I hope you are doing well and staying warm this winter. I had a few thoughts I wanted to share with you all that will hopefully prove to be helpful in your life.
As you’re probably aware a lot of the things we do and say on a daily basis are done so out of habit. I have recently found a way that has helped me break out of the cycle of habitual doingness, which increases our level of mindfulness and has some other hidden rewards.
When you feel compelled to do or say something, whether it’s making a call, paying a bill, going to the refrigerator, walking the dog, or whatever; stop and ask yourself, “Do I really need to do/say that right now?” The answer to this question may be cloudy and may include rationalizations like, “Well if I don’t do it now, I’m not going to do it.” However, I always reassure myself that everything that needs to get done will because that’s the way it has always worked, and that I might actually benefit by pausing before acting.
Once you have asked yourself this question, do something different. This could be as simple as stopping to take a deep breath, sitting quietly for a moment, looking at your surroundings to appreciate their beauty, or whatever. The key here is to just break the routine by not immediately doing something out of habit.
Once you have taken a moment for yourself before following the compulsive act in question, then go ahead and do whatever it is (if it actually needs to be done), but do it differently. Do it in slow motion. Do it in a different order than you normally would. Say something different. Just do it in such a way that it takes away the automation of the action.
If you find that you have already done or said something out of habit, don’t feel bad. Just pause to reflect and find the humor in what you just did and the results it brought about. Realize you did it just out of habit and that it would have gotten done one way or the other. Then, do something different as stated above. This is in effect practice for next time and good mental exercise.
The point is just to get you to start breaking out of acting out of habit. A lot of the things I feel compelled to do in a day just make my life more complicated than it needs to be. If I take a slightly more hands off approach, things still get done but with less stress on me and those around me. Hopefully you will not interpret this to mean “do nothing” and instead will see it as an opportunity to do everything with more awareness.
I also wanted to close with some quotes from a book I recently finished, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and have selected some of my favorite quotes from the book (see below). I hope you all are doing well and enjoying February to its fullest. It’s over before you know it.
Way of the Peaceful Warrior
It is better for you to take responsibility for your life as it is, instead of blaming others, or circumstances, for your predicament. As your eyes open, you’ll see that your state of health, happiness, and every circumstance of your life has been, in large part, arranged by you – consciously or unconsciously.
Nothing separate remained. I had become everything. I was Consciousness, recognizing itself; I was the pure light that physicists equate with all matter, and poets define as love. I was one, and I was all, outshining all the worlds. In that moment, the eternal, the unknowable had been revealed to me as an indescribable certainty.
That’s exactly what it is, Dan – a thought – no more real than the shadow of a shadow. Consciousness is not IN the body; the body is IN Consciousness. And you ARE that Consciousness – not the phantom mind that troubles you so. You are the body, but you are everything else, too.
What you enjoyed as a child can be yours again. Jesus of Nazareth, one of the Great Warriors, once said that you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Feelings change, Dan. Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.
There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, you are already free!
We are only symbols and signposts. What matters is compassion, kindness, taking ourselves less seriously, and waking up to the gift of life in each passing moment.