The Advantages of Attitude Awareness

121 Relax and Succeed - There is no way to happiness

Everyone’s wondering which way they should go, but in reality it is healthier and more fruitful to be more concerned with how we go than where. Having a good landing or a desired destination does not make a horrible flight in an airplane any better.

Regardless of our destination or schedule, our attitude will follow us wherever we go, and ‘attitude’ is actually a great word for our mindset, because pilots also talk about the attitude of an airplane.

Is the plane pointed upward, toward the sky and opportunity, or is the plane pointed toward the ground and is the horizon shrinking? That’s attitude. It can lead us straight into a huge crash, but it can also even be too positive and we stall. And for periods it can even level off. That is why it requires our attention.

Instead of controls in the cockpit of an airplane, as human beings we control our internal attitudes with our thoughts. We are our own internal pilots.

Any good pilot knows that the landscape and weather surrounding them will impact their flight, but they also accept that being a pilot means we are there to face that exact challenge.

Being born is much the same way; it automatically signs us up for the challenge of us learning to survive or even thrive during our lifetimes, and along the way we achieve some peace by accepting the inevitable fates in our lives. We still have freedom and can act, but no one set of choices allows anyone to live without pain in their lives.

This is where attitude can make all the difference. A plane can fly over a storm. It can also fly low to get under one. It can also smash into a mountainside in an emotional storm that fogs up our view of what to do.

Whether and landscape and weather affecting the plane are warm, and soft and hospitable, or whether our context is jagged, and icy and dangerous, our plane can still fly over, around or –when we must– through it, all with a positive attitude.

121 Relax and Succeed - You can't be both awesome

As long as a plane’s attitude is healthy then the ugliness of the terrain below it is far less relevant. So it is with life. We should be less concerned with what landscapes we are passing by or passing over, and we should be more concerned with maintaining positive control over our attitude. We are not people in weathering storms, we are pilots at the controls.

If we focus all of our attention on looking down at some ugly spot of reality or on some ugly possibility, we will obviously lower our attitude. The more we focus on our problem the more we fly toward it. It’s why in a skid in a car the driver should always look toward where we want to go —not at what we don’t want to hit.

The things we require are our awareness as pilots, and a destination. A destination may not create happiness itself, but having one can help to motivate a journey that moves through happiness. We still want to be inspired.

We obviously cannot fly based on where we don’t want to go. And why not fly based on where we do want to go? As long as we enjoy our journey, we can get there, change directions on the way, or not get there at all and our lives would still be well-lived. The is always the going, the being and the doing, not an arrival.

We also do not need make choosing a direction in any part of life into too big of a deal. Our directions occur to us without us asking for them. Our preferences are like natural individual guidance systems. And ours answers are always only temporary. That is why we shouldn’t question ourselves so much.

When we argue with ourselves we are arguing with nature. We are arguing with who the universe has made us into. By arguing with our route through life, we argue with having the experiences that will turn us into the people we intended to be.

121 Relax and Succeed - Listen to the compass of your heart

We may be given our plane (our history), a landscape (our opportunities) and the weather (the vagaries of life), but as soul pilots no one else sets our flight plan for life. Our upbringing merely teaches us to fly –and often not very well. But where we go is ultimately up to us.

We are a co-creators in the universe. We are an aspect of the big dream. And each of us are here to fulfill our aspects of the universe’s magnificence. We do this by being ourselves, not by being some ‘better self.’

By actively being ourselves we make no more mistakes than sodium and chloride make in creating salt. Sometimes salt makes ice cream, sometimes salt rusts steel. There is no right or wrong way for us to be. The way we go is the way to go.

The way we get there peacefully is by paying less attention to the weather and landscape outside the plane, and more attention on how we as conscious pilots are maintaining our attitudes within our mental cockpit. That’s how Mother Teresa not only survived giving up privilege, it’s also how she thrived working for a lifetime in a slum with lepers.

We can spend our lives avoiding what we don’t want, but if we do so we doom ourselves to never have our own direction, and our life will be spent in fear. Life’s too short for that. We are better to invest our lives in pursuing what enthuses us.

Yes, we all will have to fly over some ugly terrain, in terrible storms, in order to get to all of the experiences we’ll want to have in life. But that is irrelevant if we have a focused, positive, healthy attitude in the pilot’s seat.

Accept that there is no such thing as ready, and there is no such thing as your path or the right thing to do. There is only:  What.  We.  Do.  In doing just that, we represent the little part of the universe that is us. This is how we contribute. This is our value. This is how we enact ourselves. We forever become.

All of our journeys will include times where we will abandon control, or when our flying will be near-suicidal. We all do that. The plane-of-life doesn’t come with instructions. But with a bit of luck —and maybe some help from things like this blog and our friends— we can all ensure that we’re at least being vigilant about our attitudes.

As often as possible we should do our best to remain aware of the choices we’re making regarding the angle of our attitude. Staying conscious of that choice not only represents a wise and more peaceful path through life, but it is also gives us the ability to effectively control our journey through reality.

Flying is in our nature. Relax. Have a great trip!

peace. s

What is Patience?

So what exactly do we mean when we say that someone is patient? There can be two men waiting at an airport, and both wait the same amount of time for the same flight to depart, but one man is considered impatient while the other is patient. What are they doing differently?

57 Relax and Succeed - Patience is not the ability to waitLet’s imagine the check-in desk where they first learn they will be delayed. Nick approaches the desk with an angry look on his face because he’s still thinking about that guy from 20 minutes ago that took the parking stall that Nick thought was his. Because of those thoughts, his brain chemistry has reacted naturally and it’s caused the cells on his face to contort into an angry expression which actually puts the Airline Clerk, Adele, on guard so there’s a slight tentativeness in her voice which Nick finds even more irritating.

Of course the reason that Adele is on guard is because she’s had a lifetime of experience with faces like Nick’s and she knows that expression often means experiencing a lot negativity. And Nick helps maintain that pattern by getting immediately angry, when he quickly attaches her news to his recollection of the two other times in the last three years that he was delayed. Of course, the only reason those delays were agonizing was because Nick did the same thing on those trips that he did on this one: he expected perfection.

So for the next hour, Nick engages fully with his own irritated, angry, victim-based story. It causes him to snap at Adele, even though it’s not her fault and she’s already having a challenging day. Nick can’t tell by looking at her, but Adele’s worried about the fact that tomorrow, her daughter goes into the children’s hospital for her next round of chemotherapy. But Nick thinks today is all about him.

57a Relax and Succeed - It is what it isNick then calls his wife to complain and tells her his agonized story—which is only agonizing because he keeps telling it to himself. He tells her the plane should not be late even though that idea is insanely implausible. He calls a co-worker to tell him how bad this airline always is. He finds another angry passenger impatiently waiting at a coffee shop and for the next hour, they sit and trade horror stories about past flights or seatmates or coffee-shops.

It’s angry, tense and they check the clock every five minutes. By the time Nick does get on the plane, he’s approaching the Flight Attendant with an even angrier look than he approached the Ticket Agent with. And 100% of his mood is blamed on the airline and its staff. At no time does Nick take any responsibility for his own thoughts.

Meanwhile, Simon has gotten to a parking stall at the same time as someone else but he has offered it to them with a wave of his hand. Feeling pleased he could help someone else’s day out, he happily finds another stall and heads into the airport noting the clear blue sky. He realizes he will get a great view out of the plane that day. When he gets inside he also learns the flight is delayed, but he accepts that this is a reasonable experience at airports considering weather and safety and security, so he doesn’t think about that part of it anymore. He doesn’t do like Nick and compare what’s happening to perfection. Instead he takes a look around to see what his consciousness might enjoy, and he chooses to invest his life energy into that.

So Simon notices a book store and he remembers that he just finished a book by an author he really enjoyed and so he wants to see if they have another book. In the store he gets talking to another person who’s holding a book by that author. They two readers end up sitting together talking about their favourite books and before they know it, Adele is paging them for their flight. They end up trading seats so they can sit near each other and by the end of the flight both Simon and the other reader are linked up on facebook.

57 Relax and Succeed - No matter where you runYou are not where your body is. You are where your consciousness is. If you are on sharp, difficult terrain with your mind, you will be off balance and sharp yourself. But if you relax into a fluid, flexible headspace, you will have room to adjust to events as they arise. This is what Bruce Lee meant when he quoted the Tao and said, Be like water.

If you act like Nick and continue to blame bad days on other people or situations, you attract other angry people and you hand away all of your power to affect your life. But if you anticipate an enjoyable day but stay open as to how that plays out, then you can be like Simon who doesn’t expect his plans to come true. He just believes that he can always find something good about a situation—like making friends during a flight delay for instance.

So when they get home to their wives later that day, Nick will go in and help to ruin his wife’s day by telling her all of the bad things that “happened to him.” Because she loves him she will care that he was apparently treated badly and she will be likely to start thinking painful thoughts herself. Meanwhile Simon’s getting home to happily tell his wife that his new friend will be joining them for dinner in a week and she’s excited to meet this person her husband liked so much.

That’s reality. That’s how simply it plays out. You create your day. So stop blaming clerks, and other drivers, and other voters, and other professions (etc. etc.) for your troubles. Because the only trouble anyone ever really has is trouble with their own thinking inside their own heads.

Keep your mental landscape clean. Then you can’t help but enjoy your day.

Happy travels.

peace. s