When you’re talking or listening to the voice in your head, have you ever really sat and thought who or what you were talking too? Most of you would say “myself” but even in saying that do you really understand the depths of that sentence? When you listen to the inner dialogue, you’ll realize that there’s you and then there’s yourself – there’s two of you. The core of your being is you; this is where all your true desires and passions lie, the real you. The mind made you is your-self. This is the self that the world made you to be. Who your parents made you to be. Who your job made you to be. This is your projected self. Think about your regular day, how many times does something make you anxious? How many times do you find yourself annoyed? How many times do you find yourself wanting more? What if I told you in all of those instances you weren’t being you, you were being your-self? To really find who you are requires an intense presence, accountability and curiosity. The answers are always right in front of you but if you’re busy being your-self you’ll miss it. How interested are you to know the truth about you? Is it interested enough to unlearn all you've ever known to be "right" or "true"?
Understand How Your Mind Works – Subconscious vs Consciousness
The you and your-self that I mentioned are representations of the two main levels of your mind. The subconscious mind (also called the unconscious mind) would be your-self. This is where all your learned beliefs lie, which were highly influenced by your childhood and upbringing. The subconscious is very habitual, analytical and strategic. It is estimated that about 88-90% of brain activity is done subconsciously. So, think about that... when we are out interacting in the world 88-90% of our responses are learned beliefs and habits being done without you being aware of it. Picture a huge box and every time a situation that involves some type of emotional reaction happens to you from age 0 until now, it was thrown in that box. Whenever a new situation arises, without any second thought, your brain goes through this box to find a similar situation close to the one you may be currently facing. It analyses all your responses that were recorded, grabs what seems to be the “safest” response and suggests that you use it again. This is how your-self is built – off of recognization of habit responses. The Ego is the voice of this false sense of self. As we all know the ego is meant to keep us safe. However, if left uncontrolled can trick us out of our spot. The conscious mind is the present mind. I have learned that modern science has it wrong when it comes to what it means to be conscious or present. Consciousness is the you. It is not necessarily a part of your mind, but beyond your mind. The other 10% that is connected to the eternal source from which we came. This is a place of knowing that is not depended on tangible information. This is where your God or Goddess connection lies within you (in my personal opinion). Have you ever had a moment where something bad happens and you said out loud “something told me not do this.” This is typically our first encounters with our consciousness the problem is your-self – the ego – doesn’t want to listen. This silencing of our true selves become our everyday lives.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind and this is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.” -- Echkart Tolle, The Power of Now, 16
Action Step #1: Realize that you are not your mind. Your mind is a collection of habits.
You want to connect more with the conscious side of yourself or should I say you. You can become a program of habitual responses collected by your subconscious mind since birth (it’s okay because we all are until a certain point). What starts to separate you, is when you recognize the bad habits, unlearn them and relearn a different way of doing things. A way in true integrity and authenticity. You take your power back over your mind, you stop it from using you or from being used against you.
Tap into Intense Presence of the Now
To be present means to exist or occur now, like right now, at this moment. Notice as you continue to read this passage, we are in a new now, in every moment. Life becomes small moment after small moment. The moment in which you read the beginning of this paragraph starts to fade and becomes the new past – just that quick. This is a small representation of the illusion of time. When you think of time in the most simplistic manner you have the past, right now and the future. Be aware of where you are in your head on the regular day. Most of the time our mind is in the past or the future. For example, as I am typing this it is November 23rd. Let’s say I had a big test next week (midterm, final or whatever) on the 30th. The traditional person may find that tests make them nervous so now thinking about how the test is coming up may also make them nervous, right now, in this moment. The test isn’t until next week, therefore your mind is in next week. Your body responds and you now experience feelings of next week. This is the casual case of anxiety, thinking of fear of a future event, that has yet to happen and now feeling the emotions as if it did. Now that I introduced to you the concept of how your mind is either in the past or future once you find your-self in a past or future event – return to the now. To make the further connection, you are being your-self by being anxious. Habitually, you might weren’t that good at tests. Your mind went in that box and saw that previous situations have shown that you got bad grades on tests, so to your ego this was definitely something to be anxious about, you panicked and followed suit. The conscious you would have stopped, observed the now, saw you had one week left. You can use that one week to study or fucking panic – it’s your choice really. You use this continuous presence to do things that slowly start to change your habits and as a result you become a better test taker.
Action step #2: Realize the moments when you allow your mind to "think" you into being in the past or the future. Then make it habit to return to the now.
To be clear, this does not mean to ignore the thought or the feeling. Please acknowledge the moment. Repressing emotions are not welcomed here. You cannot be present and ignore how you feel. Work through it. Ask your-self questions to figure out why a certain situation may be causing you to be so anxious? What subconscious belief are you holding onto about your-self, that you are unaware of, that is manifesting an unfavorable habit? In more extreme cases like dealing with trauma for example, sadness and pain can arise in your present moment, over a past event. Causing your mind to now be in the past and your body to now respond to the past. Being present in those moments are most important. You have to remember to bring your mind back to the now. Observe how this moment is making you feel and why this moment is making you feel (you can’t do that focused on the past or the future). Make sense of the moment before you react on it. Make this an everyday practice and you’ll learn so much about you and your-self.
Surrender and Accountability is Required
Everybody knows that the first step to fixing a problem is realizing you have one. If you continue to let the ego control you, you’ll never learn a thing because all the Ego cares about is maintaining habits – staying the same. Any change is a threat to its existence. This is why a lot of you may find it very hard to begin to tap into intense presence because you are very unhappy with your life and you don’t like anything about your current circumstances. You find it easier to allow your Ego fears to run your life using defense mechanisms that allow you to dodge accountability for these circumstances. You enjoy the sadness (yes, you enjoy it, if not do something about it) of living in the past because everything that has ever happened to you gives you a reason for why your life is the way that it is. Whether you realize it or not. You find it easier to blame your parents. You find it easier to blame your disabilities. You find it easier to blame past traumatic situations. Yes, in the same breath I agree with you, it all plays a major part but you can't become a conscious being thinking that where you are and who you are, are not connected. Read it again. All that happens to you is meant to be a huge lesson but when you’re being your-self, you don’t see that.
Action Step #3: Surrender to all the cycles in life. Accept what is and hold no resistance to situations that arise in your life. God makes no mistakes. Take accountability for your whole life not just parts. Learn through it and watch the most high bless you.
No, it’s not your fault that [insert traumatic event here] happened to you. But to be conscious is to know that everything happens for a reason. Presence allows you to decipher and learn what that reason is. Forgiveness (release your mind from past ties so you can return to this moment) is very important in the beginning stages. It is a reflection of true healing. In doing so will allow you to move forward stronger and wiser.
"Know that there is another side to it, that you are just one step away from something incredible: a complete alchemical transmutation of the base metal of pain and suffering into gold. That one step is called surrender." -- Echkart Tolle, The Power of Now, 16
As long as you keep all these things in mind, every single moment in your life will start to make sense to you, even these Moments. In future blogs I may refer to people, situations and/or certain actions as conscious or unconscious and now you have a base what I mean. In future posts when/if I say something that you may not agree with or that may offend you, use our practice of intense presence and know that my intention is never to purposely cause you displeasure but to help you heal – although sometimes healing may hurt. This post was inspired from reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It's a highly recommended read if you'd like to further learn about the topics mentioned in today's post.
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