Suddenly I am aware of myself. I am aware that I am exactly where I want to be. Everything that I see around me, everything that I hear, everything that I feel inside is exactly what I want in this moment. Perhaps this is a fleeting moment and very soon my mind will grab on to another desire, another thought of incompleteness. But for now, I am overwhelmed with the simplicity of this state and the anticlimactic nature of it.
I had been imagining my life a certain way for so long and to realize that it is actually the way I want it right now is overwhelming. How did I get here? It seems it happened despite my kicking, screaming, blaming, complaining. But I guess, as with all experiments, there are many "failed attempts." So far I have tested and lived through several of those, and every time I learned something about what does work, what brings fulfillment, and joy, what enhances my experience of life, what helps me thrive, what promotes growth, what supports well-being. As I look back and reflect, I find my inner teacher reminding me of 5 practices that have proved to work no matter what:
- Luxuriate in fantasy as much as possible. Look for things to fantasize about, which is different from the things that are "good for you." I am talking about sexy things that make you excited from the inside. In order for it to be a fantasy, you must derive deep pleasure from thinking it, otherwise it's not a fantasy. It is an addictive, guilty type of pleasure, the kind you might get from eating a pint of chocolate ice cream (in secret) or reading 50 Shades of Gray (admit it, you enjoyed it!). The fantasy, the dream of your life, is the one that spontaneously gives you pleasure when you wake up, when you do your laundry, when you are on a long bus ride.
- Accept feelings of fear/shame/guilt/embarrassment/clumsiness/awkwardness as part of the process. As you allow yourself to face your desires, you also encounter long standing beliefs and emotional structures that have held these desires at bay. Many of these mental and emotional structures had been useful before, so they are not necessarily bad. They are just not the right format for the new paradigm. In my experience, these "negative" feelings are windows, they always lead somewhere. The trick is not to attach your identity to these emotions as you confront them. When you remain an observer, with as little reaction as possible, even the most difficult emotions will transport you to a different, surprising, more harmonious place.
- Be aware of your paradigm and choose it wisely. Establish a frame of reference that is most conducive to what you desire. This is intimately connected to #1 because if your paradigm doesn't feel good to you, it won't work. How do you perceive life? What are your values? If you want to become the best at art/music/dance/writing/etc. but you simultaneously believe that the world around you is limited, that nobody understands you, that nobody invests in those things, that our cultures is too shallow, then your paradigm works against your vision. To me, mind energy is a precious commodity and must be spent responsibly. Seek a harmony of thoughts! Test each paradigm and when/if it stops working for you, let it go, adapt, experiment with another perspective. A paradigm that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with came to me on my birthday in June. I imagined myself as a character in the Matrix movie but instead of it being a story of oppression, it is a story of empowerment. So I decided to imagine that someone "uploaded" me into this fabulously complex environment to experience the beauty and fulfillment of being in a body. And as I was being uploaded, I was given two pieces of advice, "Life is play and there are only two rules. 1. Always remember that everything is in your favor. 2. Remain in a state of wonder no matter what." This has been my personal mantra for the past 6 months and it works!
- Learn to enjoy EVERYTHING. This is the most difficult and the most empowering practice. If you can genuinely find enjoyment in everything, you are truly free. There are people who will be mesmerized by that, and it will enrage others. "How dare you enjoy yourself while I am miserable!?" I have encountered that attitude quite a bit. And really, I find myself saying, "I can't help it!" Enjoying doesn't mean having fun necessarily. It is the ability to tune into what the moment is offering, to be able to glean something meaningful, to be able to smile or maybe even cry at the profound insight of what is occurring. Insight and inspiration are always available and the more flexible we are in our thoughts, the more we are willing to stretch/trust/listen, the more will be revealed.
- Pass it on. Somewhere on a billboard in Portland, OR it says "Happiness is contagious. Pass it on." It is true. The best flight I have ever been on was a short local flight in Turkey where for two hours they played funny animal videos from YouTube. Now I love animal videos and will spend 20 minutes watching a 20 second clip of a panda bear sneezing. But what I loved about that flight was that everyone on the plane could not help but enjoy it! Everyone was laughing, it was inevitable. When you invest yourself in your fantasy, and find harmony in your mind, find deep acceptance of yourself, and experience spontaneous joy of the present moment, it is your duty to share with with others. No need for fake smile or pretending, just show your pleasure. One of my most favorite activites recently has been sitting at milongas (tango social dances) and listening to the music. I can't help but sit back and smile, sometimes I close my eyes and sway with the music, sometimes I even exclaim something. It does not occur to me to be upset about not being asked to dance because it is so damn enjoyable just to listen to the music! And when I see other people really enjoying themselves, dancers who dance with their faces, smiling at the music, musicians shaking with excitement at something only they can hear, a friend dying over a piece of flan, that is contagious! So show your pleasure to others, talk about what excites you, what your desires are, what you love in this moment. As you pass on the joy that you feel within yourself, other people reflect it back at you and you are nourished and encouraged to continue evolving.
There are, of course, countless insights about manifestation, many schools of thought about how to achieve happiness/health/enlightenment/etc. What I am expressing here is my own experience up to this moment. This might change, as I evolve and life flows, but the common denominator seems to always be the same. The path of least resistance is always based on awareness, appreciation, gratitude, joy, and love.