I’ve screwed up, been asleep, acted from a place of ignorance and suffering too many times to count. I’ve experienced tragedy, loss and a lot of pain that have helped me wake up to what life is really about (and I’m still discovering that). Subsequently, as I looked deeply at myself, worked through the discomfort of the results of my actions and faced the ways in which I was participating in and creating my own suffering, I began to heal. When life presents us with difficulty, it can be hard to know where to start to make the changes we need to in order to live our lives differently.
Every time we choose to try to be awake, our eyes open a little more, our minds open up and we can receive deepening layers of Truth. And there will be times we fall back into the slumber, into an ignorant sleep. It’s okay – it’s just like meditation – as soon as you notice you’ve wandered, compassionately bring yourself back.
What doing the work can look like:
- Sitting with yourself, learning to watch your thoughts, to question your beliefs, to feel your feelings in your body, to tolerate and allow those thoughts and feelings.
- Learning about your family, your childhood, about the things that formed you and your outlook on life.
- Working on opening your mind- we call this psychological flexibility and it results in an open-minded tolerance for difference between you and others.
- Questioning the things you think and believe.
- Hiring a therapist to walk with you on that journey.
Anything other than this is living a life of complacency, and it’s the same as being asleep. Sometimes we have to be woken up by some tragedy or external circumstance or maybe we were lucky enough to be born into a family that encouraged this kind of questioning and self-observation. Or perhaps we’re just tired of suffering, tired of feeling unfulfilled, wandering around life, doing the things we were told were “normal” or “good” or “appropriate.” Whatever way you wake up, wake up and really look at yourself. It can be the most beautiful, difficult, rewarding work of your life.