What Life Looks Like When Lived Mindfully
In the previous blog in this series I talked about the two elements to living mindfully; remembering your self-loving alternative, and then following the path of least resistance, with awareness. So what does life look like when you are living with enhanced awareness and being mindful? Two key things change, what you now desire (want) and what you value. These two inform how you spend your time, skills and money. They inform how you think, emote and behave.
Being mindful is keeping foremost in your awareness what the most self-loving option is in any circumstance. Your motive to make that choice comes from the new understanding you have of your intrinsic worth. This shift in perspective initially begins with you, but it also begins to extend to others. There is a belief that says we see the world as we are, not as it is. This means that the more fearful you are, the more you see and relate to your world through a filter of fear. This also means that the more you immerse yourself in a consciousness of love and compassion the more you relate to the world around you in this way.
So not only do you maintain the enquiry of what is the more self-loving alternative for yourself, but you begin to ask what the more loving alternative would be for you in terms of how you relate to those around you. Now you become more compassionate to the people you encounter throughout each day. Ultimately this means you are more present with the people you encounter. When talking with someone, you are listening with the desire to understand, no longer needing to judge.
You have an advantage that they don’t have. You know that there are only two motives for the way they engage you, either they are being driven by their story or by compassion. It’s not hard to tell the difference. When it’s the latter, encounters are honest, respectful and many times joyful. In this scenario you turn up with peace as your priority. When we come from our story, avoiding our fear and self-loathing are our motives. This is also true for you. Anytime you loose your inner-peace, you are running your story, your fear is playing out. The difference is that you can be aware of this and immediately choose to be more mindful of the self-loving alternative.
Living life with a greater sense of compassion for yourself and for others naturally results in less stress and anxiety. You will enjoy more harmony and peace. In your intimate relationships there will be more joy and intimacy. You find yourself surrounded by quality friends and acquaintances and family dynamics change. Loneliness is replaced with community, a sense of belonging, devoid of neediness or compromise.
Another key shift in your experience when living mindfully is the enhanced sense of purpose. I discussed this at length in my last blog, and invite you to go back and read about the nature and gift of purpose there. Sufficient to say that in order to avoid what you feared most, you developed survival strategies. In other words you became skilled at certain things to minimise the impact of your story and what you feared. These abilities aren’t to be wasted. These are the gifts you gave yourself to be used to have your role or your work more purposeful.
Having a clear sense of purpose means that when you are living mindfully, you get out of bed each day with gratitude for your gifts, knowing that you will get to use them today to bless someone’s life, to make a difference in the world. A Zen adage says ‘Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” Mindfulness is a forerunner to enlightenment. What this means is that when living mindfully much of what you will do will be the same. It is the shift in consciousness that brings a new compassionate framework for what you do, not necessarily a change in what you do.
It’s a mistake to think that changing jobs, partners or homes will make life better. As I said earlier, we see the world as we are. Invariably, when a change hasn’t happen within, there is no change without. More to the point, change what’s within and what’s without changes. Sometimes that results in a change in circumstances, but often not. When you change, your world changes.
Living mindfully means your mind is oriented more to your purpose, your emotions to compassion, your body to wellbeing and your spirit to peace and stillness. This is what you live for, this is the self-loving alternative. Needless to say, when you chose to live mindfully, in the context of the rest of the world, you are now peculiar. It’s a badge of honour, wear it well!
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