I receive a lot of emails from various self-improvement or spiritual development gurus and websites that contain messages of various ways to improve my life, my health, my relationships, my bank accounts or my enlightenment. There certainly is a lot of stuff out there competing for my attention and my dollars. I came to the realization that there must be a lot of people out there that don’t like what they are experiencing in order to manifest all of these people who are suggesting how to improve it.
I have already written several articles about the trap of wanting something different or better in our lives. When we don’t like what we have, or focus on the fact that we lack something we only create suffering in our lives. An entire industry has been manifested around manifestation, “the secret” to getting what we want or desire in our lives. These practices only serve to create short-term pleasure and rarely give us what we really want. The thing most of us really want is happiness, a way to enjoy every minute of every day, no matter what we are experiencing.
I have decided that what I want is the gift of true awareness, which is one of the foundation stones for true happiness. I want to focus on what I have, not what I don’t have. So I am contemplating on what that means and how to give myself this gift of awareness. I am aware that truly enlightened beings are aware of everything at the same time. They are aware of their breathing, their thoughts, their actions and the same for everyone in the whole world, all at the same time. That kind of awareness is certainly overwhelming to the student on the path to enlightenment.
Ancient wisdom insists that whenever I want life to be different, I am creating misery and suffering within myself. So the first step of the gift of awareness is to let go of the notion that what I am experiencing is not perfect. I do not need life to be different. If I were in the mode of thinking that life should be different, I would probably want my life to be different even if it was different. Wow, that is deep. In other words, when I have the habitual thought that my life should be different, I would always want my life to be different. So I have to change that habitual thinking pattern. The only way to do that is to stop wishing my life was different.
So I started contemplating on how to stop wishing my life was different. After all, my mind has to have something to do. So I started looking for things that I could be grateful and happy about my life. The first thing that came to mind was the fact that I was breathing. I take that for granted most of the time. It is a really good thing that my breathing is a thoughtless, automatic process, because if I had to remember to breathe at all times my mind would not have anything else to worry about. I also started contemplating on the miracle of life itself. The options are not so good, I concluded. So being alive is something to be aware of, at all times, if possible. I was struck with true joy when I focused on the fact that I was alive. I don’t know why or how that happened, but I just threw my head back and belly laughed as I contemplated I was alive.
Then as I started writing this article, I realized how fortunate I was that I could read and write. After all, there are millions of people on this planet that can’t do either of these things. I have a telephone, a computer, and a lot of material stuff that I really can do without, but that make my life easier. I realized that there are many things to like about my life and myself. I have to be aware of all of the many complex aspects of my life in order to be grateful for what I am.
So I suddenly realized that the true gift of awareness is to focus on what I have, and to forget about what I don’t have. I decided that this year, instead of buying any new stuff, I would pull out all of my old stuff that I haven’t used in a while, wrap it in Christmas wrapping paper and put that under my tree. You should see all of the stuff I am getting for Christmas this year! Even though I am so blessed with abundance that I can go buy whatever I want, I am really excited because I have so much to unwrap for Christmas this year. I can also do this metaphorically with all of the gifts I have in the way of blessings of health, talents, friends, family etc. etc. I don’t have a room big enough for all of those gifts.
So the true gift of awareness is to forget about getting anything new or different in my life. The true gift of awareness is to look at all of the many gifts I have. So now I have to start deleting all of these emails. I know that my life is changing constantly now; I do not need any magic secrets for that.