In the last post I talked about how a willingness to sit in the mist of uncertainty serves us well sometimes. But there are different ways to sit, right? We can slouch and look at our fingernails, annoyed that we can’t see anything around us. We can sit up straight and watch the mist swirling in interesting patterns, listening for sounds…or the absence of sounds. You get the point. Our engagement makes the difference.
Following on the theme of managing challenging and uncertain times, we often can’t control external events, but we can affect our internal response and experience. Panic or calm resolve? Despair or persistent hope? Panic and despair are natural parts of our emotional repertoire. However, we can help ourselves move through them more quickly by having tools for reconnecting with our deeper resources. This helps us evolve without freaking out and running off a cliff (literally or metaphorically).
I recommend blending three approaches to Personal Evolution. Focused Observation, Conscious Stillness and Deliberate Action. They are simple to remember and easy to implement, but have wide ranging affects.
Focused Observation is simply watching yourself and the circumstances of your life – what’s happening around you. Paying attention. Looking for patterns. It’s detaching from your emotions and your personal viewpoint when you can, in order to get some different perspectives. Sometimes we are so engrossed in what we are doing that we miss the proverbial forest for the trees.
Conscious Stillness involves ceasing our talking temporarily, but it goes further. Being still and listening come into play. It’s making room for silence and a time to hear your inner voice. We are so surrounded by sound, both externally and internally, that often we forget what silence is like. Most of us can’t find inner silence with the chatter of our internal dialogue. Making time to experience quiet, specifically turning off devices that provide content (phones, TV, radio, podcasts, etc.) and experiencing silence reclaims a space for the subtler sounds to enter our consciousness. We may observe the ambient sounds of our environment, or start watching the thoughts meander (or march) through our minds. Gently, kindly, maybe using chant or soft music, we can slow or distract our usual thoughts enough to invite some new insights to well up. Our inner divinity is a great source of guidance and wisdom and often needs this intentionally created time to speak and be heard.
Deliberate Action can result once we’ve observed and listened and feel ready to move. When Focused Observation and Conscious Stillness have become a regular part of our lives, Deliberate Action can often feel like a natural reflex rather than an intellectual choice. It’s when the mist lifts and we act decisively and bravely when we know we have to. Choices, even if they are hard or complicated, feel right somehow.
The Taoist principle of Wu Wei comes into play nicely during these times. Wu Wei is a paradoxical idea of the action of non-action. A state of non-doing which allows us to enter into alignment with the natural cycles, where our actions feel effortless because we are aligned with a larger flow and able to respond appropriately to whatever situation arises.
By blending Focused Observation, Conscious Stillness, and Deliberate Action we are able to manage stressful situations while remaining connected to the reality of the circumstances and true to ourselves. We do our part to stay grounded and inspired for a new day, while enjoying the view from this side of the cliff!
Wishing you a peaceful heart,