The journey of awakening begins with an opening and shifting of perspective. Toxic thoughts can rule one’s life and cause a great deal of suffering. It is easy to become absorbed in those thoughts. It is as if the present moment disappears. Imagine your body sitting on a bank by the river, your thoughts would be like the boats that float by. However, often we don’t choose which boat to board, we just wake up, on a boat, far downstream, and wonder: “how did I get here”?
These trains of thought are powerful as if we are dreaming awake. And yet, at some point, no matter how far downstream, we always wake up. We always come back to the present moment. What force or impulse calls you back again to the present moment?
Consciousness? Awareness? This force or element of the mind can be our greatest ally in seeking to better our lives, to grow and expand our intelligence, wisdom, and compassion. With the cultivation of awareness, we can begin to choose which life direction we are headed.
Being Present in Each Moment
The ability to notice, and appreciate the present moment, can be a difficult, yet vital thing. So much magic occurs in the present moment, and this is where a true journey of awakening can occur. A Spiritual Retreat at SpiritQuest can help to build in the necessary tools that are needed to start establishing a healthy mindfulness practice.
In mindfulness, we can first take note of what it is like to be “lost” in thought vs what it is like to be “found,” or conscious and present again. As we compare these states, we usually find that being present feels more relaxed, focused, at ease, and connected. We begin to notice not all “boats of thought” are productive, many are even destructive. We can expand the mind’s natural ability to wake up from the dream of discursive thought, of the mind’s tendency toward stories and air castles. When we do, we become enlightened, if even for a few seconds.
Journey of Awakening: Spiritual Practice
With practice, we can begin to make choices in our lives, both large and small, from the place of wakefulness, awareness, and mindfulness, of being present rather than from the egoic mind, the mind lost in what-ifs and the pains of the past, the mind that is engaging with the world of our fantasy, no matter how real that constructed world seems. It is the world built on a small point of view, in a limited place, frozen in time. The expansive, present mind, builds no such construction, but simply exists with awareness.
There’s nothing wrong with the egoic mind. The ego is necessary for us to function, to know what is other’s and what is mine. However, the egoic mind is a limited resource, with limited vision. It makes patterns and drives those patterns deeper. This limits creativity, flexibility, wisdom, and the ability to use intelligence in a manner most conducive to constructive change in our lives.
So I invite you to take a seat on the bank, enjoy the freshness of the present, and begin the journey of awakening with a spiritual retreat in Sedona.