Sometimes I find it hard to live in the moment. So often I find myself resisting life, rather than allowing it to unfold. Instead of riding the wave, I find myself fighting against the tide, and when I do that, I end up drowning.
That is because life goes forward in its own way, with or without you on board. Our egos tell us that we should be able to control life; to make plans, execute them, and for things to turn out exactly how we want and expect them to. And when they don’t, we get upset… anxious… depressed.
Life is insecure, unpredictable and uncertain. Life is constantly fluctuating and changing, and so when we try to control it and find security, we end up disappointed. Even if we find predictability and security for a short while, its repetition takes all of the colour out of life and the ‘daily grind’ takes its toll on us. If we are not changing, evolving and moving confidently forward, life sucks.
I am no expert in this, and so it’s not for me to tell people how to live. But I am more aware than I used to be. I used to think that my reality or life situation created my mindset, but exploring mindfulness has shown me that the opposite is true.
What have I found?
I find that when I live in the past, I feel regretful and depressed. But I know that the past does not exist. Not really. It only ever exists as a thought.
I find that when I think too much about the future, I become anxious; fearing the uncertainty ahead and desperate to control it, which deep down, I know I cannot do. And like the past, I know the future does not exist as anything but a thought.
But when I live in the present, I find myself at peace. From that peaceful place, I can then make truly positive decisions. This is because the present moment is real. Life is the ever unfolding now, and I have found that misery is only created when I refuse to accept reality and resist life.
What follows are four life lessons that have helped me accept, live in and experience peace in the present moment.
When I first started practising mindfulness techniques, I was trying to get into a state of ‘no-mind’, wanting to be no longer fixated on my thoughts but entirely focussed on the present moment. This was the first time I had managed to stop the mental chatter in my mind which had been going on ceaselessly for years, and I felt immense peace for the first time in a very long time. I wanted more of that!
But rather than embracing the moment, I became more inclined to battle with my mind. My approach was to tell my mind, ‘Stop thinking so I can focus on the moment and be at peace!!!’ But, as Neale Donald Walsch says, whatever you resist, persists.
So whenever thoughts arise now, rather than becoming frustrated and internally wanting to stop thinking, I instead remind myself that it’s not a battle. I relax, and allow the thoughts to arise and subside of their own accord. I recognise that thoughts and ideas come and go like the wind. They are not part of who I am.
It was not the thoughts that were the root issue, but rather my inner state of resistance. To become aligned with life is to live in harmony with it; to say yes to the moment, both inside and out.
In the following video, Eckhart Tolle provides some incredible insight into how acceptance can be applied in our everyday lives to achieve more positive outcomes.
2. Break with the Past
When I first started practising mindfulness, I believed that I could carry on living on the outside in exactly the same way as before, and all that needed to change was my inner state and my perception of my life situation. Sure, I would change things in my life situation in time, but there was no rush. I could achieve peace now.
However, I realised later that I was being drawn repeatedly into my old habits of thinking. And this is because I was entering the same situations each day. My current life situation had been created when I was in a negative, reactive mindset. The ‘old me’ had created it, but the ‘new me’ had to live in it.
You may have become friends with the wrong people, chosen the wrong partner or the wrong job. Life decisions made in a negative, depressed or anxious state of mind will lead to negativity, depression or anxiety. This happens because of a universal law; the law of attraction, which dictates that you attract what you are. Like attracts like.
Sometimes the change in your inner state can bring changes to a negative life situation. But it is harder, because you may be drawn into old behaviour and thought patterns. Breaking ties with the past is often the path of least resistance when it comes to enhancing your ability to be free inside.
But remember, positive change always comes from within first. As Yogi Bhajan said, “if you fail to go within, you go without.” My first step was in bringing mindfulness into my life and reaching a stage where I am able to access peace. And once I am in a peaceful state of mind, it is then, and only then, that I make my life decisions. Making decisions from a reactive, “screw this” mentality has never brought positive change for me.
The video below provides a great, two minute explanation of the law of attraction.
When I stop resisting life, and start making decisions when in a positive frame of mind, I can trust in my decisions, then leap without fear. I can trust that the outcomes will be positive, because I made them in a positive state… because like attracts like.
Trust is different from belief. Belief is a head thing. Belief is based on thoughts, and because thoughts can change, so can people’s beliefs, no matter how firmly held. People can be left-wing one day and right-wing the next. People can change their minds, and so can change their beliefs. Belief is like a house built on sand.
Trust is a heart thing. It is knowing things will turn out best. It is knowing that your decisions, if made out of a positive place, will lead to positive outcomes. And trust enables you to take leaps and make changes. Trust is like a house built on rock.
Those who want, go wanting. Neale Donald Walsch said abundance comes to those who are abundant themselves, and this is again the law of attraction at work. He makes the point that you needn’t be financially abundant to be abundant in other ways. After all, not many of us are born with a huge pot of money we can generously dish out, but to think that means we have nothing to offer is absurd.
Ask yourself, what have you got to give? I started helping startup businesses for free in areas of marketing that I want to extend my experience in. This gives them my time and marketing knowledge, and I get to develop specific skills, learn about other areas of business from them, and get future referrals. The situation is win-win. But that’s just in business…
What have you got to give in your personal life? Time, love, compassion, kindness, help, authenticity? I recently stumbled across an awesome looking social media site called helpfulpeeps. The idea is that people connect on there and help each other, for free. If you need an easy and quick way to feel abundant, this is it.
The following video is an excerpt from a longer talk given by Neale Donald Walsch on abundance, which can be seen here. Don’t be put off by his language if you are not religious. He uses the word ‘God’ as synonymous with life and the universe, rather than referring to a deity. It can be a bit tricky, but remember he’s communicating with an American audience.
Finally, I apologise for using the word ‘secrets’ in title. I just used the word to create a clickbait headline that would hopefully get people reading the article. None of these are secrets and certainly none of them are my own unique insights. I learned them from books and talks given by people far more wise than I am.
What are your experiences of acceptance, the law of attraction, trust and abundance? Please leave a comment – it would be great to get a conversation going!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope it was worth your time.