Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Year, New Questions

While many people start their New Year with what are invariably ill-fated resolutions, I have found that one of the most powerful ways to start the year is to ask yourself some powerful questions...and then be brutally honest about the answers! Powerful questions can yield powerful questions and whenever you find yourself floundering in life it’s usually because you aren’t asking yourself the right questions...or because you’ve already kidded yourself into believing that you already have all the answers and therefore have no need for questions. Either way, stopping for a moment with an open mind and an open heart and considering the following, might serve as a catalyst for getting your new year off to a positive start. And, as they say - start as you mean to go on.

I’ve also come to realise that the real focus need not be on all the things we want to do, be or achieve in the future. The future has an uncanny way of being ever-elusive...due in large part to the simple fact that it’s an illusion of the mind. The future never comes, all we ever have is the now! So, why not choose to be happy right here, right NOW? Being happy NOW makes it far more likely that you will continue to be happy and when we’re happy it’s amazing how life has a remarkable way of unfolding just perfectly independently of our frenzied efforts to mould and manipulate it into what the mind deems it ‘should’ be.

The desire for happiness is never wrong...but our tendency to seek it outside of ourselves in other people, circumstances and events is most certainly wrong and is the cause of so much suffering in the world. I truly believe that happiness is not something we acquire; but is actually our natural state. All we have to do is clear the obstructions that prevent us from seeing that. Such obstructions might include our pathological dissatisfaction with what we already have and our compulsion to seek more, more, MORE, our own habitually negative thoughts and beliefs and self-image and our tendency to dwell almost exclusively in past and future, paying only brief visits to the present moment. These obstructions can be cleared, first by becoming aware of them and recognising them and then consciously deciding to move beyond them and make different choices.

These questions might help you do that. They have certainly helped me.

What is your theme for 2010? Is it personal healing, creative expression, spiritual awakening, finding new work, improving relationships, writing a book or serving others? Being clear on your focus for the year can help keep you on track. You don’t need to be rigid about it...approach it with fun and lightness. Think of the ways you can express your intent and LIVE your chosen focus. Don’t choose things you think you ‘should’ be doing...this has to come from a place of aliveness and passion within. You need to find that spark of inner joy because that, and only that, will give you the fuel to rise beyond any existing limitations and truly reach for the stars.

What tends to hold you back in life? How, specifically, can you overcome these perceived obstacles/limitations? There is always a way, if not to remove the obstacle, then to navigate around it.

Is there a gulf between what you truly are and what you are choosing to be in your daily life? If so, how can you bridge that gap and be more authentic?

What are your motivations, both surface and hidden?

How can you LOVE more, and express that love more readily?

In what ways are you still focussed on getting, acquiring and achieving and in what ways can you shift into a mode where you live to GIVE?

What blind-spots and unconscious patterns have been holding you back? What areas within you are crying out to be brought into the light of consciousness and healed?

In what ways do you waste your time, when you could be doing (or simply being) something more important of benefit to self and others?

Are you spending too much time hooked up to technology, internet, games consoles, television and mobile phones?

Do you have any addictions or compulsive behavioural patterns that need addressing?

Who or what do you need to make peace with?

Who or what do you really need to let go of?

What ways do you get caught in the illusions of past and future and lose the present moment? How can you be more alive and present in the NOW?

Are you readily able (and willing) to step into your natural state of peace, expansiveness and stillness? Do you allow yourself frequent immersion in this natural state that is free of compulsive thinking and compulsive doing?

Are you doing what you love? If not, how might you do more of what you love (bearing in mind that the energy of love and enthusiasm is of tremendous importance to healing the world)?

What are your deepest aspirations and noblest intentions for 2010?

Can you be at peace right NOW, in this moment, accepting all with love...simply because what is, IS and resistance to this brings suffering?

I hope these questions are of some help and inspiration. The answers may not always be what you’d like and this is not an exercise in beating yourself up, simply in being honest with yourself, accepting what is and knowing that you can move on from there if you so choose.

Happy 2010 - hope you have a great year!

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