"You always have the chance to write a new chapter. You are the author of your own story."
- Elise Museles
Many of the students and clients that I've worked with, tell variations on the same story. They feel trapped in a chapter of their life they no longer wish to live. Whether it is a relationship that has grown stale, a profession that no longer inspires them, or just that they are locked into habitual thoughts, feelings and behaviours that they now wish to step free of.
They feel hemmed-in and bound by peoples expectations, circumstances, or their own habits, and they want to unlock the prison door and breath the clear, refreshing air of freedom.
Some of these people have already tried to gain that freedom, but they often find themselves reverting to habitual ways. They may leave a relationship only to find themselves hooking up with a carbon copy of the partner they left behind. They may leave a job and find the management at their new office treats them the same way as before.
There is a simple reason for this. Wherever you go, whoever you are with, whatever circumstance you find yourself in there is one common feature that you cant leave behind. That is you. Wherever you go, you arrive at exactly that same time as you get there!
In the upanishads we are told, the senses lag, but self runs ahead. No matter how fast you run or how hard you work, you are always there to meet you when you arrive. In a sometimes subtle, unseen and often unconscious way, we create the circumstances of our life anew. We may change jobs because people don't show us the respect or recognition we believe is our due. However, if we carry the seeds of that resentment with us, and in the new job we are on the look out for slights, and disparaging glances, and covert whispers, then we may see them when they aren't there, or we may generate in others the very attitude we are trying to escape.
This may all sound a bit gloomy. It may sound like it contradicts the quotation from Elise Museles at the head of this blog you always have the chance to write a new chapter. You are the author of your own story. If we carry our prison with us wherever we go, how can we ever step free?
It is a good question, and the answer is simple, but not necessarily easy. To step free of limitations, to attain freedom, to write a new chapter and become the author of our own story, we have to start with ourselves. We have to look within. We need to look honestly into our own mind and heart and begin to make the changes that will mean that wherever we go we carry our freedom with us, rather than our prison.
There is a story that can help.
Two students asked their teacher to explain the nature of suffering and how to respond to suffering in ones life. The teacher thought for a while and then said: i think you should put this question to a wise man in their village. The students thought they understood the advice because this wise man was well known to have suffered cruelly throughout his long life. When they asked the villages wise man the nature of suffering and how to bear it, he also thought for a moment, and then he smiled brightly and said: I'm very sorry, but i cant answer this question. I have never experienced suffering.
The story tells us that this wise man, despite his apparent suffering, was unaffected because wherever he went he carried with him a self that was free and unburdened.
Let's accept that at least some work we do on ourselves, on our attitude to life and its challenges, will help us navigate our circumstances and, ultimately, to begin to be the author of our own stories. Here are seven tips that can get us started on the way to freedom:
1. Learning The Lesson
a. Whatever happens to us in life, both good and bad, ask the question:
what can i learn from this, what lesson was this event sent to teach me.
2. Act On The Lesson
Whatever answer appears to that question, follow it.
a. Perhaps you were stuck in traffic and missed an appointment, and the lesson was to cultivate patience. So put some effort into cultivating patience.
a. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
No matter what happens to you in life say either out loud or silently in your mind: thank you.
b. Even when it seems crazy to be grateful, say the words anyway. Then find out why you should be grateful. Allow yourself to be surprised!
4. Give What You Lack
a. This sounds impossible. How can you give something you don't have?
i. An example may help: take the situation where you might have been disrespected or overlooked at work.
ii. Ask yourself what you are missing out on perhaps love, friendship, respect
start a conscious campaign of giving that thing.
iii. Be friendly to people who come your way; show respect to your partner, your colleagues, your family; be attentive and open.
iv. Once you've made the decision to give what you feel you lack, opportunities will flood in!
a. Formulate a clear, purposeful resolution to overcome some of your limitations.
This is a very powerful way of getting control of your life.
i. E. G. If you're self-conscious, make a clear resolution to be confident;
ii. If you get angry and hot tempered, resolve to control your initial reactions and guard your tongue.
iii. The more detailed and practical the resolution the better.
iv. One extra tip here: don't let lapses and failures be an excuse to stop. Rather use them as encouragement to redouble your efforts.
6. Help Others
a. Without going out on a mission to save the world,
b. Just be open to help others that might need a kind word, some encouragement, or just a sympathetic ear.
a. Don't stop.
b. When these efforts of yours begin to bear fruit, don't relax!
c. These seven tips will work, but mark twain said: habits are habits, and are not to be flung out the window, but have to be coaxed downstairs, one step at a time.
Your habits of (inner) prison building may be lurking - waiting for their opportunity to grab the pen with which you write the next chapter of your life.
d. So, stay vigilant, grateful, and resolute.
Because you've read this far, I've got a special bonus tip, just for you. It has to do with gratitude.
Gratitude For Yourself
Turn your attention to yourself and consciously express in clear simple words your gratitude for all the many gifts with which you have been blessed.
Start with life itself, as you take your next breath of the air that is freely provided.
Be grateful for the earth that supports your next footstep.
Assuming you have a reasonable level of vigour and health and mental faculties, put these on your list of things to be grateful for.
Don't take these and your many other faculties and talents for granted.
Then you can be grateful for friends, family, a job, your education, your country, anything with which you have been blessed.
And heres another bonus tip:
Gratitude For Challenges
Think of your failings and weaknesses and shortcomings and express your gratitude for them as well. Sounds odd? After all aren't you trying to get rid of these? To be less angry, jealous, fearful, selfish? Yes, of course, but that is the point. Without these shortcomings you wouldn't have anything to work against. It is this work that lights a fire in your heart and kindles the passion to achieve real freedom. My teacher used to call this the battle between yes and no. He said it was crucial to real emotional, mental and spiritual growth and evolution.
So, express your gratitude for the many talents and gifts that you have been blessed with, and also show gratitude for those aspects of your personality that give you something to work against.
Thats probably enough for you to be getting on with. As always you can go to my website damayanti.store and browse through the collections of jewellery etched with sacred sanskrit mantras. These act as powerful energetic reminders, bringing you back to the memory of your inner strength, resilience and patience.
All the very best.
You can learn more about our Spiritual Jewelry For Your Soul On the Damayanti.store blog or follow the links below.