Today, I found myself in an interesting conversation that deserves some attention. The topic of the conversation was how an individual interfaces with experience. When a person is confronted with something from the outside world, i.e., being robbed, cheated on, winning money, etc., how do they respond? My friend began talking about “particulars” of situations, such as what if someone robs you and has a starving wife at home? What if the person robbing you is doing it for selfish reasons? I proceeded to share that regardless of such particulars it is still up to the individual to respond based upon their internal process. The person that is being robbed can choose to become violent, can allow the person to take their possessions, etc., regardless of “why” it’s happening. Also, there is a process after that occurs where the individual makes sense of and digests the experience. This is where growth of consciousness, integration, and reflection become one. The individual is able to reflect how he or she handled what occurred, the beliefs they feel about Self, what’s going on in the body, and how this interacts with their current belief system that exists. This is the process of the individual that wants to grow. It’s all about how the person “chooses” to receive and understands what happened or what’s happening that matters. It allows the individual to gauge how they’re doing, and what they need to work on. This is what I call managing your “inner island”. This is my practice. I continue to stop and check in with how I feel about situations I find myself in. I then choose (if I haven’t reacted), how to interface with the experience and then reflect on what I could learn. Usually the current outside experience, i.e., a breakup, a loss, is kicking up older feelings that have been dormant. It is from this point, that I can choose to match and move what’s going on within me. For instance if I suddenly become aware of deep sadness, I can evoke it and allow it to moved by journalling, body work, hitting a punching bag, etc., or I can choose to ignore it. I can also choose to go into anger about why it happened, and how unconscionable the other person is and why. These are all distractions from the internal process of what’s going on “inside” of me. What are the emotional currents doing, and why are they being stirred. I think a lot of us miss the opportunity to look clearly within and cut through the outside distractions to get to what’s really going on. If a person is looking to grow, and to become more intimate with their Self, then choosing to wonder why he or she responds to life and it’s situations can be a direct pathway to that end – awareness. Awareness meaning the person extending out from a place where all beliefs, feelings, and states of mind are his or hers alone and stem from their own internal world. It is from this place of complete responsibility that a person begins to learn about their internal island and tend to it as they see fit. If they want more compassion on that island, reflecting on experiences that they can practice that and ones they were not able to are beneficial.
We can talk about whether something is good or bad for days. My questions to you are, how do you view it and why? What is it that the experience is causing you to feel? Are there characteristics that you could strengthen or cultivate from interfacing with this experience? Are the themes and body sensations familiar? The answers to all of these questions come from where I choose to place my focus. The experience is yours and mine alone. I, personally, choose to expand, grow, and learn from all the beauty and pain that crosses my path, even if I need to throw a tantrum for the first day. I always come back to this place of awareness. The choice is mine. The choice is yours. How will you choose?