Life is not personal. It is neither for you nor against you. You can choose to take life as impersonal…and be happy no matter what the outside circumstances.
Wow! That was a radical statement when I first heard it. I was in my 20’s and had no idea what an impersonal life was. To tell the truth, I didn’t want one. I was too attached to my drama and trauma – my feelings were god and my mind was the captain of my reality. Impersonal felt unattached, boring, and much too sedate.
Many years later, bloody and battered from allowing my feelings to run the show I was desperately looking for another way to live. Could it really be true that I could choose to be happy…no matter what?!
About this time I stumbled upon a spiritual self-mastery practice of Observation. This practical tool promised liberation from familiar flash- back memories of hurt and disappointment. My curiosity was peeked. Who was I beyond my habitual emotional reactions? Was I happy or not?
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my feelings and my thoughts were not really ME. And most of the time they did not originate from truth or produce new and fresh insights. What were they producing? That I was not growing emotionally. My life was a rerun – and the episodes were getting pretty old.
Applying the Spiritual Self-Mastery Tool of Observation changed all that. To my delight, I uncovered a ‘me’ that was peaceful, full of wisdom, compassionate, and unconditional loving – and happy! And I found this new me beyond my habitual knee-jerk reactions that kept my mind spinning and my emotions churning.
I began observing my thoughts and my feelings rather than believing them. Another radical discovery. I didn’t have to believe what my mind told me? Wow!
For a smart, good-in-school student I was supported to worship the mind. Well then, I wondered, what is my mind good for? Turns out it’s great for memorizing, repeating, gathering information, rational deducing, problem solving and getting stuck in habitual thinking patterns…but when it came to discovering WHO I AM… or creating happiness..it was not the mind’s job.
As I practiced this new tool of Observation, a tangible sense of well-being replaced the highs and lows of my emotional roller coaster ride. This calm, peaceful me turned out to know the answers that I was seeking. Eureka! I discovered what it was to know beyond the mind.
Observation, the first in the Six Self-Mastery tools, teaches you to not take life personally. Here is a four day Plan for Practicing if you would like to give it a try for yourself.
A Four Day Plan for Practicing Observation
Day One – Spend the day observing an emotion or a mental pattern that is habitual for you. For example: If you are quick to anger while driving in traffic observe your anger. Notice what your mind says; track your body responses. Do you spend the next few minutes in obsessive thoughts?
Another example: If you find yourself easily disappointed in a relationship observe your disappointment. Notice what your mind says; track your body responses. What ‘story’ or meaning do you tell yourself about disappointment?
Day Two – while driving in traffic and still observing your anger (or your habitual pattern) ask yourself, What is going on underneath my anger? Am I afraid? Are my feelings hurt? Am I frustrated? What is the real source of my anger?
Day Three – Ask your Inner Guidance (High Self, Spirit, Soul, God) to be present with you in the car today as you drive in traffic. Set an intention to observe your feelings, and ask for a higher perspective; a learning; a new revelation. What happens in your body?
OR ask you Inner Guidance to reveal to you how you run the ‘story’ of disappointment and the ‘seed’ of that disappointment in your past.
Write this new awareness down and repeat it to yourself on Day Four while you are driving in your car. Example: I am aware that underneath my anger is a fear of being late. When I am late I feel guilt.
Example: I am aware that my disappointment started when my Dad left and I felt ‘not important’ or unloveable.
Now, what do you do with this feeling of guilt or un loveable? Great question.
Next post: Self-Mastery Tools Two and Three – Self-Acceptance and Self-Compassion.