Our minds are always preoccupied with inconsequential thoughts and pending tasks. We create a facade of constant motion to fool ourselves and others that we have a purpose in life.
Instead, it is actually a purgatory of limitless wanting, made up of over shopping, eating, traveling and working. All of it used to alleviate the guilt of being aimless.
There is no time to think, just forward momentum and a false hope that things will improve on their own. Ultimately, it results in a jarring collision with reality, and questions like, “Am I happy?” and “Am I satisfied with my life?” arise in our mind.
We realize that we are living an unfulfilling existence. Forcing us to find meaning, relief from medication, alcohol or from someone who appears to have the answers.
However, there are alternatives that allow you to create your own destiny and answer your own questions. Give yourself a moment of purposeful peace, where you can appraise your life and true feelings without distraction or outside influences.
Without meaningful goals to focus our attention and define our actions, we only experience small glimpses of happiness and satisfaction.
Actual satisfaction is achieved when we are aligned with our true purpose. It is not a fleeting sense, but something that energizes our motives. It goes beyond the contentment of a full stomach, warm clothes and a comfortable home.
Without self-reflection, we have no way to measure our true needs. Instead, we measure fulfillment through intimacy and the accumulation of material goods. It is a faulty process that leads to dissatisfaction and forces us to replace our current relationships and goods with new people and objects.
Easing into a moment of purposeful peace
You need to walk before you can run.
Remove your expectations and embrace the idea of silence, peace and contemplation.
It is about conditioning your mind to clear out the inefficient thoughts that race through your consciousness. And, over time you will focus on meaningful and useful thoughts.
Allow your mind to wander and your unconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface. Be aware of your true feelings and take an honest inventory of your life to see what you want to change and how you are going to find meaning in your actions.
The key to self reflection, is finding a place and time that is free from distraction. A place of mental and physical isolation, that allows you to think and consider without outside forces influencing or contaminating the process.
The Power of the Pre-dawn Hours
The early hours of the morning (between 2 to 5 a.m.) has a certain power when it comes to contemplation. If we are concerned about something or have a hard time reconciling a situation, we spend a sleepless night thinking about it.
We cannot analyze these problems properly during the day because so many distractions block our ability to think clearly.
Also, the lack of sleep intoxicates the mind, making it more open to exploration.
What is next?
Close your eyes and allow the unconscious mind to express itself, and thoughts will emerge.
Usually, the most confusing and doubt ridden thoughts are the thoughts you will want to embrace and dissect.
Take notes of these thoughts. This is not a journal, so write them down in point form and sum them up into single ideas, items or actions.
Techniques to focus your attention
Write down categories like home, family and work or use goals like renovations and vacations to guide your thought process and focus your attention.
If nothing else, writing down some key goals on paper is a victory. Even simple goals are enough to guide your mind and focus your conscious and unconscious attention during your day and serves as a record of your intentions for subsequent sessions.
Even after just a few sessions you will notice a change in your perception of time and your actions. You will give more consideration how you divide your time and effort throughout the day. Slowly aligning your actions and thoughts towards your goals.
What to do with the information you write down
Depending on your state of mind, and the urgency of the situation, you can do two things. Leave the information and access it at some future time or prime your mind with a few basic questions.
• How important is this to me?
• Does it conflict with other goals?
• What resources do I need?
• When does it need to be achieved?
In the future when you return to the list, you will find that you have already taken mental notes on the resources and tactics needed to develop a plan of action.
These sessions and plans you develop should remain private until you are comfortable in sharing them. Otherwise, your commitment to change and motivation can be diminished by other people’s input.
No matter what you do with the information you access, giving yourself the few hours of silence, isolation and contemplation will go a long way towards reducing anxiety and helping you focus on what is important to you.