Your navigation goes to where your thoughts go. Watch those thoughts.

When I learned to drive, I remember being told to keep my eyes focused on the center of the road straight ahead, and that will keep my steering centered; that if my eyes wandered off to the side, my car would start veering that way.

When my thoughts go in a certain direction, same thing. When they are wobbly, I’m wobbly. When they are clear, I’m clear. When they are tired, I’m tired.

But I am not my thoughts. When I start to think that I am, I can’t think beyond them, and I obey them despite knowing better.

When I realize I am more than my thoughts, that’s when I can break free from its tyranny and its limitations. The part of me that can observe my own thoughts can override them and make different choices so that my thoughts begin to obey me instead. If my navigation goes to where my thoughts go, then I need to understand that I can have command over my thoughts to set the navigation straight. On Google Maps, we put the address in. We input the “thought” to go where we want to go. We decide on the direction and then the navigation takes us there. An address doesn’t just pop up for us to follow.

This morning I woke up feeling like an hour more of sleep would be really great. Boy that would feel good. Obeying it would be to hit the snooze button. I got up. I override my thought with another one because I know that that’s what I really want. That would give me the experience of having a step up in my day. It would keep me on track and sustain my energy level, and I could give myself permission to nap if I want to later in the day. The irony is, I tend to need a nap when I hit the snooze button in the morning.

It’s a spiritual problem

The negative spin we have on things: the bad weather; the need to do laundry, pay bills, deal with our health insurance, spend money on fixing a car when we could have spent it elsewhere or better yet saved it; that we had to eat alone because our friends or loved ones had other plans, that we had to get up to follow through on a plan that we think we want etc, essentially puts us at the center of the Universe where we expect our desires for comfort and convenience to be catered to, and because it doesn’t…. because we can’t be bothered… we complain about them.

How we relate and respond to things, the stories we tell about ourselves and the world, the opportunities we seize in order to grow and manifest, and the gratitude we see in everything is spiritual.

It takes two to tango, but someone has to lead the dance.

And someone has to follow.

Which one are you?

My historic response to complaints from my partner about the way I was communicating with him, or the mood I was in, was to say that it was born out of his behavior.

“I’m talking to you this way because you talked to me this way!” “I’m cutting you off because you cut me off!” “Speak to me with respect and I will respect you back!”

I felt totally appropriate and justified. I mean, it takes two to tango, and if he’s going to be an ass, then I get to act accordingly. But I didn’t realize that in doing so, I was completely giving up my power.

It takes a lot to overcome what I experience as physical withdrawal symptoms that accompany what feels like denying myself opportunity to  make myself whole again by communicating (albeit often in a passive aggressive manner) that he is wrong. I mean, fuck taking a few deep breaths, he needs to have what’s coming to him, right?

Because I’m sure that when I’m wrong (if I can even admit that), I get the message very clearly when he or anyone else responds back angrily, or in a passive aggressive manner, and I change my behavior immediately and exactly the way they want me to.           I’m kidding.

Even with the people we are closest to and love the most, we can only know a small fraction of the context from which they are coming, and if we choose to believe they are doing the best they can at any moment given their resources and emotional bandwidth; if we are able to assume good intent – even when it feels malicious to us; and if we are able to understand that the amount of pain they dish out has less to do with us and more to do with the level of their own pain, then we can then respond from a more patient and understanding place. We can increase our capacity for kindness. We absolutely don’t need to know the entire context of their lives to understand. Nor could that be possible. We simply need choose to understand that there is context there that we don’t have access to, and they might not either. But it’s there, in their sub~ or unconscious.

This doesn’t mean that we accept their behavior. We are not doormats, we have boundaries, and that means we let them know what is acceptable and what is not. Clearly and without emotional charge, because this is kindness (to both ourselves and to the other). We get to lead the tango.

When you change the dance, tantrums might ensue, but that’s okay, change is hard. The dance will change. Be patient and look for it.

We are not our thoughts

“There is a place inside me that is far more powerful than the continuous mental noise,” says Eckhart Tolle.

When I am able to go into my inner silence, an entire Universe seems to open up, and I am able to tap into the part of myself that is larger than what my limited mind can perceive.

Russell Brand asks, “Do you think that our capacity for knowledge, and Knowledge, is the same thing?”

We can literally experience the difference between them by observing the qualitative difference between the two states: when the mind chatters about versus when the mind surrenders into the silence of meditation.

The former leads us to limited thinking, filling our glass to the brim so nothing else could get in – the non-questioning I know it all because this is my experience of life thinking, and the latter leads us to a simultaneous state of I am all and nothing, where potentiality becomes limitless, the essence of Self emerges, time shifts and suffering becomes alleviated.

What is your narrative? Look to your suffering.

The Buddha says that every human suffers until they have awakened…

Much of the suffering in our lives exist, less so because of the circumstances, but because of the commentary we have about our lives. We have a certain narrative about it and then we say, “this is my life!”

I was just listening to Brene Brown yesterday sharing a story about how she was asking people in her research “do you believe that, in general, everyone is doing the best they can?” She asked her husband the same question, and after thinking about it for some time he said, “I really thought about it, and I have no idea. But what I do know is that my life is better when I assume that they are.”

Can you imagine that even the person that drives you most insane in your life might be doing the best that they can? Are you doing the best you can given your inner tools, resources, level of energy versus exhaustion, current knowledge and emotional capacity? Would everyone else in the world know that?