And we cannot control others. Haven’t we tried? We may force certain behaviors on a short term basis, but we lose out on any long term change.
We have meager control over our body. For instance, can we keep it from getting hungry? Or have it forever healthy and young?
And we certainly cannot stop the earth or the planets from rotating in their orbits.
But there is a place where we have control. It is in our choice of response to each moment.
We choose how we respond. This is within our control.
Note how you respond to severe weather forecasts. To travel delays. To criticism. To praise.
How do you feel when your phone message isn’t returned? When you don’t receive the job you had hoped for? Or the healing?
Each of us needs to find that which sustains us in difficult times. It will be the sum total of all our small choices. If we abdicate power in the small ways, by simply reacting to habits, to outer pressure, we won’t have anything to stand on when larger challenges face us.
How will we proceed? Will we be open to new possibilities? Or feel that all is lost and there is no reason to hope? It’s up to us to look at and to investigate our opinions and reactions.
Opinions aren’t truth. They are simply a view of something. How we see something will give rise to how we act.
What is our view of life this moment? Are we uplifted and hopeful? Or are we filled with a sadness, an unfulfilled yearning, perhaps even dread or despair?
Do we brush off the beauty of this moment, not accepting the pleasure of the present experience, whatever it is?
Whatever state we may find ourselves in—sadness, anger, joy, fear—our true freedom is how we meet each moment.
And this is up to us. If we do not know what the mind is doing, we have abdicated our power.
Everyone has difficult times to face. There are dark days, and there are days that flow in wonderful harmony. But no matter what the situation is we each have freedom in the way we meet each experience.
And it always begins within. How do we view this situation? How are we seeing things?
When fear or anger arise, adrenalin flows through the body, giving us energy to respond to an emergency situation. In these instances it’s often more of a reaction than a clear choice. We simply act.
But crisis don’t happen every day, for which we can be very grateful.
More often our challenge is a relationship problem, a financial worry, which product to buy, where to donate our time and money, etc. etc. Or in my case how to deal with technical devices.
Perhaps we feel so lost and confused that our identity seems to be at stake and we temporarily lose self-esteem.
These are difficulty situations requiring quietness and calmness to arrive at the most appropriate decision.
Or will we fall into the old habit of blame? Or be frozen by fear, unable to make a decision?
Or will we take the steps that help calm the mind?
Here is our choice point.
Perhaps we need to just stand there, rather than doing something.
“In quietness and confidence is my strength.” Isaiah 30:15
If we opt for becoming quiet and calm, we can pause, breathe deeply several times, pay attention to each breath noticing how it rises and falls away. As we note body sensations, pulsations, places of holding, the mind quiets and the body calms.
It is helpful to note the posture of the body. Do we give it dignity? Or are we hunched over, shoulders down, protecting our heart and our solar plexis.
Body awareness is a choice.
Breathing deeply, aligning with the free energy of the universe, we are more capable of seeing options.
Freedom comes from having options.
A calm and quiet mind and body create the conditions for options to reveal themselves. We can sort out which option will bring more peace and harmony, or which might lead to future harm.
As we wait in the silence we will be able to see that “slender thread” that is always here to guide us.
Waiting and watching is up to us. And isn’t that wonderful? That’s how free we are.
We have options, choices.
We can develop mindfulness. We can listen for the intuitive voice within.
And we can practice this each day, so that it is available to us when difficulties arise.
It’s next to impossible to learn the art of calmness in the middle of a storm.
But we can practice calming the mind each day in small ways. We can remember to pause often, become still and breathe with awareness.
“Little and often” is a powerful practice.