Much of your life may be passing you buy. Unless you are fully awake, the perpetual flow of thoughts into your inner world is determining how you see the outer world. Once you experience the slightest hint of awakening, you will begin to understand the depth of your psychic sleep. In the movie “Joe vs the Volcano” Meg Ryan states; “Almost the whole world’s asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. Only a few people are awake. And they live in a state of constant total amazement.” Seeing the truth in this statement is the key to understanding everyday thoughts and how they steal away the present moment.
Try this awareness test. Take a few minutes to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and relax. Focus only on your breathing. Try and keep your awareness centered on breathing only. Then begin to expand your awareness by noticing any sounds in your immediate area. Continue to expand to sounds outside or farther away. Now open your eyes while still focusing on your breathing and listening. Look closely at your surroundings. Carefully pick out details you might not normally see. By this point it will be difficult to maintain your awareness in all three levels. Thoughts will begin to take over your awareness and fill your mind in an endless stream. You are now falling back into the state of mindless sleep. As you go through your day, attempt to remember to subtly bring your breathing into your consciousness. It will be difficult to remember at first. With practice it becomes easier. The awaking process is beginning.
Mental sleep is similar to this type of driving experience. You drive from one place to another and then realize you cannot recall how you got to your destination. Or, perhaps you lie awake at night wondering why you cannot fall to sleep. Your mental machine is in overdrive; you are lost in thought and not aware of the present moment. To the extent you are mentally asleep, much of life’s magic and wonder is not part of your everyday existence. Instead, your mind is lost in thought and many times those thoughts are creating the fear, uncertainty, and pain you feel inside. Try and watch your thoughts as they go by in your mind. Do not try to change them. Whenever you become cognizant of the distressing thoughts coursing through your mind, you automatically banish them. Slow the stream of disruptive thoughts into your mind to increase present awareness and awake to a new world of amazement.
Noted for her famous diaries, Anais Nin once wrote “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” This profound statement is extraordinary. As we become more awake to the present moment, we begin to see things differently. That is because were are changing on the inside. Coming more alive on the inside will reveal a new world on the outside. Watch a young child at play. They are lost in the moment and free of fear or anxiety. Seek to capture that moment for yourself. As long as your remain in your sleep state, those moments continue to pass by. You are not really present in your life. When you feel anxiety or fear creeping into your moments, try coming awake to your thoughts. You might find the source of your fear is held within the constant river of thoughts that parades through your mind.
Learning to increase your internal awareness can have positive benefits. There are of course practical thoughts that are required to perform some task or work on a project. Like the kind of thinking that we might use to write a letter or fix a flat tire. It is the thoughts that cause emotional reactions that we need to pay attention to. Since the reasons for these emotional outbursts are often unknown to us. Lets look at anger. Think about the times you get angry. What is going on? Most of the time you will discover that your anger stems from a disruption in your own expectations. You get up in the morning and you expect the alarm to go off, the car to start, or your kids to come home in time for dinner. Some off these things you have might have limited control over like buying a new battery for the car before the old one conks out. Other times you do not have any control since the power went out and the alarm failed to go off. When you become more aware of the source of your anger, you bring it into present awareness. Then you may come to the conclusion that your anger only serves to raise your blood pressure and increase your stress level. Later in the day you may blow up at some trivial event and not know why. It is likely you have fallen asleep and unaware of the thoughts flooding your mind. Those thoughts of being late for work because of the alarm not working cause you to explode at the least little inconvenience. Stay awake in the present moment to understand your anger. Eventually you will be able to let it go into the past and get back to living in the present moment.
Living in a state of constant amazement is simply a matter of waking up from your inner sleep. Spend as much of your day in the present moment as possible. It will open up your awareness to new possibilities. Soon you will begin to notice the world as it really is. A marvelously amazing creation filled with miracles.