Everything’s fresh. We’re travelling West, into the sunrise. To our left, a stunning vista that goes on to the horizon. To our right, ‘the ditch.’ We have the Left Hand of Awareness on at ten o’clock, and the Right Hand of Reason at two.
To be in a State of Appreciation is to be happily on our way, safely, and with style as we speed along our lane, on our way to our desire of the day. But if our egos get talking, they compare everything to perfection. With those standards even the excellent fail. The world simply doesn’t work that way.
To be in a State of Want is to lose our focus on the present moment, our goals, and to refocus that intention on our thoughts. That’s when when words start to pollute our focus by putting a layer of them between us and reality.
As our attention shifts to the words we create in our heads, our Left Hand of Awareness weakens and our right hand overpowers it, turning us toward the ditch.
If we’re still largely aware, then as soon as we hit the irritation of the rumble strips, our job is to focus and to get back into our lane. We’re not avoiding the ditch, we’re going somewhere.
The ditch is where we don’t plan to go. Yet everyone spends time there despite that wish, because too often our response to trouble is to increase our fear, which just drives us further into the ditch.
Before we know it, we can bounce right past those rumble strips all the way back down to extreme sadness if we don’t refocus our awareness so that we pull back into our lane and get back on our way. Rather than noticing our thinking, we’ll just say, “I’m angry,” forgetting that our anger is born within ourselves by some unmet expectation.
Appreciation is a type of focus. It is a focus on value. Want is the absence of value and it misdirects our lives. Those mis-directions are ultimately a part of our journey, but that doesn’t mean we can’t grow wiser.
We can learn to better-utilize our consciousness to build a worthwhile life that features less suffering and more rewards.
Like going to the gym for physical strength or yoga for balance, we must find ways to regularly exercise our consciousness, and to expand our understanding to ensure we maintain control of it. There may be no better way to refocus our lives. It is the reason this blog is here every week.
Without some form of focused practice, and without some regular attention on our psycho-spiritual development, we can soon find ourselves wandering back into the ditch, even though we have worthwhile goals to pursue.
Everyone does that, so we shouldn’t panic. But there is no question, the best lives spend the most time going somewhere, and the least time stuck in the ditch. Which person we are is entirely up to us.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.