Life is not about conquering obstacles, but learning to not be the obstacle.
Life doesn't sit still waiting for us to work ourselves out. It pushes us and challenges us to be better and do better. Do we wait until life forces us, or do we take charge of our lives and steer it in the course we need it to take us?
Changing requires we know ourselves better.
We are in a time when masses of people seem to have no idea of what is really going on but seem to know what needs to be done.
Unfortunately, it seems these people are readily accepting what unknown people, or those willing to propagate conspiracy theories for their own gain, are espousing with no evidence. Handing over such power to those who will misuse it for their own ends is a dubious survival strategy. However, we all make a lot of decisions based upon what we are told without evidence, with advertising being the foremost example of this. Second is relying on what peers say, especially if they are just a social media handle.
There are plenty of people who want us to do their bidding, and who will go to great lengths to persuade us that it is good for us, while hiding how much it will negatively affect us. To counter all this propaganda, we must take ownership of verifying the truth of what we are presented with. Most things are not so urgent that we have to act without knowledge, so we can afford to take the time to do our research.
Such research can be an amount of sustained effort about a particular topic, but mostly it is about noticing what is really happening around us and to the people that we meet. It is what is known as mindfulness, and in addition to helping us be aware of what is happening in our lives, it can be quite calming, allowing us be be detached from the fake urgencies we often fill our time with. With it we get a chance to be the observer.
The tool we can use to understand the reality going on around us is contemplation. It is the spending some time away from daily pressures to think about issues and what their implications are, or about options we have and where they might lead. It doesn't have to be long, and it doesn't have to immediately result in answers, as we are basically asking our subconscious to get back to us with some answers or ideas, which can be immediately, a couple of minutes, or days or weeks for bigger issues that are more involved and have greater implications.
If we cannot stop our minds, we need to think about worthwhile things.
If we don't think about what we want to have happen, it will be unlikely to happen in any way that we want. When we make decisions, we force all around us to make adjustments, even if they don't know us. Such is the flow-on effect of an action. It propagates outward from us like waves of change. That means we are better off making decisions based to a large extent on reality, and not what we or someone else thinks that it is. A lot of our lives are based on collective beliefs, but sometimes we need to rethink some of them if we are to change our lives.
We can easily get caught up in emotional thinking, and a lot of entertainment, advertising and news relies upon getting us to do just that, so we need to be wary about how readily we take on what those sources pretending to be knowledge are pushing at us. We do not have to accept things at face value, but can take time to see if there are real patterns that underlie the hotchpotch of information that bombards us. Just this stepping back and analysing what is presented to us is a key step in disentangling ourselves from being pushed into what is not going to be good for us or those around us.
Contemplation can help us to pick apart illusion from reality because the mental space free of clutter can allow us to see what is enduring and consistent and more likely to be reality than the waves of emotional clouding we often mistake for thinking. Perceiving the truth is the precursor to making good decisions, so the time taken in being sure of the facts is worth it in the long term.
If we do not want to create chaos and destruction around us, we need to treat others with respect and consideration.
When we act without aforethought, we don't know what the results of our actions will be. If we want a future that suits us, we need to take actions that put that future in our path. Making decisions based upon the emotions we feel in the moment is more likely to open us up to manipulation by others, usually leading to us being exploited in some way. Of course, some around us want the best for us, but while they may see what might be good for us, we are still responsible for the outcomes of every decision we make, so we need to be sure we really concur with what we take on of others' opinions.
While we cannot always be sure about how others will respond to our actions, if we do not deliberately do things that will hurt or disadvantage other people, we are more likely to create less harmful results for ourselves, as they will be less likely to seek retribution from us. We can take this further by doing things that we know will benefit others and we can find joy in sharing in their joy. Of course, just doing so-called good deeds for their results is a form of selfishness, and those aware of that will tend to despise us for the feigned gestures.
Doing things that help free people of their own shackles of mind or circumstances can feel very rewarding, but they are the only ones responsible for how they will react, so we cannot always expect others to be thrilled with our attempts to liberate them. It can take a long time between awareness and liberation, as we should know, so we cannot expect others to be any faster at their transition. Often we are not aware of how much we have changed before we started noticing, though we can notice changes in others. Another reason to be patient with ourselves and others.
We cannot change unless we act like the change that we want.
It may feel a bit like fraud, but we cannot know what it feels like to be a better person unless we do it. However, it should not be forced, but feel like an extension of what we feel, just pushed in the direction we would prefer to go. We have spent a lot of time being focussed on ourselves and our desires, so we will not be capable of making rapid changes, though traumatic circumstances may shake us out of our selfish complacency. We just need to work at the pace we feel comfortable with and let what feels natural, as revealed when we are not under pressure, guide us as to what to do next.
Mindfulness and contemplation will prepare us to be in the present and enable us to remain there more often, so we will then make better choices for ourselves and those around us. The more that we allow ourselves to be that part of us that is more attuned to what is best for us in the broadest sense will also be what is best for everyone else. When we stop projecting ourselves as we or others think we should, we will be acting out of our higher nature and will transform our lives and those of others around us. We will be the true freedom we seek and the world will be better off because of it.