Are we climbing higher, staying the same, or sinking? We get in our own way when making choices for ourselves every day. What exactly gets in our way and controls our life? The answer is our preferences, impulses, desires, ego and emotion. To put it simply: it is our own MIND. If the mind runs the show we sink. If our intellect - inner voice of reason - runs the show we SOAR.
Humans have three marvelous equipments; a body, mind and intellect. Our body houses our organs of perception and action. Our mind houses our feelings/emotions, preferences and impulses. Our intellect is our ability to think logically, and when properly developed, directs and guides the body and mind! Beyond these material layers lies an enabling factor. Some call it God. Others refer to it as Spirit, Soul, Self, Atman, Brahman or another name. We have both… we may stay in the material realm, or we may use the material to reach the spiritual.
We have various roles that we play in our lives. When making a living, what is your role? "I am a teacher, lawyer, therapist, accountant, barista..." Then your job is to teach, practice law, listen to people and give sound advice, deal with numbers, make delicious coffee beverages... Stop thinking of what YOU want and just do the job. No matter what you choose to do for a living, it is a ROLE -not a life. Play it, and that’s it!
What is your role as a family member? “I am a wife, father, sister, uncle…” This is still not your life, but rather another role played. Do your duties and fulfill your obligations to the best of your ability! And no, we may not like everything about it.
We have a role in our community and country as well. What is it? Fulfill it and move on.
We label ourselves, "I am a mom, a business owner, salesperson, brother, husband, preacher, political activist, etc.” These are all roles we play but they are not who we really are. To make a living, we have jobs. To make a life, we must use our intellect to guide every motion, emotion, action and reaction. Without a strong intellect we are slaves to our mind and the world. This leads to a mundane existence. Is that all you want? I sure don’t. I want more!
There is way more but how do we get there?
Start by having honest dialogue with yourself. Recognize however, the very self that we are talking to, is the very self who also gets us off track by making poor decisions. If you struggle with a decision, reach out and ask for help! You may need to borrow a voice of reason and logic – an intellect! (I have at least six intellects I may borrow at any given time to ensure I’m covered.)
Practice Karma Yoga, having an attitude of service in every action. This will absorb any annoyance, frustration or agitation so that we may play our role and SOAR! Ask: What is my role? How can I contribute? What may I give? You will actually receive more from this way of thinking! The opposite is an attitude of expectation, receiving, wanting, craving…
Put your preferences aside and use your intellect to steer. What we like may not be good for us and what we don’t like may indeed be. If we truly want growth, we must understand that the very things that make us uncomfortable also make us stronger.
Previously, I had little money and still went to India to study with my guru. Why? Because I was miserable and knew the only way out of that misery was to immerse myself in higher knowledge in an environment where I could not get lost in my preferences. I followed the schedule even when I didn’t want to. I did what I needed to do to get out of my own way and rise above my own bullshit that was pulling me down.
I could go on and on about how most of my day is filled with actions that I do not prefer to do.
I play many roles. None of these define me. I am NOT just a wife, yoga studio owner, a sister, daughter, libertarian… Can you imagine if an actor brought their job home and became the role they played on stage or screen?
We are all seeking the kind of happiness, internal peace and sanity that lasts. Most of the people, places and things we like won't get us there. Our preferences keep us in negative relationships and jobs. Preferences make us eat the wrong foods and put things in our bodies that are not good for us. They mess up our roles and how we play them. They push, pull and toss us up, down and all around. Only our intellect, clear thinking, has an ability to move us in the right direction. What are we doing to develop that?
If you are growing, you WILL experience discomfort. I'm with you! I feel that every day.... It’s uncomfortable but it also helps catapult us to a higher level of living! A yogi is a seeker looking for more than a mundane existence. Examine your whims and fancies - likes and dislikes -preferences and realize they have very little value... what are they getting you?
Let’s stop being slaves and become true yogis.
Save your own ass today. Lose your preferences, play your role and SOAR!