“We create our reality by choosing which thoughts to pay attention to and to act on.”
Mindfulness practice allows us to stay present in the now and avert emotional episodes. This is important because emotional tension serves no purpose, it merely causes suffering. We create our reality. Thought can go anywhere. It means nothing. The way we create our reality is by choosing which thoughts to pay attention to, and to act on. After all, how many thoughts have come up that you chose not to act on? My guess is a lot! Probably a lot more than you did act on. Indeed, that is almost a given! We can just as easily say, I chose presence instead of suffering.
One day not long ago, I was on a drive to pick up my mail and my attention seemed to spontaneously go to the 3rd chakra. I consciously relaxed that part of my body, located near the abdomen, and found still point. Then I found myself in, what I like to refer to as space consciousness. This is the place we are in when all the energy in the body is flowing freely and the mind goes quiet, like, for example, when we are standing by a lake and staring at the still waters with no thoughts.
When I drive, I often find myself in space consciousness. The reason is I intentionally place my attention on the space between my car and the other automobiles. In turn, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, which tells the body to “stand down, all is well.” This brings on bodily changes, such as heart rate slowing down and breathing becoming more rhythmic and we feel much more relaxed.
In contrast, when we turn our attention to the car in front or behind us, we enter into object consciousness, because, quite simply, we are focusing our attention on the object. This engages the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight or flight response. It is the opposite of the relaxation response and therefore, it does not feel very comfortable, as the body is preparing itself to stay and fight or run away. Naturally, that is not a very good state to be in while driving. Indeed, in extreme cases it leads to incidents of road rage.
Placing attention on the space while driving and then simultaneously feeling the energy in the body has become a clear path to get into space consciousness, and it always feels good. How could it not? The body is in a relaxed state and energy is allowed to flow freely. Therefore, the energy in the body feels expansive as it matches the energy field around it. This is what happens when we are in space consciousness, and although it is helpful to have an anchor to go there, such as the driving technique described above, it is better to not need an anchor in the first place. Moreover, if one is in the absolute present moment of now the mind becomes quiet and the body is in a state of rest. In turn, we maintain space consciousness for an extended period of time.
After picking up the mail I noticed a letter about health insurance, so I opened it. I seemed to have a “fearful” thought that I may not have done what is required of me by law from the new Obama care program. As I kept some attention on the lower chakras, I realized the only thing to do was to do what’s next, which is always the case. This is the key to staying present in the now. It is where peace resides because there is nothing to do except do what we are doing in that moment. Then, when we are finished with what we are doing, we can move our attention to the next task at hand.
I can hear the question already, how does one prioritize what to do next? To answer this question, first I would like to suggest that it is of vital importance to attend to the inner sensations, which is to say, keeping awareness in the body so as to notice feelings at their inception. Then, we can intentionally relax and release the energy even before the thought is formed. This is the significance of having full body presence. It is a pathway to perfect energy flow. In turn, it is a pathway to optimum health. Furthermore, when we become in tune with the energy flow in the body, we will know when the body feels expansive or contractive. That is our yes and no. If the body feels expansive when we consider what to do next, we know that is a yes, and we ought to follow it. However, if the body feels contractive, it is an emotional reaction from a previous event, and following it would be following our fears.
Based on what was written above, we can see the importance of observing thoughts non-judgmentally. Indeed, thousands of random thoughts are generated every day in the average person. Why attach energy to them? That is what a judgement is. It’s drudging up passed, stored energy, that occurred when we chose to believe an idea that passed along the mind screen, which was given to us by an adult when we could not yet discern between self and other, and then attaching it to a current situation. That is how the ego perpetuates itself.
In sum, when we turn attention to the objects we enter into object consciousness, the body goes into a level of fight or flight, and we feel uncomfortable. However, when we turn attention to the space between the objects, the body goes into the relaxation mode, and we feel more comfortable. Moreover, the direction of attention is a choice. What do you choose to place your attention on?