Learn to Be a Witness of the Moment
There can never be peace on earth until we as individuals — whose actions essentially govern events through our relationships — have changed.
For most of us, peace of mind is as elusive as whether or not others agree or disagree with our point of view; in a word, we take everything very personally in spite of the fact that we live within an objective world of forces, energies, and infinite eternal laws. Only by discovering who we truly are within this greater impersonal world does it become possible for us to begin having relationships with others (and with life) where we are a witness of both worlds at once. And that gives us the objectivity that is the key to real change.
As evidenced by our knee-jerk resistance and (mostly negative) reactions to events, we can see that we meet the pure and present moment — which is actually intended to be new and revelatory — with a nature that transforms it into something that is old, repetitive, and painful through a process of identification. This nature forever seeks the source and the resolution for its suffering outside of itself. But the fact is, we are truly changed in any moment where we can be aware that the event we're meeting, in fact, is not personal.
Higher awareness brings the understanding that, through the millennia, human beings have been the instrument of a level of consciousness that has known only to react and defend its reactions in a never-ending circle of suffering. We have walked in this circle all our lives, unaware of an identity, a sense of self, which has been formulated through the surrounding culture, the environment, and by a consciousness asleep to itself. We say to this lower consciousness, "This is me," and then ceaselessly look to validate and prove its permanency through the things it has become attached to and identified with. Then, when conditions change and challenge that identity and the certainty of self, we take it personally and respond mechanically with negativity. This consciousness is unaware that every last self-defining idea is a self-confining prison.
Who we really are is more than that. But we only know the peace that comes with such understanding when we learn to step back and watch instead of being willful, resisting (or even at times running with) the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.
So, how do we turn this new self-knowledge into an intention we can take with us into moments where we find ourselves going round and round in that circle of suffering? How do we stop being the continuation of this lower level of consciousness? How do we come to understand we are not that consciousness, so that something higher in us can send us on another road altogether?
Here is a way to work at this: Simply become aware of the circle. You don't have to think about it. You can see you're about to react the same way you always have because in that moment there exists another level of consciousness that can clearly witness impersonally the lower level of consciousness that wants to act. In that moment you are no longer relegated to a reaction-driven identity. Rather, you sit outside of that identity, recognizing you've reacted like this for as long as you've been alive, but now your higher seeing gives you a choice.
Do you suspect that sometime today you may get upset? Someone or something will push your button, or you will push somebody else's button. Here is an exercise in the form of three words to remember in those moments: It's not personal.
Yes, it sure feels personal. Everything comes up in your mind to tell you the whole story of that driver who cut you off. But, it's not personal. Or you go to check out at the store and somebody doesn't do what you want them to do: It's not personal. You read your e-mail and somebody is challenging your opinion: It's not personal. Step back from the reaction and start recognizing, It's not personal.
A word of caution: It's not personal is not the same as saying I deny this. When you deny something, you're making it very personal. It's not personal means I see that this person reacting is an old habit, not me (my true person). The reaction is present to me, but I'm not going to give it my identity. It's not personal. Then you're able to leave the circle because if you stay here, you know exactly what is going to happen.
It's not personal — three small words that represent the power and the possibility of personal as well as planetary peace.
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