The Fullness of Now
What is your dream for this new year? More happiness, less stress? A fitter body, a thicker wallet? A more comfortable living space, fulfilling relationships? Increased creativity, deeper peace? Time to enjoy all of these fresh things? Before we can cultivate the new, we have to release the old. As Jesus said, we cannot pour new wine into old wine skins.
What are the outdated wine skins in our lives that need to be discarded? Most of the time, these antiquated items are our mental strongholds. These psychological fortresses are masked as sensitivities. We all have sensitivities, right? When we live without awareness, these sensitivities rule our lives. They may more aptly be named excuses. What are some examples? “I am just hot-headed.” “I am a worrier.” “I am a jealous person.” “I get my feelings hurt easily.” “I have to make sure that everything is done the right way.” We think that these sensitivities are part of who we are and, therefore, will always be with us causing problems or the need for other people to tip-toe around us.
The truth is, however, that you can discard mental strongholds that are not serving you, and you don’t have to live with sensitivities. They don’t have to drive you. The way to release sensitivities is not to identify with them. Stop claiming that you are this or that kind of person. When you do this, you just feed the illusion and justify your unhealthy behavior.
Your freedom begins with noticing. When your body begins to feel tense and you engage with the narrative that says that you are a victim, remove your energy from the story. Step back from it. See that this commentary is generated by your mind and is not you. It has a life of its own and was produced by a painful memory stored in your body, but this old wound is not who you are. When these past hurts get triggered, you experience them as emotions that create a tendency for you to shut down or explode, to judge yourself or someone else. Your own unawareness of this pattern—trigger/emotion/blame/justify, trigger/emotion/blame/justify—has led to your habitual reactions and your resulting excuses, eh hem, sensitivities.
To interrupt this cycle, it is important to understand that feelings and thoughts are just energy flowing through you. You experience them, but they don’t define you. You are the witness who is observing the drama unfold as a felt sense in your body and a monologue in your mind. The story kidnaps you from being here, and the emotions distract you from living now. Neither phenomenon are bad. The narrative serves a useful purpose on one end of the spectrum when you need to solve a problem, but when it begins to spin a yarn, it causes you to suffer on the other end. Your feelings give you the precious experience of being human. When allowed to course through you, they enrich your life. When they solidify into sensitivities, they encumber you.
What you feed grows. Emotions and thoughts evaporate if you allow them to pass. Simply stop feeding sensitivities (excuses) and they will cease to be. In this way you are free to experience the abundance of this present moment, this holy moment, without the commentary that keeps you living in your head. In this open space, you are available to encounter the fullness of now, and it is in the fullness of now that your dreams come true.
Easier said than done? Well, that is what practice is for.