To be honest I still suffer from anxiety and negativity. I battle with my own sense of worthiness and am very hard on myself. I tend to struggle with my experience of discontent and lack of appreciation from others. I am aware that I often attract into my life relationships that mirror what is in me and it shows me what I need to deal with in my self.
This is what I found myself constantly grappling with and you can hear it in these words I used: ‘suffering, battling, struggling …” How many of us speak like this about our lives? For the last while I have been asking: when is enough enough? When will I get the message? And the answer I get is always the same… when I choose to.
I have realised something very simple and yet profound, there are essentially two ways that we as human beings perceive what is happening around us, we either see what is there or we see what is not there. Now this may seem like a really silly kindergarten statement but this distinction is the difference between us being happy and thriving in our lives or why we suffer resentment and anxiety.
So many of us have become experts in our ability to see what is not there that we believe that what we are seeing is real. We see what people are not doing, what is missing in ourselves and others, what is lacking, what we don’t have, how we are not being met, the imperfections in our society, we see how others let us down and we see how we let ourselves down as well. We then attempt to organise, control, fix and manage our environment through this mode of perception and we believe that this makes sense, that this is how we create what we want.
But are we actually seeing? Is it really possible to see what is not there? I really had to pause and think about that question and I invite you to too. Can we truly SEE what is NOT there? Of course not! What is not there is not there so how can I be seeing it?
So then what am I perceiving when I open the fridge and feel disappointed that there is no more milk? What am I seeing when I check my bank balance and I feel deflated? What am I watching when my spouse Is not behaving the way I prefer and I feel betrayed?
I realise that my perception is not interacting with my reality rather my filter of expectations and comparisons; I am actually interacting with the narrative in my own mind. As human beings we are so convincing with our narrative that we can actually turn interpretations and distortions into hard facts and call it seeing reality when nothing could be further from the truth. We then create a world around us imbued with this narrative.
This is the reason why we then struggle to sustain satisfaction no matter what we accomplish, why we then experience depression, anxiety or anger. We are so engaged with managing the narrative of what is absent that we are completely blind to what is actual and present. This is why our relationships eventually fall apart and why so many beautiful opportunities are missed. We are so trained to recognise what we don’t have, that what we do have will eventually leave, be taken away or we will destroy it. Why? Because we are essentially life blind.
What is happening on this planet is exactly that. Humankind has been so preoccupied with chasing the mirages of absence through the channels of our dissatisfaction and greed that we have neglected our connection with all that is real, life-giving and nurturing: our air, our water, our climate, our living natural environment and each other. We have neglected it to the point where one day soon it will no longer be there.
It seems so obvious and it is something that we often claim we know, but regardless of how much wisdom we accumulate about manifesting, positive thinking and gratitude how many of us have actually mastered this as a conscious practice that has us be holistically present in this world? I realised that regardless of how enlightened or progressive I believed I am, I have to be brutally honest about my own narrative focus in life, my way of being and ability to truly see.
I realised that I still wake up each morning from anxious and restless dreams where I am grappling with all the lacking’s and missing’s in my life. Its a mental habit that I unconsciously cultivated over a lifetime such that it is practically a part of my personality. In the beginning it is what had me be successful and hard working in my career because it gave me blinkers to strive and push to fill my hot air balloon of gratification. Now it’s more like an affliction that drains the very life force from my body and steals the wonder from my eyes. I acknowledge that it will take practice to rewire these patterns of thinking and to transform my own life blindness.
Each morning once I wake up, I meditate for 20 mins and in that meditation I simply allow myself to be with the discomfort I sometimes feel in my body. It allows me to disengage from my regular momentum of morning thoughts to simply be with the experience in my body. I then take my prayer beads and walk outside and as I run each bead through my fingers, I thank and appreciate something actual that I can see or feel in the world around me. I say thank you to the sun the way it shines on the mountains, thank you to this green bark tree and the way the leaves shimmer in the morning light, thank you to the cool air blowing the hair on my legs, thank you to my feet how I balance so amazingly as I walk, thank you to the person walking their dog and how our eyes meet… and so it goes for each and every bead. And as my gratitude practice expands my eyes open to the beauty of the day, my anxiety dissolves like a mist over the ocean and the light of the day shines into my eyes and heart.
I start to see such wonder and miracles all around me, what a magnificent place I live in, what opportunities abounds all around me, what love is presenting itself to me like little flower buds, what a gift it is to be alive and healthy. I am here today! I am alive and this day is full of possibility as well as the challenges for my expansion and creation. I reflect on my life mission and how this day is my canvas to express it.
What I see is perfection in the world and that any loss or change I am experiencing is all part of that perfection. There is an ancient Sanskrit mantra that says “Om, that is perfect, this is perfect, when perfection is taken from the perfect, perfection alone remains.” There is never absence, nothing is ever missing, nothing is ever lacking except for our thoughts afflicting us with the perceptions of absence.
Over the years I have done countless processes, modalities, read countless books on self realisation and enlightenment but I truly believe that the greatest daily spiritual practice of all is the sustained practice of gratitude, this is the most powerful healer for true sight.
If there is only one practice for enlightenment that I ever get to fully master it will be gratitude for all that is right here, right now.
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
Heinrich is a life and spiritual coach, shamanic facilitator and theatre-makerhttps://www.tigerhymn.com/