I spent many years travelling to Hawaii. Beyond the embrace of the physical space – the experience of being on a tiny dot of land in the middle of the majestic Pacific Ocean, 2500 miles from anywhere else, in any direction… all of which were breathtaking moments in time – I came to recognize that what kept calling me back to this ancient place was the Aloha Spirit… and the way it allowed me to remain hopeful of my own potential, in the day-to-day demands of my ‘real’ life.
For me, the Aloha Spirt was the constant reminder of what was possible for us all. The willingness and ability to trust… to invite and allow… to choose to be welcoming of others, as they entered into the Spirit Home our lives. The presence of kindness, generosity of Spirit and patience with another. The living curiosity of one human being for discovery in and of another human being.
The Aloha Spirit slowed time…. caused me to stop and take a breath… and in that breath, breathe deeper into the expansion of my own inner world. From that expansion… and from inside that expansion within myself… I could far better perceive and recognize the potential for that same expansion in my outer world.
In this realization, I am also mindful that despite my great desire to invite and allow others into my world… my reality…. the Spirit House of my Being, there is a point where what rises up is the unwavering declaration: You cannot have my house!
Like you can be a guest in my house, it is not your place to redefine/redesign the space within which I choose to live. Likewise, the ideas and constructs of others are welcome to flow through my thinking, and my mind remains of my own design. Like you cannot have my house, you also cannot have my mind. I will choose for myself.
My mind is the source from which the ripples of my reality emerge, shaping my experience of being alive. It is not only my refuge but the provocations and instigations of my creations. It is both a resource for an emergence and a call home when fatigue – in all its many forms – fills my world. Without my sovereignty of mind, I am at the mercy of the many forces outside of me that seek to control and direct my choices, and ultimately shape my ‘being’. I repeat: You cannot have my mind. I will choose for myself.
That for which I have taken a stand for much of my adult life is now coming full circle. My life has been dedicated to exploring for myself and sharing with others the distinctions between thinking about things; and HOW we think about the things we’re thinking about. They are not the same… and the power that lies in the difference is life-altering.
Before I can expand my thinking, I must first expand my capacity for thinking. Like recognizing that before I can take a bigger breath, my lungs must expand to accommodate the arrival of more inhalation… and that bigger inhalation will expand the capacity of my lungs to accommodate it. The back and the front of the same hand. It’s a dance.
What I see in all that is unfolding around me is not an expansion but a constriction inviting collapse. I do not see a willingness to open and discover (much of it assisted by a level of censorship that I have never seen in my many long years as a Canadian) but a tightening of the grip on being right… being sure… and in that, a willingness to force others to comply with that ‘rightness’ whatever the cost. It appears that our great desire to ‘protect’ each other includes the willingness to seek to control each other… for one faction of thought to coerce and overpower another, in the name of being a good and caring friend, family member or neighbour. The desperate desire for it all to just STOP… stop the fear, the uncertainty, the longing for a ‘disappeared’ time past… is palpable. In the name of righteous rage, forcing self on another has become not only acceptable but the ‘right’ thing to do. And in the frenzy of that, I see my Grandsons’ futures fading to black…
There are ways that I check in with mySelf… every day… and test the fullness of dominion of my own mind. If you want to explore that for yourself, consider:
It starts with the simple act of breathing. Are you breathing? (Many of us go through our days holding our breath and never notice. Holding our breath will produce a sense of agitation and collapse in the body; and will feed that agitation that it might grow and become fear as a platform for choosing. ) How far down into your body is your breath going? (Many of us do not allow breath to go below the diaphragm since we know, intuitively, that doing so will change our lives.) One way to check is to put your hand on your body where your breath ends. It’s useful to notice.
Once breathing has become a conscious moment in your life, consider:
Whose thoughts are you thinking? Choose to put aside a chunk of time (one that you will commit to and stick with) to be silent. During that time, do not speak (to yourself or others) through communication of any kind. No talking… no emails or texts, etc… no outer expression of any inner awareness. And just listen. Begin to notice what you’re paying attention to; and become mindful of what you are hearing. Listen for choice of language (i.e. is it inquisitive or combative, etc.). Listen for the degree of repetition in what you’re listening to. Notice whose voices you are drawn to and those you choose to tune out. Who do they remind you of? What is familiar about what are hearing? Not good/bad, right/wrong. Just begin to pay attention to that which likely owns much of your day and you’re not yet noticing.
Tomorrow, do it again.. only this time, listen to your own voice. As you engage with others (through conversation or the written word or body language), begin to notice what you sound like to another. Notice the things you talk about; your choice of language; the cadence and tone of your own voice. Would you want to listen to you?
This is a start… a first step in beginning to expand your awareness beyond merely the content of WHAT you’re thinking about and beginning to notice HOW you’re thinking about what you’re thinking about. In that one, simple choice to discover, your world has already expanded.
And there is always more…..
I choose to remain open to considering the thoughts and ideas of others. My mind can make way to accommodate and more deeply explore that which calls itself ’truth’ or ‘reality’. And regardless of what presents, of one thing I am clear:
You cannot have my mind. I will choose for myself.