The other day I was co-facilitating a group and found myself feeling tired. My tendency, when tired, is to float along with whatever I am doing, resigned to the fact that my energy is low and that there’s nothing to be done until it is over and I can get to a private place to recharge myself. What that means is that my attention in the interim would be diffused. This time, however, knowing that it was important for me to stay focused and alert, I took steps to change my state right there and then. Within a few minutes, I felt clear and refreshed.
It showed me that (a) we indeed have the power to shift our state (we’re not stuck in it); and (b) it comes down to consciously taking the step to make a choice to change.
This applies to so many things. The first step in change is awareness – the kind of awareness that is crystal clear, because we make it so. Fogginess in our awareness is often a conscious choice – we choose to not be fully clear about something because of some fear we have around it. We can learn a lot about ourselves by examining our fear but at some point we need to make the choice to shift gears and move away from being trapped by it. That choice is preceded by a moment of intense clarity about our situation when we’ve made a choice to see it for what it is.
In my experience above, I chose to:
- Acknowledge that I was tired.
- Accept that I was tired.
- Take steps to change it.
These three steps were executed consciously, deliberately, with full awareness and the intention to change my situation. A simple example, perhaps, which may not be fairly compared to more complex situations, but the principles at work are the same. In any situation, we can look at how we’ve failed to bring changes because we have not taken any of those steps above.
Acknowledging the truth of a situation is the first step to change. This involves choosing to be aware, which also means choosing to elevate our level of awareness so that we see it clearly. We may not be able to be clear at first attempt, but a clear intention to have clarity about our situation will push us up a notch in awareness every time we make it. Once that clarity sets in, we’re able to see the truth of the situation. Acknowledging it is simply to note to ourselves what we now see clearly.
But having acknowledged something does not mean that we’ve accepted it. We note that it is there but we do not accept it. You may protest at this stage, “Of course I don’t accept it, that’s the whole point of change!” Bear with me as I expand on it (it’s one of those tricky, paradoxical things but once we’ve grasped the concept it’s a breeze to practise).
Accepting a situation does not mean that we choose to remain in that situation. Acceptance means to drop deeper into the truth of the situation rather than to fight it by denying that truth. This brings out the dual qualities of that situation so that we can see possibilities of a better outcome, which is what motivates us to change. When we fight the truth of something, we block ourselves from seeing our full potential. All that resistance creates a wall around us, trapping us in a desperate drive to escape from an undesirable situation and into an ego-driven option. This is why so often we become stuck in an undesirable situation long after we’ve acknowledged it is there. But when we relax into the truth of it, our world expands and more options are presented to us.
The third step of change is to take actual steps to move out of our current state. In my case, after I’d acknowledged being tired and dropped into acceptance of it, I began to examine what I could do to move out of my tired state.
I like to work with the four levels of our body. I’ve found that the physical and spiritual bodies are closely linked, as are the emotional and mental bodies. Our physical body is a vessel that holds and allows our spiritual self to express itself on the physical plane of existence. Stagnation felt in our physical body (which often manifests as low energy) is rarely due solely to physical causes. Even when physical causes have a part in it, it is often the energetic element that causes us to feel tired in our body.
Physically, I grabbed a bottle of water and gulped it down, which immediately made me feel clearer. This had the effect of pushing out the stagnant energy and increasing energy flow in my body. Using my mind, I directed the flow of energy along with the imagined flow of water in my system, which gave me a palpable sensation of energy moving rather than stagnant. On a mental level, I did a quick examination of my thoughts and replaced negative thoughts with positive ones. This changed my emotional state to being more positive. As I focused on the positive emotions, they expanded until I was filled with a positive energy, which caused more energy to flow in my body.
All this happened in a matter of minutes, and I wasn’t tired anymore. Then I thought to myself, if I could change my state quickly like this, what’s to stop me from staying in a positive state all the time? I could remain clear, alert, focused and get to achieve more in all my projects.
If I choose it. It boils down to whether we want to or not, which dictates whether we choose one way or another. There’s great comfort in staying in pain (something which I shall write more about later). Most of the time, we already have the tools to get out of an undesirable situation. The greatest challenge isn’t about getting the tools but in choosing to apply them to bring changes to our situation. Our reluctance to make that choice to move towards something more positive often stems from a resistance deep inside us, and that resistance must be addressed. For now, the point I want to get across is that the actual steps in bringing changes to our situation are usually not difficult to execute once we’ve made the choice to do so. We may find that every time we practice positive change, the resistance in us weakens until one day we’re able to flow willingly and joyfully towards those things that actually bring us happiness.