Letting go: The path to freedom

“The mind is easily distracted; it loses its focus and becomes rest,rss. If it is not directed positively, it’s power will be diffused.“

Chin-Ning Chu

Most of us identify with our thinking mind. The stream of thinking has enormous power that can easily drag you along with it. Our thoughts always buzz around like a swarm of bees, some of them come uninvited and occupy our attention. Our mind continues to wander into unwanted thoughts whether meaningful or not. The present is existential; yet the mind refuses to perceive that same and we keep getting into ruminating thoughts on past knowledge and future problems that make us unhappy, anxious and worried. Even though thinking, analysing and comparing is a natural activity of the mind, to think constantly, going from one thought to another makes us restless and trying to control our thoughts is like control the wind, the more we try, the more restless we become.

Our mind holds onto so many thoughts and we seldom recognise restlessness nature as and when it arises. When we don’t recognise for what it is, it tends to overpower your normal functioning, controls your mind and engages you into unhelpful and unhealthy ways of behaviour. Each arising thought deviates from the previous thought and the moment you react to such thoughts objectively, false views and emotions manifest trapping in a repetitive cycle of delusions and ignorance.

Restlessness is the condition of thinking mind

The constant motion of our thoughts is the foundation of mind. This is the reason we experience thoughts that come and go incessantly all the time. Even though mind cannot perceive the boundaries as a whole like our senses do, it can distinguish one thought from another. When there are numerous thoughts rising one after the other, it becomes difficult to focus on any individual thought. Holding on to too many thoughts causes quite a overwhelm that results in attention fatigue. And we perceive the mind as being restless. Since movement from one thought to another is the basis for mind to exist, achieving stillness or controlling your thoughts becomes difficult. The more you try to control your thoughts, the more you get dragged into repetitive cycle of thinking.

Moving beyond the thinking mind

Constant thinking means getting imprisoned within the confines of our own thoughts, being taken over by the whims of the mind. Since events, situations or words you hear have an affect on the mind and produce thoughts in accordance with them, you never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalised sense of self. Then this “little-me” tends to run your life. As a result, we experience lack of control, lack of freedom and attention. In other words, we cannot experience love, lasting peace and joy except moving beyond thinking mind.

Unconditional dimension of thinking mind

Every thought pretends that it matters much and wants to draw your attention in completely. In our desire to know, understand and control, we tend to interpret every view point for truth and get trapped compulsive thinking. This automatic process of conditional thinking prevents you from focusing on here and now or to experience new things. In a way, you lack freedom when you identify yourself with your thinking mind and let your mind rule your life. But, just as restlessness is the natural conditioning of our mind, there is also a dimension of unconditioned consciousness that is far more natural and deeper than our thoughts which is the true essence of who we are. Finding this dimension frees us from confinement of our incessant thinking.

The path to freedom

Our mind usually worries about thoughts it’s convinced are true but, most of that isn’t. It is important to remember that you need not believe everything you think. Our mind in its desire to know, understand and control, mistakes opinions and view points for truth. When you can recognise, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as simply thoughts, you can let go of it’s control. Freedom arises when you no longer identify with your mind and consciously step out of the compulsive thinking nature of mind.

Letting go of inessential and becoming okay with not knowing dissolves the barriers created by the thoughts. This doesn’t mean not to think anymore, to resist or stop your thoughts, but is to simply not to be completely identified with every thought that arises. If you can recognise the thoughts as simply thoughts, and become aware of your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, you will be able to step out of the incessant flow of your thoughts. Once you are aware and let go of your thoughts, you move from your own limited concept of your perceived self into the unconditional inner peace of your mind.

To-do:

  • Focus your attention on what you are doing, instead of following or getting dragged by every thought that captures your attention. Returning your focus to the present will help you accept and let go of what you can’t control. Knowing what you can and can’t brings inner peace.
  • Aimlessness leads to drifting of thoughts. Without a purpose, you fall prey to worries, fears, troubles and all of which lead to restlessness. Finding your inner purpose helps you create right conditions to overcome doubt, fear or worry.
  • Writing three to five things that you are grateful helps you develop an appreciative view point. Cultivating gratefulness breaks the realms of limitations of your thinking mind and its confinement.
  • Acknowledge unknowingness and trust that each action you take will open a door to new experiences. When you find your mind wandering, pay attention to your breathing and accept what is. When you allow what is true, you create space in your mind for calmness.
  • Practice letting go of thoughts about what’s not here and now. When you stop striving for something more or a future benefit, you are better focused towards what you are doing now. This will put you out of the restlessness in to a stress free zone of no-worries and no-fears attitude.
  • It is in meditative awareness that we go beyond perceived self. Meditating on your breathing can help you feel calm, grounded in to your awareness. Being mindful of your breathing patterns help you stay balanced and enhances your ability to sense and respond to your thoughts.

When you are identified with thinking mind, you get restless very easily. Even though the restless activity of our mind is natural, it is within our reach to calm the restless and incessant thinking mind and to get in touch with our inner peace. Bringing your thoughts in to conscious awareness and accepting what is through mindfulness slows down the external perception of the mind, thereby bringing more balance into your life. When your thinking is rooted in conscious awareness, restlessness slows down and you become more attentive of what is in front of you.

Where there is peace and meditation, there is nether anxiety not doubt.

Saint Francis de Sales

Ego: An obstruction in self-realisation

“The ego seeks to divide and separate. Spirit seeks to unify and heal.”

Pema Chodron

Self-awareness is very important for self-realisation and is the key to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Knowingness of self can be our greatest resource in the path to enlightenment, but most of the times, ego becomes a major obstacle to self-realisation. In the process of being self-aware, we get so completely identified with the voice in our head or the thoughts and emotions that accompany with it and consider them as part our true self. As a result, we tend to get identified with a created self that identifies with the concepts that strengthen our own importance such as ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘mine.’

This created self thus identified defines itself as self and seeks your attention through compulsive thought patterns and an incessant inner voice. When unaware, you tend to identify with yourself to every thought and emotion that arises. Thus the ego comes in the way of your true self asserting its importance by saying, ‘I am important, I am special ‘ giving rise to further thought forms like, ‘I want, I must or I should’ creating the need for the other or some forms like things, material objects, appearances, opinions.

Ego leads to forgetfulness of being

Associating to your ego part of self always leads to the concept of ‘other’ that results in constant comparison or resentments like concepts of ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I am better than others’ and so on so forth. When sense of ‘I’ thus gets mixed up with things, you tend to equate ‘having’ with being. “I have therefore I am” or “I don’t have, so I am not good enough.” or “he more I have , the more I am.” So, you bound to measure your worth with the worth you have in the eyes of other. This identification with made up self further creates resistance to self-realisation.

The ego’s content – ‘I’ ‘me’ and ‘myself’

According to Sigmund Freud’s theory, ego splits our psyche into three distinct levels of consciousness, the id, ego and super ego. The subconscious id according to him is the most deep rooted aspect of our mind and often seeks pleasure and pain principle. And ego is an unconscious aspect of mind that acts to defend the subconscious id’s quest for pleasure. The super ego is driven by social conditioning and often strives for perfection. Even though ego plays an important role in how we function, it is limited as it is a perceived self and is not real.

When you identify with your ego part of your mind that is saying,“all these are mine“, or “I am so and so” or “my knowledge” or “I know it all”, you become ignorant of your true self and believe your egoistic self that is limited in its nature. This is because ego translates directly to ‘I’ and consists of repetitive and persistent thought patterns you identify with as “me” or “my story” that is conditioned by the past memories, upbringing, culture, family or background, you identify with most strongly. Your ego also is collective identification such as religion, nationality and also personal identification such as opinions, appearances, and possessions.

Ego is the real obstruction to self-realisation

Whatever your egoistic self manifests into, the hidden motivating force is always the same. The need to standout, be special or the need for attention, and thus is dependent on a sense of insufficiency and lack that needs to be fulfilled. Even when it succeeds in getting what it wants, it is short-lived and the gap between ‘I want’ and ‘what is’ becomes a constant struggle.

You can only become aware of what you truly are by separating all things that fall under ‘my’ from ‘I’ which is the real you. Separating ‘I’ from ‘my’ is what leads to realising your true self and not to identify with your egoistic self and all its limitations. If you are not aware of what comes under’I’ and what comes under ‘my’, then you can go onto the point of exhaustion and not realise your true self.

To-do:

  • Give up defining yourself to self and others. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves and not you. Remind yourself in functioning of your day-to-day life that you are not your thoughts and beliefs, but instead part of a greater whole. Being aware that you are much more than the perception of others makes you relate to who you truly are.
  • Negativity is the source of limited self-perception of ego and is the reason for self-sabotage. Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and adds even more energy to the ego. Challenge yourself to stop complaining whenever you catch yourself getting negative. Not complaining doesn’t mean not to inform someone of a mistake or putting up with bad behaviour. Stop assigning mental labels to people or name-calling.
  • Be aware of your negative self-talk or emotions and even though certain conditioned thought patterns reoccur, every time you become aware, they are weakened. Self-awareness reduces your reactivity to external factors that strengthen egoistic state of mind.
  • Avoid letting your opinions, view points, judgments become infused with a sense of ‘I’. Let go of your “I know it all “ attitude that strengthens the egoistic interpretation of others. Separate facts from opinions and see the totality of the situation or person instead of adopting to limited view points.
  • Don’t let others’ perception of you start guiding you. There is a great difference between what others think of you and what you think others think of you. Let go of the opinions of others and become self-aware to connect to your purpose.

Ego part of your self always has the incessant need to see itself in a positive light because of which it always defends itself to appear real. Only by being truly aware of the separation between ‘I’ and ‘my’ that you can transcend it and come to realise your perfect true self which wants or needs nothing.


Dissolve your ego before it dissolves yourself

Maxine Lagace

Power of our subconscious mind

Most people are living in an illusion based on someone else’s beliefs.

Jen Sincero

Our personal power lies in the way we perceive ourselves. We are all born into this world with no preconceived thoughts, beliefs, or worries accompanying us. But as we grow, our minds get accustomed to beliefs and ideas from external world, where we adopt others’ beliefs like those of parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, friends and people around us. Our beliefs and thoughts get further influenced by environment we grow up in, place, culture, religion, and world in general. As a result, we grow up believing thoughts and ideas that have been passed onto us as something real. And we continue to live with such beliefs no matter how limiting they are in nature.

Thoughts limiting by nature lead to fault identification with self and make you feel not deserving or good enough, or capable enough to go after the life you want. As a result, we end up living life in a limited way thereby forgetting our power to change them. This is because our self-perception gets based on someone else’s belief or opinion that we have accepted as truth.

Nature of our mind.

As humans, our mind is conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is the place where we process all our information, criticise, analyse, decide or worry. In a way, it works throughout the day along with you and rests when you do. Then there is subconscious mind that is always on and is a non-analytical part that acts as a storehouse of information. It stores our feelings, thoughts, beliefs and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. Over the time, all the beliefs, ideas and opinions that are accepted by our conscious mind are channelled into our deeper subconscious. And it is these beliefs sitting deep within our subconscious mind that influence our life to a larger extent either positively or negatively.

Power of our subconscious mind

Our subconscious mind otherwise holds no judgment and accepts and believes everything we say. It doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad or between what’s true and what’s not. It only manifests what you feed it and turns our words, ideas into convictions and translates them into mental affirmations and habitual actions. So, when you let thoughts connected with worries, fears, anger or unhappiness occupy your mind most of the time, or keep occupying your mind with inner conversation about negative situations and actions, they subsequently affect the subconscious mind, which accepts them as real. In other words, it regards the thoughts and beliefs that get lodged inside it as real situations and strives to make these words and thoughts as a reality.

Subconscious mind is like a computer where if you put negative thoughts in, then negative experiences come out. Similarly, positive thoughts result in positive experiences. Words and thoughts that are repeated often get stronger, sink into the subconscious. And those ideas and beliefs that are dominant in our subconscious mind will ultimately take control of our behaviour, actions and reactions.

So, in order to break yourself free of your old conditioned limited patterns of thinking, you must first reprogram your subconscious with positive words and affirmations to create a positive change. When you constantly feed it with positivity, they manifest themselves into your reality.

Reprogramming your subconscious mind

Repeating positive affirmations shape our subconscious mind which in turn motivates and inspires us to change our behaviour and attitude in accordance with the words we are saying. By changing your way of speaking and changing your way of expressing your thoughts, you can reprogram your subconscious mind to new patterns of thought or belief. Our spoken words are important as they are the foundation of what we constantly create in our lives.

Similarly, the thoughts that we express through our words shape our life because our choice of words return to us as experiences. And this includes the way we talk to ourselves inwardly and to others around us. Since the words and phrases we say are extensions of our thoughts, they can be used to retrain our thinking in positive patterns and have power to change our subconscious beliefs. When you become conscious of what you are feeding your subconscious, you can begin to change your thinking to positive patterns.

An affirmation opens the way to change what you are saying to your subconscious mind. For instance, affirming that “I am willing to change”, you are saying to yourself that you are aware that there is something you can do to change and you are taking responsibility to let go of your limited patterns and open yourself to new. Instead of letting yourself fall back into old conditioned ways of thinking, you can make a conscious choice to enter into a positive and healthy mental space through power of affirmations to change the story you feed to your subconscious. When you repeat positive words and thoughts, and choose to question your limiting beliefs or thoughts, you are clearly declaring your desires in a positive way to create something new in your life.

To-Do:

  • Pay attention to what you say to yourself on a regular basis. Instead of lamenting about what you don’t want, say more of what you want to create more of it. Let go using limiting and negative words. Use more of present tense, such as “I am” or “I have” and avoid using “should” and “have to” in your affirmation.
  • Declare your own personal truths in the form of positive statements. Choose to move away from the limiting beliefs and let go of your negative thought patterns Negative sentences direct our subconscious mind towards our weaknesses whereas positive words awaken in the mind a mental image of strength.
  • Start building positive affirmations based on thoughts like “I am worthwhile”, “I am deserving”, “I allow myself to change and to grow”, “I love and approve of myself” to start with. Choose to move away from the limiting beliefs you have been holding onto and let them go.
  • Choose conscious words, sentences and words in your conversation with yourself to create new situations and circumstances in your subconscious. Affirm positive sentences with strong belief and attention to let them materialise the intention of the words and phrases in the outside.
  • Refrain from making derogatory remarks about yourself and others because they will not create good experiences for you. Don’t belittle others either. The subconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between you and others. It hears words, and it believes you are talking about yourself. Because you only see in others what you see in yourself.

Being aware of the power of the power of your subconscious mind lets you transform yourself into whatever you wish to be. Be aware of your words and use them to make positive connection with your subconscious, because even on the smallest level, if you change the way you talk, you are in a way making your subconscious change your experiences and thereby change your life for better. Harness the power of your subconscious to realise your true worth, to understand yourself better and to become more enthusiastic on the path to achieve your happiness.

Contentment: Path to fulfilment

We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.

Immanuel Kant

Our mind’s tendency to always be in a state of desire leads us to a state of discontent where we are always seeking that which we do not have. We feel dissatisfied and unhappy as long as our desires are not fulfilled. Many of us live life as if it is like a race where we want the best of everything and want to be the best at everything. The moment we achieve one thing, the race for the next thing starts. We are always stretching ourselves to cover the remaining distance instead of looking back and appreciating the distance we have covered. We think what others have is better than what we have and feel others are more happier than we are. We forget that the others also are thinking the same about us. Even after looking at all the achievements, you still feel you are missing something.

Desire and contentment cannot coexist

Desire is the strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Whereas contentment is satisfaction that follows fulfilling a desire. Even though our behaviour is driven by contentment that follows, desire keeps us focused on the constant stress of attaining something always and in the process we truly do not enjoy that which we already have.

Sometimes it results in we letting go long-term contentment for the short-term rush of desire. This leads us into attachment to material possessions or things and distracts us from the true purpose of our life. We all go through life seeking for contentment and in the process, we work, overwork, make changes in the way we dress,eat or keep changing our lifestyle, but at the end of the day we become victims of need to achieve more kind of thinking in terms of wealth, success or fame.

Contentment is the only way to fulfilment

Contentment is respecting the reality of the present, appreciating what you have and where you are in life. Contentment does not mean total absence of desires or complacency, it just means that you are satisfied with your present and is trusting the turns your life takes will be for the best. The truth is self-fulfilment doesn’t come from material things and is found when you reflect and find contentment. While satisfying certain desires or needs may be achieved with material things, attainment of fulfilment is only possible by cultivating lasting peace and contentment. And this is possible only by realising your nature, needs and your true self.

Rumination, comparison and future-thinking increase our discontentment

Ruminating on past, worrying about the future and unnecessary comparisons are the major obstacles of contentment. We are more prone to dwelling on our past and thinking about all the choices we could have made instead of the ones we made. The past can hold you back from making relevant choices in your present and thus affect your future outcomes. It is okay to reflect on your past mistakes and choices, but if you are spending more time thinking about past, it leaves you discontented. Even though memories help us shape our identity, excessive, repetitive dwelling on your past leaves you feeling negative about your present situation.

Similarly, worrying about future leads to unnecessary anxiety, stress and discontentment. It is important to remember that choices you made have brought you to where you are now and you can’t always know the things that will impact your life in the future. It is important to base your actions based on the knowledge of how the past has created the present and performing them based on values and authenticity helps you be contented.

Comparison is a natural tendency as we are social beings and can be helpful to certain extent as it can inspire you to change for better, but constant focusing on what others are achieving or have, leave you discontent and unhappy. Comparison based on the desire to improve on things you can’t change keeps you stuck and comparing yourself to others whom you think are worse off to boost feel better leads to regret and feelings of unhappiness. It is important to base your actions based on the knowledge of how the past has created the present and performing them based on values and authenticity instead of comparing to others helps you be contented.

To Do:

  • Learn to accept what comes as it comes. This might mean working with situations as they turn out rather than wishing things has happened in a different way. Accepting also means accepting others as they are, avoiding wishful thinking and seeing things or people or situations in a more realistic way.
  • Let go of negative self-talk and connect to here and now. Don’t set expectations for ‘what should’ happen, instead shift your focus to ‘what is’ and start being grateful for what you have. Be willing to be fully present without hanging on to the past or rigidly aiming for a particular future.
  • Get comfortable with unknown in your life. It might feel safe to stick with what you know but it is worth fighting that urge. Remain open to new thoughts, ideas, things, people and new situations or possibilities. Extend feelings of compassion to others and empathise with people who are different than you to unconditionally accept them.
  • Distinguish between your needs and wants. Be honest with your needs. When you are able to do so, you relieve yourself from the stress of wanting more. Instead of wanting your possessions grow, take steps towards fulfilment by engaging in the never-ending process of self-improvement.
  • Appreciate aspects of your day-to-day life that often go ignored in the busyness of living. Think of even daily things like weather, your work , meal and so on. Worry less about what other people think of you or might say. Follow insight gained from your own personal experience and inner guidance.
  • Practice gratitude for all the things you have and your achievements. Being at peace with what you have achieved at your current point in life motivates you to achieve more meaningful goals and outcomes in the future. Be grateful for everything you have instead of spending time thinking about what you can’t.

To be happy with what you have, who you are and where you are is indeed difficult than said done. It is the process of cultivating inner peace by identifying with your true authentic self and its needs even while experiencing life’s difficulties or challenges. It is accepting the reality of the present and letting go of cravings of what you can’t. When you are accepting the situation as it is, you are allowing yourself to be happy and can get fully involved in the process of moving forward without being obsessed about the past or future. Only by being content that we arrive at a place of inner freedom and happiness that doesn’t depend on external circumstances.


Find yourself in aloneness

Loneliness is the poverty of self ; Solitude is the richness of self.

May Sarton

Being alone is a frightening idea to many of us, one that we will do anything to avoid. Most of us are not open to the idea of being alone as we view it as a negative experience or perceive being alone as lonely. But in reality, spending some time in silence destroys all that is false. You discover your true self only in aloneness. Neither the work places, nor family or friends define who you truly are. As part of the society, friends or even as part of a family, we live with a false sense of identity, one that is imposed upon us gradually since childhood. Our true sense of self is often hidden beneath a false sense of belongingness.

We are moulded into a particular mental structure by our environment, social structure, education and subsequently by the religion we are told to follow. We are so accustomed to living with this false identity and comfortable living in a crowd that the moment we are alone, it becomes difficult and the mind always engages in seeking more of this or that to add to itself to make itself feel more complete. Very few seek moments of silence as we live in age of noise, and people are desperate to have their voices listened to or heard. We think, it is how we get the attention of others and we fear that if we were to become silent we shall simply left behind. This is the reason the moment of aloneness turns out as a scary situation to be in.

Aloneness destroys our false identity

Aloneness is our intrinsic nature and is not given by society, family or education. However, most of us try to escape it as the false identity appears to be soothing. Our real self is our natural state and is always waiting to be rediscovered. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in his essay ‘Solitude’ , solitude is not isolation, rather it is much more about introspection and self-observation. Thoreau discovered the true power of solitude during two years he stayed alone and compiled his experiences in his book, ‘Walden’’. The book is a reflective account of his time spent living simply in natural surroundings. He strongly voiced the fact that focusing inward rather than chase the excess of and deep introspection is the true gift of a prosperous man.

Aloneness is door to enter into our innermost core of being and destroys that which is false. When you trust the voice within, you find your inner strength core of being, joy, bliss, peace and learn how to become a great companion to oneself. Instead people are more persuaded by their false identity and seek to sanction from others or conform to others rather than spending some time in aloneness. Even when we are alone, we create enough distractions so not to notice our true self. We refuse the responsibility of facing our true self and instead choose to preoccupy ourselves with distractions. Of course the very thought of aloneness can be difficult, but without encountering our authentic self, the most blissful phenomenon of life cannot be experienced. When we are in solitude, we realise our natural state and we are one with existence and fully aware of ourselves.

Attachment to egoistic self comes from not identifying your true self

You experience loneliness when you exchange your true self with your egoic self. When our internal reference point is our true self, we experience our true potential, and when our internal reference point is the ego or self-image, we feel cut off from our source, and the uncertainty of events creates doubt and fear. Our ego often gets influenced by objects outside the self, that is our circumstances, people and things. The ego then becomes our social mask, it is the role we are playing, and thrives on the approval of others. Whereas being grounded on the knowledge of true self, you never feel fearful or insecure and evolve into greater abundance and creativity. And aloneness is the way to practice to simply ‘be’ and ‘to connect to your true self’.

Don’t confuse being alone for loneliness

When we confuse being alone for loneliness, we process the experience as a negative thing instead of appreciating time by ourselves. The mere act of being alone with oneself doesn’t have to be bad, and it can even benefit your social relationships, improve your creativity and confidence, and help you regulate your emotions. Choosing to spend time doing things yourself can have mental, emotional and social benefits, but the key to reaping those positive rewards comes from choosing to spend time alone.

How loneliness is described as being alone and wanting company, aloneness is a natural desire for solitude. Solitude helps us discover new interests and ideas without having to worry about the opinion of others. Cultivating this sense of being alone can help you to develop who you are, your sense of self, and what your true interests are. Knowing oneself makes it easier to find other people who share your passions. Time with your thoughts is often restorative, builds your confidence and makes it easier for you to maintain boundaries.

To-Do:

  • The next time you experience loneliness, let that be your cue to get to know your true self. Develop an attitude of gentleness and kindness towards self. Be whatever you are feeling, be it joy, sadness or unhappiness. observe your breath, thoughts and what emotions are triggering your loneliness. When you spend lot of time with yourself, our mind plays expert in making bits of information into a story line. The unfamiliarity of being alone can feel awkward. By cultivating your ability to be okay with being alone, you may come up to appreciate and content with being yourself.
  • Being alone with your thoughts, and giving yourself the space and unstructured time to let your mind wander without social distractions initially can feel intimidating. Don’t make your alone time about other people or obsessively checking social media. In aloneness, you are your first choice. When you contemplate being alone, be honest with your sense of self. Plan out something that you know you will enjoy doing. If you are having hard time listening to the thoughts inside your head, journaling can be a great way of working through and evaluating those emotions.
  • Meditation facilitates silence and aloneness. Take time each day, even if it is for few minute, to meditate, be silent, to connect with your breath, to just be. As you do so, practice nonjudgment to be in harmony with nature and your surroundings. Practice self-acceptance. Remain established in the awareness of your true self. This will give you a sense of unity with all of life, and help you to get in touch with the innermost essence of your being.
  • Be open to exploring new interests. Make space in your life and put in the time, even if it is to just spending 30 minutes. If you are just getting started, take small steps. Time spent alone is a great opportunity to explore new interests, but it doesn’t mean you have to totally push yourself outside of your comfort zone. But if you are at a loss of how to jump in, plan out something that you know that you will enjoy doing, may be that helps you feel more productive or helps you be more relaxed.

Loneliness is a negative state where there is a need to seek the other, while aloneness means a sense of completeness where one is totally entered and rooted in oneself. In aloneness, one is a part of existence and the other is not needed at all. Being aware of your aloneness is key to experience ultimate freedom. Allow yourself the freedom to discover your true self, be patient as you train yourself to do so. Spending more time with yourself increases your ability to recognise the forces in play in your life.

Solitude helps you find peace. Peace helps you find happiness.

Maxime Legace

Self-acceptance: The key to happiness

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Beene Brown

True happiness is in understanding self and accepting your imperfections. We all experience discontentment, frustration or anger in life for various reasons. The common reason however is non-acceptance and not being able to come to terms with one’s imperfections, conflicting desires, and challenging emotions. Most of us go through our lives like sleepwalkers, never really present in what we are doing, never fully alert to our environment, and not even aware of what motivates us to do and say the things we say. A lack of awareness also is one of the reason why we get taken over by negative emotions which leads to a variety of emotional difficulties, including anger and depression.

When we lack awareness, we struggle to accept what is as it creates resistance and tension with the present moment. We get caught up in self-evaluation rather than self-acceptance and devote most of our attention on how to compensate our perceived personal deficits. Also, sometimes, when we can’t let go of our past unpleasant emotions, we tend to withheld kindness and goodwill toward ourselves and others which makes it difficult to let go of our past imperfect selves. It is a misconception that self acceptance is being passive or giving up because of which we tend to disregard negative or unfavourable experiences, emotions and behaviours.

Non acceptance of self accentuates harsh inner voice that dominates our limiting thoughts, behaviours and negative emotions. To accept what is and who you are takes practice especially when you don’t like your imperfections or negative emotional states. You have to work effectively as best you can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources you have to heal, redirect and change what can be changed.

Self acceptance and self-improvement
Self acceptance is having an awareness of your perceived imperfections and shortcomings, whilst knowing you are worthy and deserving. It is not about fixing any imperfections or flaws in ourselves. Accepting ourselves to improve is what makes it conditional. Whereas self-acceptance is oriented in “here” and “now” and is not future oriented. This does not mean that we should ignore or deny our faults or failings. It is just that we view them as irrelevant to our basic acceptability. Also, accepting ourselves doesn’t mean we will be without motivation to make changes that will make us more effective. With greater self regard, changing our behaviours becomes a matter of preference than a prerequisite.

Instead of thinking, we are only as worthwhile as our latest achievement, by unconditionally accepting ourselves, we are reaffirming who we are with whatever strengths and weaknesses we possess. Instead of assessing and reassessing ourselves, we can then strive to understand our past behaviours nonetheless accept ourselves as we are today. With unconditional positive self regard, we put ourselves in better position to begin improving and commit ourselves to a lifetime of personal growth.

Self-acceptance determines your level of happiness
Happiness is simply a way of being and is based on inner peace. But, too many try to change themselves for other people and this leads to inner conflict. You don’t need to accept yourself. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to fit into other peoples’ version of perfectness, you will struggle to be at peace with what you are. Self acceptance is what keeps you at peace. Therefore, the more you accept of your perfect and imperfect self, the more happiness you will allow yourself to receive and enjoy.

Self-compassion leads to self-acceptance
Only by developing self compassion that you can let go of things that earlier you assumed must be your imperfections or shortcomings. It is through self-compassion that you can learn to like yourself more and view yourself as deserving of love and respect. Reflecting on your feelings of guilt, self-criticism, self-rejection or denial, you gain understanding of what compelled your past actions or behaviours and you will be more likely to be able to excuse yourself for such behaviours or imperfections and avoid repeating it in the future. We can be more self-accepting by taking responsibility of our imperfect actions or behaviours whilst simultaneously being compassionate and forgiving towards ourselves and others.

Mindfulness improves self-acceptance and self-compassion
One of the simplest method to naturally reduce self-evaluation is to develop a habit of mindfulness. When we are mindful, we can be present to both context and perspective. Willingness to let others see one’s true self and being fully in the moment helps you explore the situation you are rather than trying to win approval of others or impressing others. When you are not mindful, you enter a mindless state, where you begin to behave the way others think you should behave thereby distancing yourself from you honest feelings and your ability to be in the moment.

Live mindfully without pretence and without concern that others are judging you negatively. Being mindful leads to flexible and open mindset in which one is less judgmental and rigid. The state of mindfulness encompasses a state of self-acceptance, where one focuses on the acceptance of present experience rather than on self-judgment and self-criticism.

To-Do

True happiness is in understanding self and accepting your imperfections. Pay attention to your thoughts to learn one or two things about your attitude toward self.

  • We all struggle with challenges or uncertainty. We all want to be loved and want to feel good enough. And we all wish some parts of our personality are different. These are all parts of human experience. Bringing to your awareness that you are not the only one helps you to keep up with your imperfections and shortcomings.
  • Take small steps to accept your true self. Try to listen and act on your own internal preferences, needs and wants rather than making choices and living your life from a place of ‘should’.
  • Avoid comparison. It is impossible to have all of that which we admire or appreciate in others. Comparison reduces the value of your unique self. Acknowledge your own accomplishments and achievements.
  • Develop gratitude towards self, contemplate your efforts, achievements and joyful moments. If you feel you don’t have many positive qualities, successes or experiences, remind yourself that it is likely to be the negativity bias of the human nature.
  • Make peace with part of the self that until now you may have been denied or avoiding. Let go of unpleasant past memories. No matter what hurts and deprivations you experienced in the past, you can now reframe your limiting beliefs as rather empowering.
  • Develop self-compassion by focusing more on your positives than negatives. Forgive yourself for your faults, as well as your need for others’ approval. Remind yourself that your weaknesses are part of what makes you human.

To be happy means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. When you allow yourself to be as you are, you can begin to be at peace with things that you are in resistance with and change for better.

An attitude of embracing our perfect and imperfect self rather than resisting is what makes us more receptive and open to the joy of living.

Beliefs: Pathways to change

“ The belief that becomes truth for me…is that which allows me the best use of my strength, the best means of putting my virtues into action.” – Andre Gide

What determines the difference in human actions is the belief we hold onto. Our life is a mere reflection of our beliefs and the power of belief is the driving force of our life. When the conscious and subconscious are aligned, the path towards enlightenment becomes easy. If there is a discrepancy between what we consciously want and what we subconsciously believe we can have, then there’s conflict and frustration and beliefs become limiting factors in moving forward. As most of us do not consciously decide what we are going to believe, our individual or collective beliefs can often be wrong, limiting and misleading. Some of them are generalisations about our past, based on our interpretation of painful and pleasurable experiences and once we adopt a belief, we forget that it’s merely an interpretation.

Beliefs always do not represent what is true and factual. They are based on perceptions of reality and are shaped by our past experiences and environment we live in. Most of our attitude, skills and knowledge are all mere means for the fulfilment of our beliefs. We can only live according to our beliefs and not underperform or outperform them. Whatever we do, it is out of our conscious or unconscious beliefs about what will ultimately lead to joy or misery. To lead your life with love, happiness and peace, you got to believe you deserve a life of love, peace and happiness. But most of our beliefs also are limited in nature because of our habitual negative thought patterns. If you want to change your life and create long-term happiness, you must be willing to change those beliefs that are holding you back.

Beliefs have the power to create both joy of misery

Your beliefs create your reality- that which you believe in, you attract it into your life be it joy or misery. Your belief in abundance will bring abundance into your life, when there is only scarcity in your beliefs, only scarcity will unfold. Similarly if you belief that destiny itself is a matter of choice, then there is nothing that can stop you from becoming what you wish to become. If we want to direct our lives, then we must take conscious control over our beliefs because when your belief becomes ‘can’, then the ‘how’ unfolds automatically.

Believing something can be done sets your mind in motion to find a way to do it. It is scientifically proven that when we change our perception or beliefs, we send totally different messages to our cells and reprogram their expression. You can reprogram your pessimistic cells to be more optimistic by adopting positive thinking practices, like mindfulness and gratitude. You can follow the path to your enlightenment by altering your current perception of “reality” by changing your belief system.

Your thoughts influence your beliefs

Changing your thoughts can help you transform your beliefs to be flowing in the direction of that which you want to. Your thoughts become emotions, which in turn make you act in a given way, creating habitual patterns in your life. So, choosing those thoughts that support and empower can make your beliefs more meaningful. Your thoughts should be in the best interest of not only what you want but also of others and have to be in congruence with right values. To reframe your beliefs, learn to observe your negative mindset and release the patterns that cause you or others harm, that bring you down and make you doubt your inner strength.

In reframing your belief,

• Your dominant thoughts and feelings have to be right.

• Your thinking process has to be in congruence to your willingness to go on the path enlightenment. And

• You should motivated to follow the path.

It really doesn’t matter which one of your beliefs is true, what matters is which one is most empowering and whether your beliefs are strengthening or weakening you. There are several ways to reprogram the subconscious mind and transform your belief system.

  • Visualisation: In visualisation, we focus on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal. It is the ability to vividly imagine what you want to be or your desire to “see” it in the mind’s eye—before it exists in any physical reality.
  • Affirmations: Affirmations are an effective way to plant positive messages into your subconscious. It is one of the most effective ways to change a limited or negative belief. Repetition of an affirmation changes the neural pathways in your brain over time to produce the new belief.
  • Meditation: Meditation plays a vital role in reprogramming the subconscious mind because it helps to still the mind. In this state, your brain becomes more receptive, it becomes fertile ground for whatever you want to “implant” into the mind.
  • Positive Self-talk: Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and emotions is what you say to yourself and believe. By effectively managing your self-talk, you can begin to change your beliefs to positive.
  • Gratitude The best thing you can do to change your own belief system and feed new information into yourself is to develop the sense of gratitude. Being grateful for what you have is a powerful force in attracting what you desire more.

All battles are within ourselves, though we tend to think it’s external people, places and things that create our conditions. Thus, it’s important to consciously give our subconscious mind directives that coincide with our wishes, for only what we believe can we achieve. Reframe your limiting beliefs through visualisation, positive affirmations or self-talk, mindful awareness and by practicing gratitude.

To do,

Develop mindful awareness of your beliefs both empowering and disempowering. Think about the positive effects your empowering beliefs have on you. Similarly observe your limiting or negative beliefs and think of what are the consequences that these beliefs carry with them. Isolate such beliefs and question their longevity. The only reason you have held onto these beliefs might be because either you link pain to not believing or pleasure to keep it alive. Remember to question their validity so they no longer impact you. Asking yourself, “What will this belief ultimately cost my emotional/physical health, or my personal/ professional relationship?” Associating to what these beliefs have been costing you can help you let go of them. Create a new belief or you can use affirmations to consciously choose the beliefs that empower you and are most in alignment with the destiny you’ve chosen for yourself.

Observe how you feel like (confident, empowered and self-assured)about your new beliefs and practice these feelings to get comfortable with them. Trust in the new belief and take action from the new awareness or from the perspective of your new beliefs. This way, you can consciously choose empowering beliefs and create the vibrational atmosphere for what you want to manifest.

Through mindfulness and moments of introspection, we can sift through the intricacies of our thoughts, distinguishing what takes us toward our contentment and what moves us away from it. The decision always lies with us.

The Joy of being

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.“- Eckhart Tolle

Each day of your life appears to consist of thousands of moments where different things happen. Yet if you look more deeply, this one moment-Now-is the only thing you can never escape from. No matter how much your life changes, only one thing is certain that is your present moment.

Having your attention in the Now lets your life unfold with ease. Yet we have a tendency to treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle or we feel we have a future moment to get to that is more important. The habitual tendency of resisting the present moment creates a constant undercurrent of unease, tension, discontent or anger.

Thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and whatever you experience make up the content of your life. You derive your sense of self from this content, or so you believe. In other words, your sense of Now becomes obscured by circumstances, your stream of thinking, thereby giving into confusion, anger, depression, and conflict. And so you experience I Am or the Now only faintly and indirectly. Whereas your innermost sense of I Am is one with the Now and it always remains the same as it is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens. The space of Now always remains unchanged.

The ‘Now’ & your ‘conscious self

The Now is inseparable from your conscious self. Being conscious doesn’t mean that you are constantly thinking of self. If the emphasis is on the “self” or on your successes and failures, or how you are being perceived or if you are worried about others’ opinion or judgment of you, you again remain ego centered and lose your actual sense of who you are and so too lose your present moment. Instead if you change the focus from ‘self’ to ‘consciousness’, then you begin to identify that you are not your emotions, experiences, perceptions, and thoughts. You are not the so believed content of your life, but you are the space in which all things happen and you are the consciousness itself and you are the Now.

When your emphasis is on ‘consciousness’, you come to understand that your authentic self always remains constant and your conscious experience is the one which is constantly changing and shifting and flowing smooth like a stream according to the ebb and flow of your thoughts and experiences of the world around you. A form that appears in your consciousness disappears as that experience dissolves. But most of us feel that our identity, our sense of self, is something incredibly precious that we don’t want to lose. The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the thought, feeling, or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear. You cannot find yourself in the past or future. The only place where you can find your self is in the Now.

Finding your strength in ‘Now’

• The present moment is sometimes unacceptable, unpleasant, or awful. The continuous judgment creates anxiety, stress and unhappiness. By becoming aware of ebb and flow of your thought-patterns, you can step out of its resistance patterns. This way, your thoughts don’t draw you totally and the incessant stream of thinking slows down thereby creating a gap of no-mind. This can help you to step out of the content of your mind, and step into the Now.

• You become aware of your own essence which is your innermost sense of who you are. You will come to know that your innermost sense of who you are is eternal in you and that’s the only thing you cannot lose. Through this awareness, you can experience yourself as conscious being free of form, desire and fear and fully present in Now.

• Taking responsibility for this moment means not to oppose internally the ‘such ness’ of Now. Whatever the present moment contains, accept and work with it and not against it. when you no longer argue with what is, the compulsion to think lessens and is replaced by an alertness into Now.

• When you identify with your negative energy unconsciously, it rises up and tends to create further negative field making you a victim or perpetrator. But if you focus your attention consciously and observe by accessing the power of now and become a witness or watcher. you can break the pattern and it can no longer replenish itself through you.

When your attention moves into the Now, you find your strength. The more you live in the Now, the more you sense the joy of being.

To do

Mindfulness helps you to return to and stay in the present moment by slowing down the thoughts. It helps in balancing the mind and makes you realise that there is no control over past and future. Make it your practice to welcome the ease and joy of simply being. During your meditation process, practice being an observer of everything that you are experiencing. Notice everything that is arising and passing in your awareness without denial, resistance or judgment. Accept the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejeciting.

Your authentic self

“To become conscious and aware, we must become authentic. Authenticity is the highest form of being.” – Teal Swan

Almost everyone who is on the path to their enlightened state come across their other self. This other self is the subjective self which is more identified to our ego, past experiences, and perceptions. The more we concentrate on this other self, the more we resist to evolve or change. In our daily life, we are very much identified with the content of such subjective experience that happens from moment to moment. According to the dictionary meaning, being ‘subjective’ is “characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind.” The definition essentially says that when something is subjective, it has its basis inside of a person’s mind. When that is the case, most of our subjective experiences are thus ruled by our memories, biases, and prejudices. Such experiences create self-doubt, confusion about what we want, and we feel inauthentic and disconnected. Because of this, it becomes difficult for us to know which dimension of our self we are identifying with, resulting in an inner conflict.

Your subjective experiences are coloured by your own individual preferences past experiences, and emotional sensitivity. Whereas by developing an objective interest in the self or a strong sense of authentic self, you can avoid getting lost in the subjective drama of your inner experience and you can gain clarity on who you are. Objectivity occurs outside of the mind and is related to a phenomenon in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and thus removes your subjective biases. Objective awareness improves self-esteem, creates a sense of purpose and helps you to cultivate better relationships.

‘Self’ & ‘Ego’

According to research, our authentic self has been suggested to be a core mechanism of stability in a world of continuous change. A clearly conceived ‘self’ can be used to guide behavior in consistent, personally meaningful, and fulfilling ways.” And to achieve enlightenment is to know the fundamental distinction in the nature and expression of our ‘self’. Evolution of your own consciousness occurs in the manifestation of dimension of self. And in this manifestation, there is a part of you that wants to evolve, and there is a part of you that definitely does not want to and puts up a fierce resistance to change. This part forces your mind to come up with reasons that uphold its feelings and demands. Many people who are interested in evolving their consciousness don’t actually change is because unknowingly, they identify more with the dimension of self that doesn’t want to evolve. Your ‘ego’ is the part that doesn’t want to evolve where as your authentic self is the one that wants to. ‘Self‘ and the ‘ego‘ are two completely different dimensions of who you are, and like parallel lines, they never meet. This is the reason most of us live in a deeply divided and conflicted state.

To consciously evolve,

you need to become one with your ‘authentic self’. This can be achieved in the long run only by being in meditative state. Mindful people have a stronger sense of their authentic self. But you eventually fall back into the personal world that the ego creates. And through all this you get confused and are just aware of the rise and fall of different emotional states. Being aware of the important distinctions between the different dimensions of your own self, one moment to another, is an important part of gaining conscious awareness. While you are meditating, if you experience resistance to change, there is no need to be disturbed or frustrated. you need to understand that this is the inertia of your own ego. Try and restrain yourself from expressing the negative in your actions, feelings and thoughts. Strive to nurture the reciprocal positive within yourself.

When you learn to be awake to each dimension of your own self as it is arising,

• You develope an objective view of your authentic self. Then you no longer get lost in the subjective fluctuations of your own experiences.

• You achieve mindful awareness and respond to your thoughts and feelings in deliberate, non-reactive, and non-judgmental ways.

• You will gain clarity of your self-concept by developing stable, clear, and un-conflicted view of yourself.

• You achieve a state of well-being through self-acceptance, independence and control over your environment, relationships, your experience of personal growth and purpose in life.

By developing objective awareness, you may increase the likelihood of accepting self, which may increase your willingness of being mindful to explore and examine the self. As a result, we tend to become more familiar or friendly with ourselves and may be more willing to take a clear look in the mirror. 

“You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.”– Amy Poehler

To Do

• Sit in silence and focus your attention within to find the manifestation of dimension of self. Bring your conscious objective awareness to your every thought and feeling. Recognise how they arise, duration, and dissolution. Observe the changes that take place in your mind and observe which dimension of your self you are identifying with. Do not turn your mind to a battlefield by judging or suppressing your unruly thoughts. Accept yourself with all positives and negatives. Slowly your negative dimension of self will recede, as it will not get nourishment. Enjoy the constant fluctuations of the dimensions of self instead of resisting, when you do that, you can disconnect with your egoic self that doesn’t want to evolve and can become one with your authentic self.

The power of forgiveness

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” – Bernard Meltzer

There are many ways to walk the path of enlightenment and forgiveness is one of them. Forgiveness is essential for growth and continued happiness, but whether you are seeking or someone else is seeking it from you, or even if you are trying to forgive yourself for things you’ve done, it is easier said than done. When you do not flow freely with life in present moment, it usually means you are holding on to a past moment. It can be regret, sadness, hurt, fear, or guilt, blame anger or resentment. Each of these states comes from a space of unfogiveness. Unless you let go or forgive yourself, or other person or situation, you cannot live freely in the present moment.

Forgiveness is defined as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, or condoning or excusing offences, but it is a shift in your thoughts from resentment or revenge to accept and let go. Letting go of deeply held negative feelings empowers you to recognise the pain you suffered without letting that define you thereby enabling you to move forward. Those who forgive easily have less anger, less stress and less rumination compared to those who hold on to their anger and pain.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent to throw it at someone – you are the one getting burned.” – Buddha

Holding resentment and anger against people for things that occurred in the past can impact your health and well-being. Carrying your unresolved issues weighs you down and blocks you from achieving your present goals. Resentment and pent up anger can be extremely damaging both emotionally and physically. Many illnesses and mental conditions are directly linked to negative emotions that hamper your present moment awareness. The past can never be changed. Yet we can change our thoughts about the past. To release the past, you must be willing to forgive. You need to choose to release the past and forgive everyone, yourself included.

You do not know how to forgive and may not want to forgive, but if you develop the willingness to forgive, you can release yourself from the negative thinking and emotional patterns. Whatever your pain or situation, you must develop a forgiving mind. Seeing forgiveness as a process can help you develop a forgiving mind.

To develop a forgiving mind,

  • Recall the hurt and think about how you have been hurt. How were you wronged and how has it affected you? Do not avoid what has happened and what it is that you are feeling. Understand the events that triggered your hurt. You can confess all your hostile feelings to the person who wronged you by meeting him or her face-to-face or you can also do so by visualising the person seated across from you.
  • Partake in the actual work of forgiveness. Try to understand the motivations or context that may have contributed towards their wrongdoing from objective standpoint. Offer them compassion and empathy.
  • Accept the pain of what has happened and people as they are and release them from any responsibility to meet your expectations. When you begin to forgive as an act of will, you can let go of the negative emotions or thoughts.
  • Make commitment to forgive. Forgiveness must be a free choice that someone arrives at on their own. Once you forgive and let go, you may start to release negative emotions and see the personal freedom that comes with forgiveness. You may also realise how you too are in need of forgiveness from others in the process.

Forgiveness allows us to release negative emotions and can help us repair and renew relationships. To forgive is to accept and approve yourself as you are. Creating a space of acceptance and letting go of past experiences and forgiving people or situations will set you free from the pressure and weight of an unforgiving attitude.

To-do

If you find yourself emotionally stuck, it means that there is forgiving to be done. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to relax. Then imagine the person you resent the most or people who are hardest to forgive. What would you like to do to them? What do they need to do to get your forgiveness? Ask yourself how willing are you to forgive, accept and to let these things go. List all the things you are willing to do to forgive and to seek forgiveness of others. Some experiences are easy to let go and for some you need time, but practicing makes it easier to develop a forgiving attitude and gives you a chance to make a new beginning.