How are you choosing to interpret your current experience? What is the story you’re telling yourself?
Simply put, our emotional state and our perceived reality is always a choice.
No doubt…there is a lot to be afraid of right now – from the very real threat of physical illness and even death to massive financial insecurity.
One of the key attributes to empowerment is to develop discernment (viveka in Sanskrit) – our ability to see things clearly; to cut away what weakens us or weighs us down.
I think of discernment as a sword – cutting away what no longer serves. We learn to become a samurai in our mind’s eye – to resist the urge to interpret situations based on our past, prejudices or mental habits (samskaras).
In the map of the Chakra system and Yoga Therapy, discernment is to strengthen our 3rd eye center (Ajna Chakra). When Ajna Chakra is strong and balanced (sattvic), we cultivate wisdom and act from an eagle’s eye perspective – able to perceive all sides of a situation.
We don’t get so caught up in our own personal melodrama, judgments or emotional reactions. We see things clearly for what they are. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Viktor Frankl famously refers to this as the “last of our human freedoms” and wrote about this during his time in Nazi concentration camps:
“The last of the human freedoms (is) to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of …your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you become the plaything to circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become moulded into the form of the typical inmate.
…It becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of (outer) influences alone.
Fundamentally…any man can decide what shall become of him—mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity. It is this spiritual freedom—which cannot be taken away—that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”
One of the greatest challenges we face is that no matter what we experience in our lives, our tendency is to filter the present experience through the past, through your memories. Every time you have a new experience your mind tries to go in and filter that experience based on a past experience.
The trick is to stay fresh. Awake to clear perception of the present moment – unencumbered by memory or filtered through the lens of past imprints (vasanas).
Not only do we experience the present moment, but our emotional body is also working to process past trauma, or what is called “compounded emotion” as we process subconscious or unconscious material with present experience.
Is there a way you are coloring your perception based on the past? It takes a lot of discipline to look at any situation from all angles and not project our own biases and interpretations but instead stay open to the present moment and what Deepak Chopra calls the “Field of Infinite Possibilities”.
Our words create our reality. What words are you choosing to describe the current circumstance that you find yourself in?
The first way that our consciousness takes form is as we shape it into material reality through our words and stories. Once we share our thoughts with another – through our writing or speech – it begins to take shape. We are influencing another person’s perspective of our reality, along with their thoughts and biases.
Be extremely mindful of your speech. Buddhists call this “Right Speech” – one of the noble precepts in Buddhism.
Resist the urge to get caught up in the melodrama and sensationalism of the nightly news. Choose balanced perspectives and sources of information like Johns Hopkins Medical Center (sign up for their daily data email updates) or the World Health Organization.
Set limits on your consumption of news – maybe 10-20 min. a day and stay inspired with helpful tips and insightful content that strengthens you.
The Chinese symbol for “Crisis” or wēijī is composed of two characters:
Anytime we face a “crisis”, there may be danger but there is also an inherent opportunity. A crisis is always a rite of passage and an initiation into our next level of development and awareness.
Watch the quick video above to learn this 3-step process to help reframe your experiences and see things from a clear, balanced perspective.
I’d love to hear from you. How are you specifically using this current challenge to awaken and for your benefit? Please leave a comment below!
Sending you all sooo much love and support!