How was your awareness throughout the day? Of course you lost track of your focus countless times, we all do. How quickly and how often you recover the Present Moment is a sign of your development.
You want to practice (there’s that verb again) being aware. You want to practice watching yourself. You want to have it become second nature that your ego is not allowed to run your life without your awareness.
You know from your Monday meditation what your dominant emotion is and what happens to you when you experience it. Don’t lament having a Dominant Emotion–you’ll always have one that shapes your personality more than others. Yes, ideally that would be love or compassion, but all of the emotions are valid. They just shouldn’t be experienced in isolation. Too much of any emotion dilutes its value–including too much happiness.
So maybe we want peace, maybe love, maybe compassion, maybe strength. Once you know how to manage your consciousness you realize those are all pretty close together so any will do fine. But if you’re reading this then presumably you rarely visit the positive emotions–maybe you even miss them. It’s not fun living life if on a daily basis you’re spending too much time with the emotions you find difficult.
Sadness, guilt, worry, anxiety, anger–whatever–it doesn’t really matter which one you’re coming from or going to, in the world of consciousness they’re all equal. It’s not that one is harder than the other–what’s tricky is the changing from one to the other. But I say tricky and not hard because all it takes is practice. That’s the value in the Dominant Emotion–if it’s where you are most often then it’s also your most frequent opportunity to practice changing.
The value in this exercise is that we want to work on noticing the physical manifestation of our Dominant Negative Emotion and then let that lead us to realize we’re thinking about the situation in a way that would definitely lead to the reaction we’re having. That immediately takes the blame from other people being responsible for how you feel. Having owned the reaction, we can now start preparing the shift to choosing something better to think about. This is difficult at first, but it gets better with practice and I’ll cover more on the switch later.
So remember: pay attention to that body part. Note when it’s reacting in a way that signals you that you’re experiencing that Dominant Emotion. Check in with your thinking to see where it’s at, then notice the relationship between your thoughts and that feeling. Easy right? All you’re trying to do is re-catch yourself over and over so that you generally think that emotion into existence and then immediately become aware of it. That already makes you a fantastically much more conscious person.
Every time you feel that tight gut or tight forehead or that sick feeling or whatever else, don’t lament. Just check in and look at it. Don’t wish it away–that’s just thinking about it even more. Just recognize it and you will have taken a big step. You’ve got two days to work on this. Leave a note or something to remind you and then just do your best. Just always remember, it’s a practice not an achievement. Each moment is new.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.