Can you really believe that something you desperately want in your life will happen with ease? Or do you believe it will require setting a goal and working steadily towards that, with bumps on the road that you’ll have to overcome and a ton of willpower?
In the process of life we have forgotten how to attract, without any plan or grueling effort on our part, what we truly want in life. "Nothing worth having comes easy” is ingrained in many of us. Consider the possibility, however, that things can come to you one of two ways, with effort or with ease.
Here are the two processes. One is outside in, the other is inside out.
Outside in (the habit life has taught you)
If it’s going to be it’s up to me. There’s something about your life you don’t like, it could be your relationship, your family situation, your looks, your health, your diet, your job, your career, your voice, your location, on and on, the list is endless. Most days you are aware of this lack, even if not consciously, you can feel its weight adding to the rest of the weight on your shoulders.
Occasionally, maybe on a great night out, or weekend away, usually on a relaxing break of some kind, the desire for change comes into sharp focus, so you now have a goal. Perhaps you start thinking about how the goal can be achieved and who needs to do what and suddenly it all seems hopeless because you realise you can’t control who does what.
Let’s say you’ve got as far as a plan though, it might be a great plan, a very sound plan. But you know it’s going to take willpower. Either the battery for your willpower soon depletes and it becomes a “maybe someday” thing or you are disciplined and eventually, after a lot of hard work and many ups and downs, you finally achieve your goal.
While there is great satisfaction achieving a goal hard won, there is statistically only a very small chance you will sustain the changes. The energy required to do so eventually gives way to other desires.
So what’s the alternative?
Inside out (your default programme at birth)
You might have all sorts of hopes and aspirations about your looks or your weight, health, relationships or career. All of these things are great, but they have one thing in common, your desire to be feel good.
We think it’s achieving these things that will make us happy, and they might for a while before we either give up on the effort or start looking at the next thing. It’s back to front, if you can aspire to these things from a point of feeling good about where you are now, there will be no need for a map to find those things, instead you will draw them to you.
Think about some of the most fulfilling and satisfying aspects in your own life, how did they come to you? I met my partner just days after I finally felt good about living on my own, he literally showed up on the doorstep. After years of trying, I discovered I was pregnant with my first daughter exactly one month after finally letting go of the idea about how that was going to happen. After months of determined effort proactively soliciting companies I’d researched on a database, I followed a hunch to call about a readvertised job that I had previously ruled out, landing a pivotal role. The list is long.
While ease is your inherent nature, from the minute you are born the world starts wrapping you in layers of well meaning padding to ‘protect you from yourself’. Before you even knew who you were consciously, the authentic you had slipped into obscurity along with all the inherent tools and intentions you came with.
Paradoxically learning to receive with ease will require some effort invested – in the form of focus and practice. To listen to your inner voice you have to be still. You might think that makes sense, but how often do you do it?
Being still means you must be able to hear your own inner thoughts, uninterrupted. This is called contemplation. Once you have become aware of your thoughts, rather than lost in them, you can begin the process of stilling the mind so that you let your thoughts go. They will keep drifting in and out, but it’s the conscious awareness and letting go that we call meditation.
Some people like to simply sit in the lotus position and do this without moving, completely alone and in silence. It’s unlikely that will work for you straight away because you’re too used to being active most of the time. Start with activities that allow you to focus, preferably in nature (the great soother), like walking, cycling or swimming. You will soon discover many activities that allow you to tune in and focus inwards, from standing in line at the checkout, to chopping veges for dinner.
What does that achieve? Stillness. Peace. Clarity. It helps you to unwind from whatever vortex of negative, burdensome experiences you’ve had that day. It helps you to connect to the real you. Practice this daily if you can, in as many situations as you can. It brings you to the same place those all too infrequent holidays and breaks bring you to in the course of the year.
Once you’ve practiced being consciously aware of your thoughts, feelings and experiences, you get a different view on life. You start to notice what you truly do like and don’t like. You will notice, for example, how your body is responding to the foods you feed it, the environment you live and work in and so on.
You can start to set intentions about aspects of your life you want to change, envisioning what life would be like if you made those changes, then let it go and be grateful for all you have in the here and now. Be unattached about the way changes transpire, you will soon start to notice things you hadn’t before, an article or a store, or a conversation that inspires you.
Therein lies the key, following what feels right rather than doing what you think is right. It sounds subtly different, but it’s a fundamentally different approach to life. Rather than rationalizing everything out in your head, following all the well meaning inner programming you acquired in the process of growing up, it’s about tuning into the real you, following your own guidance, which means following only those things that feel right for you.
Inspiration and happenstance will start to show up in your life with increasing frequency. Now that doesn’t mean you will live a life without challenge, it means you will be looking at those challenges from a new perspective, one that will serve the highest good in your life. Life is like a river; go with the flow, your inner knowing. Let how you feel light the way to your best life, with ease.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn
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