How can we be fully present in the storm and yet be centred as the eye of that storm? Is that kind of holistic awareness even possible in everyday life, or is it only limited to flow state actions?
There is a way of knowing when to ‘accept what is’ and when to go for something different, but to learn this skill is paradoxically the hardest and yet easiest of all skills to learn.
Sure, if there’s a fire or a flood, we act instinctually and do what needs to be done. Extreme circumstances make unexpected heroes of ordinary people and a mockery of the laws of physics. Mothers have been known to lift cars off their children trapped underneath. Groups of entranced people chanting “cool moss, cool moss, cool moss..” have walked across 1,000°C hot coals. There is a saying; ‘let go and let God’, but whatever that means to you, how can we apply this in everyday life, beyond the edge-territory of extreme circumstances? How may we know what to react to, when to allow, what to work on, and when to surrender control to something greater than our individual self?
As we know, the only constant in life is change. Existence and experience are an ever-unfurling and evolving event; an ever-flowing and changing river of life. You could say the Big Bang of creation is occurring right now, and now, and now… All is moving, in constant flux, and with infinite complexity beyond that which we can grasp or understand with an ordinary human mind.
Can we really live every day with ‘connectedness’, ‘in the zone’and in a flow state? Well, yes and no. No if you expect to keep doing exactly what you are doing now but make no changes. Yes, if you’re prepared to open to change, whatever that may be.
So let’s get practical! How can we do this? How do we access the zone in which we know what to do and when to act?
Five tips to get into the zone
Lie on your back and look at the clouds. Focus intensely and pretend that you can make them evaporate. Start with small clouds in a blue sky, and slowly build to larger ones.
Sit comfortably. Take in the scene in front of you, noticing all the stuff in it. Expand your awareness so that you shift it from the stuff to the space between all the stuff.
Sit somewhere busy. Meditate with your eyes open and see whether you can let it wash over you. Explore being still, finding peace amidst the noise and haste. Practise dialling into that peace in your everyday life.
Go into nature and take in all the sounds. Let yourself be a kind of antenna that notices sounds that are increasingly subtler or further away. Become more and more attuned. Now do the same with sensations in your body; feeling ever subtler ones.
Sit opposite a friend and the first person tells the other about their life for 10 minutes straight, while the other person listens fully and does not reply or engage in mental dialogue. Mirror each other’s body position and posture. Notice the power of deep listening and the profound presence this evokes.
Six herbs and supplements to assist expanded awareness and joyfulness
(This information is offered peer to peer and is not professional advice. Always do your own research and see a naturopath or doctor if in doubt.)
Blue lotus a.k.a Blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea)
Although used today to make teas, perfume and even cocktails, this plant has been revered as a holy sacrament in ancient Egypt, and was featured in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. The plant has mild psycho-active properties, countering anxiety through parasympathetic action; naturally inducing relaxation and balanced mind.
Golden root a.k.a. Rose root (Rhodiola)
Purported to be a powerful adaptogen, it has been shown to be helpful to those who cope with anxiety, depression, stress, and/or memory-loss; increasing mental capacity, memory recall, and mental stability. A bonus is the physical boost; supporting stamina, strength, mobility AND weight loss.
Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida)
A powerful psychoactive species of marigold; used ritually by the Aztecs, and still used in Mexico, India and the Himalayas. Besides aiding digestion in cooking, it is also used to calm anxiety and stress, while boosting cognitive function.
Black oil plant a.k.a. Intellect tree (Celastrus paniculatus)
Used in Ayurveda, the seeds and oil have sedative and antidepressant effects, sharpen memory, and are used as a brain tonic and memory booster.
Wild asparagus root a.k.a. Shatavari or Divine spirit herb (Tian men dong)
This is possibly one of the world’s most formidable adaptogens. It has been revered as a treasure, facilitating spiritual awakening in the Orient for millennia. Besides potentially helping you with stress, depression and anxiety, it is also a wonderful herb to support ‘lucid dreaming’(‘waking up’in your dreams and directing them).
Xhosa dream root (Silene capensis)
Used as a pharmaceutical extract (Galantamine hydrobromide)to treat dementia and/or Alzheimer’s –due to its ability to balance neurotransmission–and as a sacred plant by South African Xhosa diviners, who use it for their prophetic dream states.
Beyond the zone –being light
In my experience, when we invite the light of consciousness into our life, we increasingly enjoy a neutral state of equanimity. This state surrenders much of the usual ‘critical’ and linear aspects of day-to-day ‘rational thinking’, in preference for creative, intuitive, expansive, flexible and fluid thought processes.
Action vs surrendered action
We’ve been taught to ‘make stuff happen’, haven’t we? Have a vision, set a goal, plan it out, put it into action. It’s simple rational logic, in alignment with centuries of scientific theory. However, the awakened being does not force the world. It flows with ‘what is’ just as a whirlpool does, when it has recognised its inseparability with the river. According to the esoteric teaching of all major religions and spiritual paths, we will all eventually realise the futility of resisting our larger self and source.
The awakened soul enjoys a peaceful loving state of being, flowing with whatever arises and not engaging in dramas. If and when life requires emergency action, the master does not argue with what is, but recognises the need for action, moves with decisive efficiency, and is able to act while enjoying stillness as the eye of the storm.
So when we ask ourselves when it is appropriate to act in the world, and when to surrender to what is, perhaps the ready-made answer we are looking for cannot be found in books or in the rational mind. Maybe we have to ask a better question.
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