A primary tool for finding clarity and accessing your authentic self
The uncharted path - the path you don’t know anything about except that it honors your true self and the truth of how you feel? That path is where all the possibilities lie. You’ve tried all the other roads and fulfillment wasn’t there was it?
Possibilities for days with more ease, connection, joy, love, health and wealth of all kinds are waiting for you on this last unexplored path.
But when you journey down it, it’s gonna look different.
And naturally, because you are in fact doing something different - doing something that feels like you’re going "off-script" - taking steps to create a life authentic to you. And you are completely unique.
Your inner voice may tell you, you are "weak" or a "failure" for not being able to stay in this situation that’s making you miserable. It may say that you should be different than you are and are flawed for not being able to stay "on-script." That you won’t be “good enough” if you stop what you’re doing now and follow your heart. Or it may say any number of other painful things.
Be aware of those mental commentaries.
And be aware that often they actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
To take a path with no maps or instruction from the outside, to throw out the script and chart your way with only your inner guidance, requires incredible strength. And you are not broken or flawed. You are perfect and enough just as you are. Be aware of what’s actually true.
On this path, you will run into a lot of fear, a lot painful stuff coming up - about what went down in the past and about how to navigate the now unknown future. This is inner territory few willingly choose. But with awareness of what’s going on inside, we can find our way. And walking through this is how you get to something real, where something true to you can emerge.
You are strong. You can rise to this challenge. And there is no greater reward than getting to meet and embody who you are.
Step Into Awareness
As many of the great mindfulness and spiritual teachers instruct, you are separate from your thoughts. To make this more clear, ask yourself, “When I have a thought, who is having the thought?” When you reflect on this, you have a real felt sense that you are that which is having the thought. So, you can see that you are not your thoughts. You are separate.
The thing is though, we often spend most of the time identified with our thoughts, we’re not consciously aware of a separation between our thoughts and ourselves. Sometimes we’re not even aware we’re having a thought and just feel stressed. Without question we believe our thoughts to be true and jump into the drama playing out in our mind.
It’s as if our thoughts create a very captivating movie of the world and we don’t realize that what we’re engaging with all day is a movie generated by our minds, not reality. All day we can be projecting an often false and distorted narrative onto reality.
But you have the opportunity to wake up from this, to see that this is what’s going on. And when you can do this you will open the door to clarity. And from clarity you can access your truth. Awareness is the first step.
Identify The Thoughts That Are Causing You Stress
When you are experiencing stress or feel upset - pause for a moment and step into awareness. Step into the part of yourself that is aware you are having a thought.
Then, identify the thought. Nothing is happing in this moment to except your mind has generated a thought. Yes, things may be happening around you, but it’s what are you thinking about them that is creating your experience. Ask yourself, what is the thought I am having right now in this moment that is making me feel this way?
There many be many thoughts. Identify them all.
We want to wake up to our mind, wake up to all we are thinking, wake up out of the identification with the flow (often more like a torrent) of thoughts and come into awareness.
Become Aware Of…
See how all of these things are coming into play for you when you think about your current career/work situation:
Your motivations - What is really driving you in life? What is motivating your choices? What is the need you have that drives you? Identify it. And for many there is fear pushing them forward. What are you afraid of, dear one?
Your conditioning - Many of our thoughts are generated because of our past experiences, where we developed a limiting belief we’re carrying into the present. Ask yourself, how is what you are thinking now related to the past? And in how many situations do you feel this way? Notice if there is a pattern.
The collective conditioning - We are immersed in many societal belief systems which drive our life choices, but do not serve our health and enjoyment of life. Sometimes they are hard to see because we’re all swimming in them, things like “success” will make you happy, or my worth is determined by my professional accomplishments. Many are majorly unexamined concepts and ideas that fall apart upon examination. Notice which ones you may have internalized without question.
Your resistance - See all the ways you try to avoid looking directly at what’s really going on inside of you. Resistance can look like a need for constant distraction, or staying busy with to-do lists, or making life and career choices based too much on rationality instead of being honest with yourself about how you really feel. Martha Beck calls the avoidance “fire fleeing,” and it’s not fun. Living a life constantly running from yourself is exhausting, and can make life chaos and painful. See how the life you want is only available when you put up a white flag and really take a look at what’s going on.
You Are Awareness
As many teachers such as Tara Brach, Mooji, Adyashanti, Deepak Chopra and more will say, ultimately, not only are you not your thoughts or any of the above going on inside of you, you are that which is aware of all this; you are pure awareness itself.
By coming into awareness you have the space and can see more clearly what is happening inside of you to create your experience of life. It’s only from the vantage point of awareness - sometimes also called consciousness - that clarity and change is possible.
Once we are in awareness we can move to Step 2 where we dig deeper and then with love toward ourselves ask, “Is what I am thinking actually true?” (Spoiler: more often than not, the answer is No.) Byron Katie has a great process of inquiry called The Work if you’d like to try this on your own.
The thing is that becoming aware of our thinking and the process of loving examination is much easier with the help of another person. There is a lot going on in our hearts and minds. That’s where a coach can be very helpful.