your mindset for wealth first or else (a) you will never truly achieve it because your inner mind will forever act to keep you within your comfort zone or, (b) if you do achieve it, you will not have developed the habits of mind to be content with it anyway.
Tony Robbins tells about how much he wanted to become a millionaire but once he actually achieved it, the thrill lasted for about ten minutes. After that, everything felt just the same as before. Yes, there are many millionaires who are happy. However, there are many who are as equally miserable. In fact, many of the latter would agree that their prime cause of sorrow is the money itself; fear of losing it, dissatisfaction at not being as rich as so-and-so who is worth ten times more, etc. The key point is that money itself is not the determiner of happiness and purpose. A correct state of mind IS.
Capturing our purpose is THE most important thing we can possibly do. It is not the work of a moment, an hour or even of a few days. It is an ongoing project that brings more riches each and every day. By doing this, we discover who we really are and why exactly we are here. The truth is that you are here for a purpose. You manifested into this life for a reason. So how do we go about discovering this purpose?
The first thing is simply to make time for yourself. Treat yourself as precious and important and find times to be alone in quiet reflection upon your life. Many people meditate to gain deeper insights about themselves. This is certainly immensely valuable. However, if you feel uncomfortable with meditation at this stage, then simply creating moments in the day when you can ponder and wonder can be deeply beneficial.
At several points in the day, try simply closing your eyes and taking a deep breath. Turn your attention inward and remember whatever it is you need to, and as you let your breath out exhale all your tension and concerns. David Kundtz, in his excellent book “Stopping”, calls these brief moments in the day “Stillpoints”. They are easier to do than meditation because they only take a few seconds. However, if you do about fifteen or so of these a day, it can make a tremendous difference to your inner calm and perspective on life.
You can also do what Kundtz calls “Stopovers”. These are slightly longer breaks lasting from several minutes to several hours, where you take time to specifically do NOTHING. This is important. There is no agenda. You simply give yourself time to BE. You listen to your body and what it has to say.
You listen to your inner intuition and gradually develop the ability to hear its valuable insights. You develop Openness and gradually by-pass the inner critic that filters out what you heart’s desire really is with negative thinking and being “realistic” By giving yourself more time to simply be and experience your own “beingness” without preconditions, you gradually awaken to what your soul’s purpose is, one step at a time.
(C) September 2000 Asoka Selvarajah.