The process of beginning the journey to finding your life purpose and discovering what it is you truly want can be found in those still moments when your intuition speaks to you telling you exactly what you need to know. Through mindfulness or "being awake in the here and now" epiphanies appear from whispers in the universe. Transformation begins when you let go of your negative belief systems, enjoy the process rather than getting attached to the outcome, eliminate emotional reactivity and impulsiveness, acknowledge unpleasant feelings and thoughts without getting stuck in them, and staying present one breath at a time. Mindfulness is at the root of Buddhist practices, but that doesn't mean you need to climb the hills of Tibet to get the peacefulness and clarity it brings right here and right now.
Letting go of negative belief systems
In order get clarity of your goals, you need to let go of faulty judgments that are blocking your abilities to move forward. When negativity is not released, old behaviors and patterns continue making forward movement impossible. Deep seated fears prohibit your creative process from unfolding and you find yourself stuck in the same old stories that "you are not good enough" or "you will never make more money" or "you will never find love" When these blocks are removed, new options are revealed and fulfillment of your desires can begin. When we remove destructive "thinking", we stop judging ourselves and others so harshly. We realize through mindfulness and acceptance that the possibilities are endless. Mindfulness and acceptance practices can help you identify those thought patterns and obsessions that leave you judging yourself and others and wanting for more when enough is never enough. It is often caused by fear of the pain that is buried deep within you that keeps you in negative cycles. Instead of dealing with the pain, you go to any lengths to avoid it, even though the negative thought patterns still exist. Ultimately by not dealing with excruciating pain, some people engage in destructive behaviors such as binge eating, over-spending, substance abuse, sexual addiction, gambling or entering into unhealthy relationships. These behaviors coincide with the cycle of self-loathing and self-judgment that creates a life filled with the misery you were initially trying to avoid. Only why you acknowledge your negative belief systems and walk through the pain without resistance, does real change take place.
Often these negative belief systems are a result of childhood trauma and were the only conclusions you could make as a helpless child. However that reality no longer exists and the beliefs no longer hold true because your circumstances have changed. These old messages were imprinted by the truths you took on from parents, society, and the environment a very long time ago. Your present truth no longer needs to be held back by old chatter that no longer serves you. You cannot be in harmony with all the wondrous things the universe has in store for you if you are paralyzed with negativity, fear, worries, or anxieties that you will not succeed. Fear robs you of the abundance you already possess and the abundance you have yet to realize. In addition, you have no room for unnecessary anxiety because it will only attract anxiety back into your life. Purge the feelings related to fear of failure, rejection, or the unknown as they arise. Instead allow for goodness to penetrate every aspect of your being and more of that will come to pass. With mindfulness you do this by softening those negative thought patterns and instead, cultivate compassion for your judgmental mind. Become a friend to these thoughts and sit with them without fighting them, and before you turn around, energy has been freed up to create the life you want to live. By changing the way you see things, you develop motivation and self confidence to pursue the things you really want.
Enjoy the process
When the outcome becomes more important than the journey itself, you know your priorities are in the wrong place. Focusing on the end result keeps you from seeing what is right in front of you now. This is where the answers lie, not in the desperate attempts to know what tomorrow will bring. When you are pre-occupied with the end result, you cannot experience gratitude. When you feel what you have is not enough, you enter into what I call the "more disease." Your desperation for more blocks your energy field of creativity to emerge and instead you portray desperation and neediness, which will ultimately only attract back your worst fears of "not being enough." By not allowing things to happen on their own time, you stop living in the "being" and instead frantically live in the "doing", which blocks the universal flow of giving you what you actually desire. This type of neediness distracts you from accomplishing your goals and aspirations. The universe works on its own time, not yours. Keep doing what is in front of you and before you know it, you will attract exactly what it is you have been working towards. It is through letting go of desperate neediness that you free yourself from attachment. When you chose to live in the always wanting what you don't have mentality, you lose the ability to be in the "living", and instead focus on what is missing. Through a mindfulness practice, you create a space of serenity and peacefulness which allows you to let go and move into a state of grace and harmony rather than from a place of anxiety and fear. Letting go of attachments provides you with the willingness to stay with your impatience, discomfort, and doubts without buying into the quick fix and temptation to change what is. You learn to sit with all your worries, anxieties, and fears without having to change anything or anyone. You get out of the "I need, I want, I should have, I deserve" cycle and appreciate what you do have rather than what you think you are missing. By doing this, you begin to see what is really important and can harness your energy into meaningful action moving you closer to your life's purpose.
Eliminate emotional reactivity and impulsiveness
One of the benefits of mindfulness is learning how to be in the "being rather than the doing." You learn to stop and take a pause before reacting in an emotional way. You stop running on autopilot and become increasingly more aware of difficult situations and how to handle them in the most effective manner. This type of self regulation helps you avoid making quick decisions. You can sit in the not knowing what to do next comfortably without making future plans by the seat of your pants. Emotional hijacking doesn't take over and mistakes can sometimes be avoided when you learn to just be rather than falling prey to the chain reaction of reactivity. It is that impulsivity that can lead to addictions to shopping, the internet, alcohol or drugs, gambling, love, sex, or other abuses. When you make the decision to not be impulsive, you free up energy that can be directed towards achieving the goals you have set out to accomplish. You can now take steps toward realizing what comes next without being bogged down by the chaos and drams that exists when you react mindlessly. When you are mindful, you can handle feedback from others without having to retaliate because you feel threatened or criticized. By responding to life's curve balls thoughtfully, answers begin to flow and situations that were intolerable become bearable. Flowing is when creativity begins to percolate and your future visualizations come to you. Opportunities began to appear because you are no longer clouded by defensiveness, anger, or hurt. Every challenge becomes a growth opportunity which opens up greater possibilities for your life. When you are rejected by a potential partner, you see it as an opportunity to review what it is you want in a relationship. You begin to understand that being rejected by someone today has nothing to do with being abandoned in the past. When a business plan doesn't launch, rather than blaming yourself and getting into the vicious cycle of self hatred, you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow from. By being in a space of serenity and harmony rather than reactivity and impulsivity, you begin to attract the right people that can appreciate your calmness and grace of both your personal professional goals. They say water seeks its own level, therefore, when you portray composure you block out un-healthy struggles for healthy circumstances to arise. When you chose to confront what is uncomfortable with tranquility rather than harshness, you learn that everything is impermanent.
Acknowledging unpleasant feelings and thoughts
Your thoughts are out to get you! That's right. The endless chatter that takes over every part of your being like a swirling vortex. If your thoughts tell you that you will fail, shame takes over and you don't even try. You begin to attack yourself instead of allowing the thoughts to exist just as they are without creating a story around them. It is these stories that keep you from pursuing your life purpose and keep you numb and in the trance of fear. You endlessly chase these demons away with addictions, materialism, and feeling like a victim rather than living your life fully and to your greatest potential. The key to avoiding the thought trap is to be a witness of your thoughts and emotions but not get hooked by them. When you doubt your ideas and goals with messages such as "It is a bad economy, why should I try?" or "I have never succeeded before, why would I now?" ask yourself are these doubts coming from old myths you have about yourself or uncertainties from past experiences that are no longer relevant?
Try the following mindfulness practice to get yourself untangled from these negative thoughts that dominate your awareness.
- 1. Stop and bring your focus to the thought.
- 2. Picture your heart and take slow breathes in from your nose and out through your mouth allowing these negative thoughts to soften.
- 3. Contemplate and ask yourself are these thoughts a reaction from past hurts and disappointments?
- 4. Now that you have developed insight into the origins of these thoughts, make a conscious choice to take a new direction and see what is really possible now.
Staying present one breath at a time
At the heart of mindfulness practice is meditation. Mindfulness practices can be as formal as practicing meditation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, or muscle relaxation or it can be as informal as learning how to slow down from a hurried day by using conscious breathing techniques and mindfully experiencing the joy of just being present. These skills teach you how to take the sacred pause, and best of all, in a Zen moment, you need not be adorned with a cushion, a beaded shawl, or even prayer beads. Some of our most blessed and serene moments occur in the middle of our hectic schedule. Learning mindfulness skills teaches you to feel centered anytime and anywhere. When you are in balance, you tend to be less reactive or impulsive, which allows you make more skillful decisions in your daily life and in the goals you are carrying out. Being mindful allows you to be present with whatever comes your way without needing to control, fix, or manipulate it. Being present dismisses the illusion that you find happiness from outside yourself. When life throws you a curve ball such as crises, a loss, or even a terminal illness, you are more prepared to handle the pain with dignity and poise. You learn how to accept stress and discomfort without hiding, avoiding, or denying it. When you learn to accept stress and discomfort, you then can discover your deepest authentic self which can only lead to finding your true life purpose.