It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs create the landscape in your mind that you call “here.” The challenging element is that it’s not fixed. Even while you inhabit it, it is changing based on your perception.
Your inner landscape reflects your feelings and the thoughts that are connected to them.
Two people can encounter the same situation and have completely different reactions based on their own history and stories. For instance, one person sees a picture of the Eiffel Tower and feels excitement and romance because it’s where their partner proposed. Another sees the same picture and feels sick to their stomach because it reminds them of the trip to France that led to a romantic breakup. Same photo, two very different responses rooted in their own individual experiences.
The ground beneath you, the atmosphere around you, and the energy within you can all shift in an instant as you react to what you perceive as happening in your life.
Imagine going into work one day to give a presentation to the “boss.” You’re moving along, confident and positive, when suddenly, an off-handed remark from a colleague about your hair (of all things!) sends your blood pressure soaring and your heart pounding. It’s triggered a memory of your beautifully groomed mother who always made cutting remarks about your clothing and hair. Suddenly, you’re five years old again with dirt on your face!
When a powerful emotion thrusts you into a new landscape, you can become unsure of where you are. You can become blinded by negative energy, and your one and only thought is, “Get me out of here!”
But what if by digging in and staying right where you are, you could uncover hidden treasure? What if mindfulness — rather than escape — led to a deeper understanding of your unique purpose?
Yes, when your heart begins to pound and your breathing becomes shallow, you can feel like scrambling away like a crab on a rock as a predator attacks. But it is possible to step back and view this scene from the safety of your mind, with its vast potential for imagination.
When you let go of your fear and face your surroundings, you call up the ability to alter your experience of the present moment and even change the landscape itself! It’s not escapism; it’s realizing that what you are sensing is only one single way to interpret what is occurring.
This is the goal of mindfulness: To embrace the present at the same time you gain distance that allows you to interpret the current situation in a number of different ways.
Just like holding up a diamond to the light, you can turn your current situation this way and that, seeing how light refracts off the different facets. Each perspective is part of the whole, but they’re all unique. None is The Truth, though all are true.
The mind has created patterns of thoughts and behaviors, and you are constantly filtering thoughts and facts that contradict what you already believe.
In order to adopt a new perspective, you must become mindful of your filters and learn how to change them. In doing so, you empower yourself to make different choices and create new patterns — and write a new story.
The only way to see clearly is to step back from the current experience and notice: notice the stories, the filters, the patterns, the interpretations you’re imposing on what’s happening.
Owning how you feel and experience life is what will help you shift your feelings and experience with life! The goal is to explore your internal landscape with a level of detachment instead of being psychologically or emotionally identified or attached to them. This detachment helps put you in the position of observing something, instead of being that something.
Identification feels permanent, as if it will always be that way; whereas, observation sets you free from the illusion of emotional permanence.
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