My last blog post of August 8, 2015, I talked about living with paradox and getting comfortable with uncertainty. It is hard to believe that was five months ago. Needless to say, I’ve been remiss about keeping up – and about writing in general.
Shortly before – and after – I wrote and published that post, I received feedback from my sister that all of my writings seemed to be basically the same. In other words, she felt there wasn’t anything “new” that I was sharing or saying. She was in most ways quite correct: I wrote a LOT about fear and learning to face it.
At the time of her feedback, I remember thinking “What more is there? Facing our fears and accepting the uncertainty of life is everything.” I struggled with what more there was to say or what deeper message could I possible have to share?
Sometime in September I had an epiphany as I realized the significance between “uncertainty” and “mystery.” Perhaps not everyone agrees, however for me, uncertainty in itself implies fear. With uncertainty there is doubt, danger, risk. Mystery, however, often implies a little bit of excitement. It’s what’s difficult to explain or what’s unknown – like the mysteries of outer space.
Although I failed miserably at keeping any New Years resolutions I started last year, I did succeed at living the word I had chosen for the year: TRUST. What I discovered was that as I became more “comfortable with uncertainty,” somewhere along the way I began to “embrace the mystery.” This change for me was significant because I stopped being afraid.
I did this through TRUST. Trust is defined as the “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” At the essence of this definition is the word “belief” – and at its essence is a way of thinking.
On the wall in my bedroom I have a white board where I’ve written “Every moment is a choice, what choice will you make?” I write a lot about our power to interpret and give meaning to the events in our lives and this memo serves to remind me each day of mine. Of course, I don’t always roll over and read it – or live it for that matter. But I believe it’s true.
The choice I’m talking about is the choice of how we think. I’ve written about my beliefs in how many of our thoughts create our reality. Excerpts from an article I wrote for Tiny Buddha explains some of the reason for this:
Although not everyone agrees with the belief that we focus on is what we create, chances are if you’ve ever thought about buying a certain kind of car, you’ve experienced suddenly seeing that kind of car everywhere.
This phenomena is referred to as frequency illusion. Our minds sift out all the other data we are receiving and starts to see more of something we have just noticed or learned. It is amazing how we will begin seeing things previously unnoticed based on where our thoughts and focus are directed.
… Similar to “frequency illusion” is the experience of “selective attention.”
Numerous studies demonstrate when our attention is occupied with one thing, we often fail to notice other things right before our eyes. In one study, few people noticed a woman with an umbrella cross the field while they were counting how many times a football got passed from one player to another.
As we learn to embrace the mystery and trust, we begin to sift out those pieces of “reality” which no longer serve us and see the pieces which do. What happens next can seem amazing and miraculous … because reality literally seems to ‘shift’ to support our viewpoint.
What is required is that sometimes we have to look hard for the ‘silver lining’ in whatever is happening. We must also absolutely trust that something greater and better is unfolding. Then, we must start looking for it. We keep looking for it until it manifests.
If manifestation of something greater and better takes a long time in coming, it can be difficult to keep looking and trusting that it will come. I certainly feel that way in regards to my vision and my dream of one day having a greater impact on the awakening consciousness. It will be two years this summer since I was laid off from my corporate job and I am no where close to supporting myself as a writer and speaker.
I am, however, being supported. I can choose to see myself as a failure, or I can choose to see where I have made progress and am a success. And sometimes I need to remind myself of this because it’s easy to lose hope and faith.
For most of us, the beginning of a new year is a time for reflection and projection. We review the prior year and resolve to do more or do better. Or we sink into depression at our perceived failures. Sometimes, year after year, things seem to never change.
Early on in the beginning of this leg of my journey, I developed eight steps to getting off auto-pilot. Some days I remember and live by them – and some days I return to auto-pilot. Even the acceptance that this pattern is life doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t feel down on myself at times. Trust me, I do.
Yet, I return to the first of the eight steps: Dedication and Commitment. It’s all about coming back and starting the mental process over and over again – while being gentle and self-compassionate. I encourage you to do the same. We can’t change the past – it only exists within our minds. However, we can embrace the mystery, trust the process, and begin anew.
Welcome to 2016.