Allow Challenges to Bring to Peace
If you want to grow and find lasting peace and change your life on a fundamental level, it is imperative to become more conscious during life’s challenges. Allow anything that confronts you in life to be an impetus to become more mindful, self-observant, and humble.
If you are not allowing a challenging situation to make you more conscious, then, by default, the mind will pull you into drama and suffering. Unfortunately, unconsciousness or being “spiritually asleep” is the default mode for most of us at this evolutionary stage. We react rather than respond to life’s circumstances. Because we lack awareness and are lost in needless mind activity, we repeatedly experience the same patterns and are forced to learn the same lesson over and over again. The good news is, you can get out of this pattern and wake up.
Make Peace Your Priority
Being on a spiritual path means making peace and greater clarity your priority, rather than living through the drama of ego. It is essential to be aware that you have two basic choices in a challenging situation. You can either say, “no,” or you can say “yes.” When you say no, it is the ego reacting with some form of “this circumstance is unfair” or “I know what is best, and this isn’t it.” When you say yes, you are open, asking, “what can I learn in this situation?” or “What is can I do to change this for the better?”
Notice that resistance thoughts that cause suffering usually come in statements. There is a kind of arrogance to them. The thoughts that come from “yes” usually have a curiosity and an openness – often they can be a question, like “How can I change this for the better?” or “What can I learn here?” We all know what it is like to accept a situation and find that what we originally perceived as “bad” wasn’t necessarily so. When you go into a challenging situation to learn, and you stay aware, you often see that a “problem” becomes a gift that has allowed you to come to a higher place in your life.
Waking up is Being a Rebel
Unfortunately, our society supports an attitude of wallowing in what is wrong rather than finding what is true (The Truth is always good news). When was the last time you heard the positive things that people are doing on the news (there are a lot of them)? Do our religions focus on our basic goodness? (Believe me when I say your original state is love, not sin – misunderstood term) Think of how much of our conversations with friends or loved ones tend to be complaining. When I was younger, I had friendships based entirely on mutual complaining.
If you want to awaken, you have to rise above the collective victim mentality – make no mistake about it, you have to be a rebel. Be willing to stop constantly discussing what you dislike in the world’s politics. There is nothing wrong with having a strong conviction, but when that is the topic of much of your conversation, it keeps you in unhappiness and anger. When someone is complaining, ask if they have a solution. When you catch yourself complaining, stop. Get out of what you like and dislike and be grateful.
The thing that you can always be grateful for is that you are alive. Somehow, you won the cosmic lottery and became a human being, with self-awareness and the ability to direct your attention in ways that change you and others. Express your gratitude. Many people will be uplifted around you if you do. If people are too “cool” or too entrenched in their victim mentality to interact on the level of being in touch with our basic goodness, consider walking away.
Don’t Wait for the World to Change
The unawakened state, from which most of us suffer, is self-focused. Even if our ego-mind tries to show the world how big and in control it is, it is still coming from a place of fear and lack. When you experience this fear and lack, you look to the world to make you feel ok; therefore, you are continually reacting to what is happening. Waking up is about regaining access, or “remembering” who you really are – the one who is happy no matter what, and responds with love rather than reacts in fear.
When challenges arise, questions to ask to get yourself on the right track are:
Am I taking action to make this situation better, or am I just complaining?
Do I feel gratitude, or do I feel burdened?
Is my energy open or contracted?
Do I have a sense of humor, or am I overly serious?
Am I following my inner voice or looking to the world for approval?
Dissolve the Internal Non-acceptance
Since you are an imperfect human, your body/mind will react to outer circumstances. The more you react, the more the ego’s “no” is strengthened. The more aware you become, the freer you will be. It is important to witness the habitual reaction inside of you and act consciously. It is vital to see what causes pain inside you and what is helping you to find freedom.
If there is a situation that is out of your control, accept it.
If there is a painful situation that you created, change it.
These are your two choices when you are saying yes to the challenging situation. Both of these choices come under one heading – awareness.
Some useful tactics of using life’s problems to awaken are:
- When challenging situations occur, let it be a sign to bring more mindful awareness into your body and activities. Being more aware will keep you from being pulled into the mind’s habitual resistance to life mode.
- If a reaction to a situation occurs inside you, remind yourself that it is a wake-up call, a reminder that you are not as conscious as you need to be. Become present and aware of what is happening within you, such as breathing consciously, opening senses, and witnessing emotions.
- Take responsibility for your unconscious behavior – seeing your faults rather than “pointing fingers.”
- Practice compassion and understanding for others.
- Take new action that is out of your comfort zone. (Know that the ego always seeks what is familiar rather than going into uncharted territory)
- Learn to notice thoughts that cause destructive patterns and question their validity.
If you want to allow challenges to wake you up, it means being ready to be uncomfortable at times and face the truth. If you wish for the unshakable peace that is yours to have, listen to what your emotions are telling you and ask, “If I was in her shoes, seeing through her eyes, how would I feel?” (Which will get you out of victim mode) and “What new decision can I make that will make everyone involved happy (which will break a pattern of self-centered fear)?”
Challenging times are a call for:
- New action (out of your comfort zone)
Don’t be afraid to ask the obvious questions, “Have I been in this painful position before?” and “What do I need to do to get out of the situation and not repeat it?”