Our perception and interpretation of the conditions and events in our lives are what drive our reality—even more so than the conditions and the events themselves. That’s why certain people living in what most would call trying conditions appear to thrive, while others who “have everything” are depressed and anxious. There are also people that will fight reality every step of the way. They can’t accept certain events or conditions, so they don’t. Most people live on the very surface of reality, while others are able to delve into their reality and truly understand their place in the universe. If you can do this, you can start to influence and even create your own reality based on your life force and your influence.
What does it mean to be fully present when you’re with people?
When we’re with other people, our minds can wander, as they do during any other activities. But with people, there’s the added dimension of what the other person is thinking. It can be challenging to follow the dynamic of both minds and how they engage. In conversation, for example, some people are naturals, while for others, it can be a struggle. But being an easy conversationalist doesn’t always translate to being aware of and intentional about the dynamic between us and other people. A meaningful encounter with someone doesn’t even have to involve talking. When two people are completely present when they’re together, there’s a whole other level of engagement that can involve conversation, but it also involves body language, empathy, and mood. It can be incredibly meaningful.
Are your inner thoughts calm, supportive, and helpful, or do you have a lot of negative self-talk? Is your inner dialogue a never-ending stream, or are you able to control it?
For many people, errant thoughts pop into their heads when they least want them to or when they’re doing something that requires intense focus. Try as we might to concentrate, our minds wander. The nature of our thoughts is also important. Some people have a stream of positive encouragement or affirmations: “You’ve got this!” “Come on, just one more strong hour!” Others have a never-ending flow of negative self-talk: “Idiot! What are you thinking?!” We need to pay attention to both the amount of inner dialogue we have and its nature.
By free time, I don’t mean time to mow the lawn or a chance to finally clean the garage. I mean time that’s completely yours to do whatever you want—to do what you feel like doing in the moment.
Free time is such a foreign concept to most of us—we generally don’t make time for it and don’t even recognize it when we have it. Fitting in free time—unstructured time—can be extremely rewarding and can help us learn about ourselves and how we fit into our world.
Although technology has resulted in a decrease in the amount of communication that happens in person, it is still a critical aspect of how we interact. When something is important or sensitive, we handle it face to face.
But how many of us are skillful in the art of conversation—not just small talk, but meaningful conversation that transcends the narratives in our head and the need to steer the conversation to our benefit?