Appreciating and Embracing the Nature of Now

Forest in Tasmania, near Cradle Mountain

Forest in Tasmania, near Cradle Mountain

A great deal of suffering is created by our unwillingness to exist in the moment. However, this is the basis of all happiness in life, rather than the satisfaction of any particular conditions – more money, better health, better job, etc…

Think about the last time you felt unhappy for a moment. Weren’t you basically unhappy because you were resisting some aspect of your life. Odds are also, that when your unhappiness passed, it wasn’t because the actual condition changed – rather you probably gained a different perspective which allowed you to see something that was previously ‘bad’ as an opportunity.

A lot of this resistance is created because we have learned to judge conditions as either good or bad. Most of us grow up believing somehow that we must be discontent with what we have in order to move forward. This means that we end up trying to move away from what we don’t want, rather than moving towards what we do. The difference is subtle but important, and relates to my last post on the importance of positive focus. But this focus is also best accessed when we come from an accepting awareness of the moment, without judging it as good or bad. Rather, the moment is just a collection of conditions.

Think of this like the seasons. Do you go around saying that winter is bad or good? Isn’t it more truthful to say that winter is characterised by a certain mix of conditions. This may mean that it’s cold for you. But if you accept that it is cold, then you will also make certain choices in order to adapt to these conditions. You may also find that the colder months present other choices to do things that you cannot do during other seasons – like skiing and ice-skating. This was we actually learn to make the most of what the current conditions offer.

They aren’t always as easy to see, but our lives have seasons too, and often you will find that you are really excelling in life when you are living in accord with your season. Different cultures have different ways of expressing this idea. In myth for example, life’s seasons are often portrayed in the life-cycle of the hero and their journey through death and the renewal of their life and consciousness.

It’s very common, when we become aware of the different seasons or phases of our life, to want to think we’re in a different stage to the one we are actually in. This is one area which Donald Epstein, the creator of Network Spinal Analysis, is very good on. In his model, he identifies four stages – Discovery, Transform, Awaken, and Integration. Most people want to see themselves at a ‘higher’ end of the cycle, not realising that each part of the cycle has its own special power and purpose. Furthermore, each stage offers opportunities that can only be fully accessed at that time. Generally speaking, you can only ski at a particular place during a certain window of time.

This is why, it is so important to recognise where we are really, accept this fully, and start to make the most of it while we have the chance. Doing this is also the best way to move ahead into the next phase with a strong foundation.

We can see this at work in the global economy right now as well. Many are focused on a recession as a bad thing. On the other hand, there are others out there who have been waiting for a recession to get into the markets. Recessions offer an incredible richness of opportunity to those who are less well off initially. New business niches are opening up everywhere in response to changing consumer demand and market conditions generally.

Recently, in Australia, the government has been giving out cheques of roughly $1000 to everyone earning less than $100,000. The hope is that this money will be spent in the local economy and thus act as a form of stimulus. Now, I’m no financial genius, but I think there are better ways of investing however many billion this has cost. The problem appears to be that governments are trying to spend their way out of recession rather than investing in order to create a more solid foundation for future wealth. One alternative would have been for the government to put the same amount of money into person’s superannuation fund, or something which would have a similar effect of investing in business, while at the same time, giving more people a piece of the pie which will assist them in years to come.

Ok,  I’m not sure how I got from cycles of life to the economy – ah yes, it’s about appreciating where we are, and making use of it to our advantage.

So where are you now in your life? What are you mainly focused on? What are your actions like? How would you describe your energy levels? Sometimes, of course – like the seasons – you might have a spike of unusual conditions. But a warm day in winter does not make it spring.

Take some time to feel where you are – not where you want to be, but where you actually are right now. If it is not where you want to be, accept this as the present condition and ask yourself how you can best take adavantage of the situation for your long-term benefit? What opportunity does your situation present you with?

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