My husband and I have always talked in depth about spirituality and God, but in recent years our spiritual journey has opened our hearts and minds to a deeper understanding of love and humanness. Does this mean everything is roses and rainbows – not at all. Does this mean we do not argue – not at all. Does this mean bad things do not happen – not at all. Does this mean we are able to let go of negativity and find joy even in the darkest of times – yes it does. The big revelation that happened – we ‘got out of our heads.’
Get out of your head? What does that mean? As your day begins listen to the noise that happens in your head. The judging of situations, the agitation because ‘this’ happened, the reaction you have when ‘someone’ does something to you – it’s easy for our humanness to take over and get consumed in the little voice that says ‘unless things go this way I will not be happy.’ My food MUST be a certain way or I will not be happy, everyone MUST drive perfectly around me or I will not be happy, the weather is TOO hot for me I will not be happy, I cannot BELIEVE the way my husband talked to me I will not be happy, that big mud puddle RUINED my shoes I will not be happy, my child is BEHAVING BADLY I will not be happy, and the list, of course, can go on and on. If you listen to that little voice throughout the day you will end up so self-consumed in your own feelings that you get stuck in your head with all that worrying and suffering. Imagine every situation your mind deems as ‘negative’ as a heavy rock if you let yourself get stuck in your head at the end of the day you’d feel pretty weighed down wouldn’t you? Imagine how most of us carry around not just things that happened in one day but things that have happened over the course of weeks, months, or years – how weighed down do we end up feeling? So how do we get ‘unstuck’ out of our heads?
The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are the thoughts themselves, that is the day you find your way out. – Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul
Be Aware Of Your Thoughts Without ‘Being’ Your Thoughts – Instead of listening to that little voice in your head tell you to be mad, be sad, get irritated, get defensive, name call, judge – realize who you are is not those thoughts or how that little voice is making you feel. You are you, you are a spiritual being experiencing life – the good, the bad, the ugly and instead of being that little voice who judges and labels situations become an observer of life. Right now there are billions of things happening to everybody all over this world. Life is going to happen – are you going to let it happen inside your head or are you going to be aware of how your spirit exists in this world separate from that little voice.
Get Perspective – Want to realize how insignificant that little voice in your head is? Go outside on a dark, clear night and look up. We are all beings on a planet spinning around 1 star, in fact that star is among hundreds of billions in our Milky Way Galaxy. When we look at the universe around us and all that exists outside of our minds why do we care if someone cuts us off in traffic, how can we feel ashamed if our child doesn’t make it into that certain school, what does it matter if you’re wearing designer shoes? This is not to say we should have a ‘who cares’ attitude it’s just to help us realize how important it is to get outside our head and realize the vastness of this world and God.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:24
Be In The Present – Spiritual leaders from all walks of life advise people to live in the present moment. The greatest minds of our time urge that the only real moment to be alive is the present moment. With this way of thinking also comes the knowledge that happiness only exists in the present while unhappiness comes from thinking about something that has already happened or worrying about the future. Love, health, peace all exist in the present. To have your mind drenched with lament over an event that happened yesterday or worrying about something that will happen in the next few hours, that brings suffering to the human experience. To have your body here in the now yet your mind stuck at 10am yesterday or worrying about 9pm tonight that causes much suffering. God does not want us to suffer, God over and over again tells us to not worry.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? – Luke 12:22-26, NIV
So how do we turn off that little voice and live in the present? When you wake up instead of letting that voice start drum rolling all the things you have to do today and worries you have, start by turning the voice off and actually being aware of what your body is doing and the world around you as you move throughout the day – putting your feet on the floor, petting your dog, brushing your teeth, how the water feels in the shower, go on a walk and notice how the sun hits your skin or open your eyes to the flowers blooming along the roadside, as you talk with friends notice how good laughing feels. In the Bible Jesus often speaks of the ‘kairos’ or the supreme moment. We must live in the kairos not the ‘chronos’ which is the personification of time that so often we let rule our lives.
But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Realize That ‘It Is What It Is’ – Stop labeling life’s events as good or bad, stop categorizing everything that happens throughout the day, because when things happen they are merely ‘life’s events’. It doesn’t mean we have to like them or dislike them, it just means we accept and are aware of them. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel them and work through the pain they may cause, it simply means we stop labeling them and letting them be deemed as ‘negative’. Life’s events are experiences – will we learn from them or will we lament them?
Let Go Of Expectations – When we ‘expect’ things to go a certain way or ‘expect’ people to act a certain way we set ourselves up for that little voice in our head to have a big, huge worry party. This isn’t to say you should not have goals or boundaries – this simply means we should not put expectations on other people or situations to determine our own happiness. When we do, we set ourselves up for disappointment and suffering. This is an insidious way to live that weighs our hearts and our minds down with suffering. When we say, “I will be happy if ‘this’ doesn’t happen,” or “I will be happy if ‘this’ does happen,” we are putting conditions on our happiness and creating limits on our happiness. When we let go of how we think things ‘should’ go, we open ourselves up to more peaceful way of life.
The question is simply “Do you want to be happy?” If the answer is really yes, then say it without qualifying it. After all, what the question really means is “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?” – Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul
Be Open – When we learn to turn off that little voice in our heads and we start living in the present and accepting life’s events something beautiful begins to happen – we feel more free and we feel peace. When we open our hearts and minds to life without conditions for happiness, it is as if a weight lifts off our heart. The ability to love and feel love, the ability to actually feel positive energy running through your body, the ability to feel God in your life. It is a truly transforming experience that is right there for all of us when we are open to life without conditions. For me, although I still have times when my heart closes because things have not gone like I have wanted them to or perhaps someone has hurt my feelings, when I am open to life I notice surges of happiness that rush over my body watching my daughter play and learn, tears welling up in my eyes when I look out over a horizon with overwhelming beauty, an enlightened awareness of nature whenever I hike, garden, or walk along the beach, and a oneness with God that previously I only witnessed in glimpses.
Be One With God – I had heard this term all my life in Christian teachings as well as other religious teachings but never grasped what that meant, and of course still my humanness can get in the way from experiencing a oneness with God. We are told that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient that means God is everywhere all the time. You know there is a sun, you know it shines all the time, regardless of if you see it, regardless of if you lock yourself inside and hide from its light, the sun is always there. God is always there but we have to step into the light and open our hearts to feel it. Notice how you feel sitting by a water’s edge with the wind blowing through your hair or the exhilaration of hiking to a mountaintop and looking over the vastness of the landscape or the intoxicating laughter of children belly laughing or the intense cheers of a crowd when the underdog scores the winning touchdown – life’s moments happen in the present and we have to be in the present to feel that oneness with God.
God is not a study, an essay, or an argument. Either you are inundated with God or you are not. God is as real as someone touching your hand. That’s how much you can feel the Spirit inside of you. God is as real as the beating of your heart. You feel it flowing through your being. – Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul
Put Down The Screen – If there is one place in our current society where the present cannot exist it is on a screen, even when you see a post that says ‘Just Now’ it is no longer now because it has already posted – you cannot live in the present and be on a screen. If there is one place in our current society that can trap us inside our minds it is on a screen, our devices do not just take us out of the present moment they hijack our minds. This does not mean we should never use them, it simply means we should be aware and limit our use of them. To be in the present, to feel and show love, to be aware of the natural world around us, and to feel oneness with God we have to put down the screens.