What struck me this morning in my meditation practice is how easy it is to get stuck in a rut. To roll out of bed, uploading the same programmes of our identity as the day before. Eat, sleep, workout, have sex, watch Netflix, scroll on socials, whatever else it is that you do on the daily, and repeat. Day in day out. Without stopping to question it for a moment.
Well, I guess that’s the point of meditation.
To stop your actions mid process and reflect, and see - hey wait a minute, why am I doing this or that? Does it really serve me? Does it make me happy? Am I even consciously aware of the fact that I’m doing it? Where is this actually taking me? Am I present to what is happening here?
And if I’m honest when I step back and reflect, I’m not. Not always present, more in my head, thinking about something from the past or mentally checking what’s in my agenda for the rest of the day. It takes dedication and commitment to bring your attention back to the moment, and be fully living your life in the here and now. No easy task!
Where your energy flows...
I believe the vast majority of us are living in this state, and it’s no surprise when we are societally conditioned to stay asleep. There is so much data coming at us on any given day, our systems are totally overwhelmed. Rather than malfunction, it’s much easier to zone out and carry on with our autopilot. After all some of those functions serve us really well, like being able to drive a car without thinking about it, or walking down the street to the supermarket. If we had to consciously compute those processes each time, there wouldn’t be much bandwidth left for anything else.
However, this canny ability of our subconscious mind and physical body to automatically carry out many functions on our behalf has serious drawbacks. If we are not paying attention, it will literally be hijacked by someone or something else that is skilful at capturing it.
Where your attention goes, your energy flows.
Which direction are you pointing yours in?
Are you consciously deciding where you spend your time, energy and attention? Or are you on autopilot, and unconsciously stuck in a rut which is draining your very life force away?
Where is your focus?
Let me be honest, staying present and focussed in the here and now is a heroic task. One that I believe we can all benefit immensely from. However, in order to do so we must break our addiction to zoning out and running on autopilot. This will not get us where we want to go. Particularly as most of our actions (estimated 90%) are driven by our subconscious mind, which is build almost exclusively from the material and experiences we ingested before the age of seven. Essentially our subconscious, which is running our day to day lives, is like a small child that’s high on candy. Always flitting between a million things, bouncing off the walls and going around in circles. Our programming is running our lives and we are seldom aware of it.
Furthermore the modern landscape of media bombardment takes advantage of our perpetual state of busyness and overwhelm and sneaks in all kinds of subliminal messaging whilst we’re not paying attention.
Case in point - the Hands. Face. Space. latest mantra of the UK government in the handling of the current crisis. You’ve heard it enough times. You know exactly what it means. That’s precisely how brainwashing works. When you repeat something over and over, it sinks into your subconscious and becomes part of the programme. This is precisely why I avoid absorbing media, you simply don’t know where it’s been 😉
Our subconscious mind provides a fertile soil for thoughts and ideas to grow. However when it is continually polluted with untruths, or old, negative and outdated beliefs, it can turn into an overgrown dangerous jungle which houses critters at every turn.
Instead of cultivating sunflowers, poppies and wild meadows that would make the birds and bees sing, all of a sudden you have the Venus fly trap from the movie Little Shop of Horrors on your hands. Feed me, feed me NOW! As I’ve said before, the minds is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.
Become the master of your mind
I know it may seem out of reach, but I’m here to remind you that your mind really is within your control. It does however take practice and discipline. You must determine which seeds you wish to plant and nurture. I’d suggest going with those that uplift and nourish you, and not the thoughts that bring you down and cause you to shrink.
The subconscious is also a repository for everyone else thoughts and opinions that you valued at some point in time. Mostly from our parents, but also relatives, school teachers, the mean girl at school etc. All of the thoughts and ideas that you have about yourself reside there too. It’s quite a mishmash of stuff, which is why it’s important to do some garden maintenance and begin pulling some of the weeds up at the roots.
By sitting with your thoughts, whether in meditation, breathwork or journaling for example - you can start to see what is deeper beneath the surface. You’ll begin to notice when you’re speaking to yourself in a negative way, or perhaps some habits that you’re continuing with that don’t actually support your growth.
We have become addicted to autopilot in a world which values convenience over integrity. It’s time to wake up and take the action and decisions that support a sustainable and loving future, as individuals and as a collective.
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.