At this time of year many people get clear on what their word of the year is or spend time reflecting on the previous year and setting a vision for the next year. Interestingly I had lunch recently with a colleague who sets up her year in August of the previous year. That said this is not an article about the merits of having a vision or when to set it, in fact it goes deeper than that to question the very essence of what vision is.
In a course in miracles a book that was channelled by a woman whose name was only revealed on her death, one of the key ideas is that In no situation that arises do you realise the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result.
This idea can bring up a lot of resistance for many because as one of my clients calls it your shego/ hegowants to be in control of everything that happens so it will fight tooth and nail to retain that. To help clients understand these ideas I encourage them to work with the following mantra I do not perceive my own best interests for at least a day.
Why does that mantra work?
I found that particular mantra very freeing, perhaps because from where I am at and what I have experienced, it made so much sense. Think of it this way the conditioned self has been taught that it is each person for themselves and that you have to go into every situation considering either what’s in it for me orhow I can I get the best outcome for me?
If you strip that attitude back to the underlying emotion that’s driving that way of being, it is fear. And what can make this more complex is that sometimes this fear is masked by anger. Let’s explore fear for a moment. It could be fear of missing out; fear of being ripped off and so on. When we examine that fear we see what lies beneath. It may be that you feel completely alone and feel the need to protect yourself for example. Now let’s dig deeper to see what lies underneath that. Fundamentally what we see is lack: this can show up as I haven’t got enough: or that I am not enough. If we are all aspects of the Divine then how can that idea be true?
At its simplest when in that place we are not seeing clearly; and all destructive emotions are merely mental projections based on interpretations that come from deeply held and unquestioned beliefs. How do we shift this? I am an adherent of these words from a very wise soul:
In the end, the reason we study is to be able to tackle and reduce our destructive emotions.dalai lama
This year more than ever as a seven year, you are encouraged to become more reflective and put space in your diary to create that. What has helped me is to cultivate a daily practice that includes:
- 10-20 mins of qi gong to clear any trapped chi (energy);
- reflection on my emotional and mental state using prompts;
- reading spiritual books and reflecting on their message and what it means for me
Notice the importance of working with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Which of these pathways comes most easily for you?
The power of thought
It is your thoughts that effect your sense of emotional wellbeing and can impact on your effectiveness in life. Remember there are no neutral thoughts.
Every thought you have can bring you pain or delight. And the more we are stuck in that level of reality the more challenging life can become because it can feel overwhelming.
Every day the Dalai Lama follows a daily practice which consists of cultivating bodhichitta, a sense of altruism rooted in compassion. You could work with the following verse to cultivate yours if it resonates:
For as long as space enduresshantideva
And for as long as living beings remain
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
Why make time for a daily practice when life is so busy? This is something we will explore next time when we start to examine the link between vision and purpose.
This process takes quite a commitment and may feel like hard work or overwhelming. If that’s the case for you why not take one of the remaining two places on my upcoming retreat on 19 Feb? Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to book.