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“Let go of thinking and rest the mind in awareness. That is when we discover peace of mind.” —Andy Puddicombe
Positive thinking is powerful, but forcing positivity can be exhausting as it ignores what is.
Negativity and cynism is destructive and life depleting, and to walk through life with a jaded perspective closes our lives off from any potential of opportunity of goodness, life elevation and beautiful surprise
The sweet spot, while hopefully you find yourself, with regards to the two options above, in the land of the former, is to rest in awareness, refrain from painting anything beyond what you see. Removing any unconscious bias because you have learned the skill of self-awareness.
In a recent daily meditation, Andy Puddicombe shared the simple fact of awareness affords freedom. Why? Because we let go of expecting any moment to be anything other than what it is.
It is in this freedom prompted by awareness where we learn – about the world that surrounds us each day and about ourselves.
In 2017 I shared a detailed episode/post delineating the nine benefits of self-awareness, and at the top of the list was finding peace within oneself. I introduced the piece with an anecdote about the feelings evoked due to the Snowmagedeon in Bend that particular winter. A large portion of the stress was prompted due to my lack of knowledge and control over my housing situation; however, at the same time, by choosing to be a renter at that time in my life, I had intentionally wanted to let go of more responsibility in order to free up my finances.
Continuing the journey of exploring my feelings, my own awareness over four years of renting (I was in year two at the time of the historic snow fall in 2017), I concretely learned and acknowledged, I did want the responsibility of being a homeowner. I wanted the peace of mind in challenging weather days to know my home was sound and safe. I wanted a place to rest my mind and being on all days of the year, good or bad, as I found, for my life preference, my better self, how I go about my life, the traveling through and within each day is made more tranquil when my sanctuary is my own. Self-awareness led me to such a realization, but the awareness – the nugget of aha ‘gold’ – took time to mine.
Resting in Awareness
Finding the ability to ‘rest’ in awareness throughout our daily lives takes time.
The ability to be ‘aware’ without judgment, acknowledge without limiting what we see so as to fit the story we so badly want to unfold, is a muscle to tone and keep toned throughout our lives as it enables us to enjoy life, reveling in the surprises and calmly walking through the uninvited experiences thrust upon us.
I have been thinking about the moment the world finds itself and the reality we are all faced with due to the arrival of the pandemic. The pandemic will end, but living through this time unwanted for the past eleven months has given us each an opportunity to either keep our awareness well honed or learn the value of awareness and welcome it into our lives.
Being brave, a necessary ingredient in being aware, we explore our feelings – the why’s and how’s – and we, like me, may have discovered unexpected truths which can lead us somewhere beautiful, someplace more deeply content and fulfilling.
For example, I acknowledge an intention to connect with others intimately and sincerely is a priority in my life and so too is honoring my life’s unique path of loving living in my own company, sharing moments with others but not a sanctuary. Yet, hardening an absolute to any ‘life story’ is to limit life’s gifts of surprises. The underlining lesson highlights the necessary ability to let go of a life vision of ‘how it must unfold’ and savor the present while creating an everyday life of routine and rituals, hobbies and pastimes which excite me as I begin each day after a restful night of sleep.
When we live with awareness, we become able to rest (not stop) and thus able to find peace in our lives when we can be in the present fully.
When we are present fully we are not planning or plotting, worrying or wondering, but rather trusting that how we spend our days, the actions and words we express and exchange are the magic ingredients to a beautiful tomorrow, and we let the magic of tomorrow come together as it will. As for today, we give fully – we listen intently to others as they speak and our own needs too as they convey to us the way forward, we extend gratitude, we delight in the awe, we dive in wholeheartedly with glee and excitement unedited. That is how we live well.
Four Years Later
Fast-forward four years from the Snowmagedeon in 2017.
The snow came again, beautifully, calmly, steadily. No, it wasn’t as enormous of an amount, but it stayed and it is scheduled to snow again multiple days in the week ahead.
However, on the first day of snow, I savored the entire day – the cozying in during the early morning hours watching it fall, the bundling up and leaving early to an appointment so I could drive with ease and remove the worry of arriving late due to slowdowns on the roads, the chosen detour to walk along the river with Norman and delight in the geese and ducks as they went about their business, and the shoveling of my corner sidewalk to ensure neighbors could walk about and enjoy the fallen snow as well with safety and ease all the while listening to the melody of the birds as they rested having feasted at my bird cafe.
Being aware of what surrounds us in every moment reveals how rich in beauty and awe our lives actually are. Instead of seeking something more in the next moment, in the next day, the next month, next year, we strengthen our awareness muscle enabling each of us even in difficult moments to know such moments have an end, and it is how we travel through them which will determine our tomorrows.
Even if we don’t travel as well as we would have hoped through the trying times, being aware of our lapses and mistakes strengthens our awareness for a better ‘next time’. Because there will be a next time, but that ‘next time’ need not be as trying as the last time because we bring a better ‘us’ to the moment. We bring our full attention to the present whether that present moment be wanted or unwanted, and we make the moment better for ourselves and those around us.
If we truly wish to be free from pain, stress, worry, doubt, fear, disappointment, we need only to learn the skill of awareness, for it is in becoming present and honest and brave that we gain the grounding of awareness, deepening our true contentment in each and every one of our living days.
SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Examining the Benefits of Self-Awareness, episode #143
The Gift of Discontentment (yep, that’s no typo), episode #295