Introspection is meditation. Understanding your own thoughts, reasoning and choices is the same as being aware of your own identity. That identity remains flexible, but it will have certain characteristics no matter what we choose.
Like limousines, Ferraris and gravel trucks, we all do some things well and other things poorly. So you can spend a life trying to turn yourself into a mythical, luxurious, gravel-hauling, tight-handling sportscar self, or you can just sit in the most comfortable seat and do that. Because no matter what vehicle/identity you choose, you’ll always leave something on the table. The only question is, are you okay with that?
You can use your thoughts to beat yourself down, or you can use them to expand yourself and grow. There are judgmental thoughts and there are curious and creative thoughts. One seeks to define, the other seeks to understand. But through introspective understanding we come to know our natural place, and that help to expose us to our path.
Water doesn’t worry about the opportunities uphill. Likewise, don’t focus on what you don’t do. Focus on what you do do. Because that is you being accepting about who you are. That is you being like water and accepting where your own low-ground is. Once you stop your internal battle with your youness you begin enacting your youness.
If you want to be useful to those you love just start being truly selfish about your happiness. Because your spouse or your kids don’t live with your paycheque, they live with your mood. And unfortunately, larger paycheques generally means more responsibilities, which also means more hassles, which can lead to complications that add up to more than the money is worth.
Stop evaluating your life with the measuring stick of money. Start evaluating it by the amount of joy it contains. Because if you and your spouse and kids are all happy with you coming home from something you love, then that’s better than you coming home miserable in a Mercedes. Words are words and life is life. Because you can describe a life using words like BMW or Vice President or Palm Springs or designer fashion, but those are actually things that are layered over top of a life.
A life is an emotional state. It’s not made up of what you own or do, everyone’s experience is equally comprised of series of feelings. Think of it like the colour on a piece of film. So each life may have different images on the frame, but what’s truly important is that each frame is a new moment with a new opportunity to choose a new hue, or colour for your experience, and everyone around you is doing likewise.
Your external life is like the image on the film. That’s your ego. Your surface. So in this moment you might have the image of a luxury car or a corner office, but what really matters is that the image is red with rage. Or you might have an image of a very large pile of money, but if you’re green with envy over how much money someone else has, then that’s actually what you’re experiencing. And you can be pictured next to the most beautiful person in the world, but none of that has any meaning if the image of you is blue. So it does not matter where the projector is located, or what it is showing. All that matters is what colour you’re tinting it.
Your life is not a series of events. Your life is a series of experiences. Please re-read that until you can truly comprehend the difference because it’s key to your mental health. You cannot be so focused on decorating your ship that you aren’t paying attention to where you are sailing it. You can have all of the money in the world, and you can have the nicest yacht anyone’s ever seen, but if the Captain of your Consciousness is sailing it somewhere cold and inhospitable, then all of that luxury will become meaningless.
Rich and famous people have the same challenges that everyone else does. No matter where any of us ends up, it’s still a thinker that did the travelling. And from a dinghy to a super-yacht, we all carry the same fuel of neuro-chemicals. We all get through life using the same forces. So use yours wisely. Trust yourself and follow joy wherever you see it. Because that will take you everywhere you need to go.
Happy sailing, driving, filming and colouring. 😉
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.