Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Noticing This

How do we notice the timeless? How do we step outside of our habitual way of looking at the world?

One way is to make new habits.

Meditation can be one new habit. Yes, it can feel intimidating, or even difficult. But if you are looking for a habit that will transform how you look at the world, there is nothing that I know more powerful.

There are other things you can do, though, in addition to or instead of meditation. The most important thing is to understand, to feel, that your habitual ways of reacting to the world are not helping you. That, in fact, they get in the way of seeing the world as it is.

One of the most famous mystics of the 20th century was Ramana Maharshi. And he simply said to find the self. Who are you? Ask this over and over. Ask until you see the awareness that you are. Not as an idea, but as an actual experience. And when you are triggered, ask who is triggered? Who is thinking? Who is reacting? Reside in that, rather than the emotions that are leading you astray.

It can be helpful to think of times when you rested in this awareness. You may have felt it when looking at the ocean or a sunset, or when taking a walk in the woods. Being in nature can be incredibly powerful. In fact, there is science to suggest that being in nature can serve as a "reset" button to the automatic and repetitive left brain processing that we all do when we are living our daily lives.

Exercise can be helpful. Especially aerobic exercise, which can flood the system with helpful endorphins. Endorphins counteract or negate the "fight or flight" adrenaline which is normally in our system when stressed.

You can set reminders to yourself to notice awareness. Perhaps an hourly chime can be a reminder to take a minute or two.

There are also some things that you can avoid, because they tend to heighten the production of those stress chemicals.

Sugar and caffeine do this. Processed foods (which tend to have all kinds of disguised sugars) are something that you likely want to avoid. I notice that I see the world very differently when I am not drinking coffee. Things just don't have the urgency that they might otherwise have. And yes, over time, we can see that this is a good thing.

In all of these ways, we can gradually lessen the fight or flight response and increase what is called the "relaxation response." This is the timeless experience of the right hemisphere, and the most direct view into awareness.

While we can have powerful insights, it is only in establishing this way of looking as a habit that we can deepen our experience. And doing this will pay profound rewards.


No comments:

Post a Comment