Vhairi Slaven, Drive-Thru Success
24th April 2019
“In every single moment you have the opportunity to choose to act in a different way, to think differently. It really doesn’t matter what happened before except in the sense that it affects your actions and reactions in that moment.“
One of the things that can make us feel most stuck in life is thinking that things are fixed. That we are a certain way, have a certain personality, that our life is a certain way and that it can’t change. In yoga, we believe this is your ego-mind and that there is a self that is able to see that it is not your true nature.
When I talked before about acceptance and accepting yourself, it doesn’t mean accepting a personality trait as being unchangeable – everything is changeable – everything is constantly changing.
Pride is something you feel with behavioural characteristics you display when you are feeling it, the same with anger, depression, anxiety. We tend to say, “I am angry. I am depressed. I am anxious.” But you are not any of these things. At a particular moment in time, you feel those things. Yet like every other feeling or experience, these things will also pass away and then come back – just like joy, excitement, satisfaction.
One of the most useful things to learn is that everything is popping in and out. Everything is popping up and then dying away, popping up and dying away. When you really accept this, it is not frightening at all. It is just the way the Universe exists. And really understanding that is most definitely liberating – because the chance for replacing the old way with something new is in every single moment.
In every single moment you have the opportunity to choose to act in a different way, to think differently. It really doesn’t matter what happened before except in the sense that it affects your actions and reactions in that moment.
In nearly everything I have read about how to find peace in life, they talk about this pause. In sitting meditation, the moment you come back from the thought, that is the moment when you get to choose what to do next. In life, this moment, this pause, is where you have the space to consider your actions or reactions and where you have the chance to really be different.
You can react as you always have and see the same patterns play out in your life in the same ways they always have, or you can choose to do something new, to use this moment (which can be challenging, emotional and difficult) to make a different decision. In those moments, in that space where you decide how to be, you are renewing your whole life. It is all of those multitudes of little moments where you create your experience of life and in each of those moments is that opportunity to create an experience of life that is richer, fuller and more peaceful.
How do you do this in practice? First of all learn to be still enough to feel the pause. Do that by meditating. Then notice your reactions slowing down – and they will enough for you to have a moment to choose what to say. Maybe your partner or your sibling or parent says something that always triggers you, the tendency is that you have a shared behavioural pattern that means you will react in a certain way, a conversation or even an argument will ensue that results in you and the other person feeling hurt, lonely and afraid of something (for example being rejected or not being loveable or loving) or perhaps feeling angry, resentful and wronged.
If you have the space to notice what’s happening, acknowledge the history (either your own or the other person’s) react calmly and with compassion. Sometimes that means deciding not to speak now, but to go away and think about it and then go back and address what the person is really upset about – it’s rarely what they are talking about.
In Drive-Thru Success, Jenny talks about the pause and the importance of it. It literally renews your whole experience of life, one moment at a time.
It’s not only something that you use when dealing with difficult circumstances, but when opportunities come up – it can be the difference between saying yes or no, taking a risk and seeing the opportunity or staying in your comfort zone.
You have an unfathomable number of moments throughout the rest of your life to learn to master that pause, and to use it to make decisions about the kind of person you want to show up as right now.