No doubt if you’re like me, you're great at planning out every detail of work events, meetings, vacations, renovations, community meetings, etc. However, every now and again, even the best plans can fail.
Back in 2013, I decided to take my family on a trip to our favorite Australian destination, Byron Bay. It was a well-deserved treat for our family of four during the school holidays.
For those who've been to Byron Bay, you know it has glorious beaches, rolling green mountains, organic cafes, meditation and yoga centers and an energy that is incredibly blissful and healing.
As you can imagine, we were excited, and full of anticipation and joy for our upcoming vacation. We planned what we would do and see, where we would like to visit, and what to take with us. What we didn't plan for was the cyclone that rolled in on our first day! We hadn’t prepared ourselves for this or the fallen power lines, the flooded rivers, the blackouts and the cancelled flights!
Have you ever had that experience where things just didn't go according to plan?
It may not be as extreme as a cyclone or perhaps it was far more extreme. No matter what plan seemed to fail, the disappointment, and effect can still feel very real for those experiencing the chaos.
Was there a time where your expectations weren't met and the experience you had in mind didn't quite unfold as you had anticipated?
How do you cope with life's randomness? Do you give in to disaster, and do you feel that you get caught up in the chaos?
Are you thrown about emotionally by unexpected events?
Life is like the surface of the ocean: it has crests and troughs. Every day, within each moment, there is the potential for it to be a crest or a trough. Most of us live life in that thin layer of relativity, that surface of the ocean, where our entire experience is based upon the outcomes of the ebb and flow of life's randomness. This is why we are so subjected to the ups and downs, those peaks and troughs, and get thrown about by the constant change and unexpected events that keep popping up.
How do we live in a state of calm and consistency when there is so much chaos and inconsistency in life?
One word: transcendence.
What is transcendence? It's the process of piercing that surface layer of relativity in meditation, and diving beyond the randomness of life. There exists deeper layers of awareness for us to dive into that take us beyond the realm of subject and object relativity.
This place is called Pure Consciousness. This is a field of being awake and aware yet not in the future or the past, the black or the white, the good or the bad. It's a place of stillness, of silence, of non-change. Each day, when you sit in meditation you're connecting to that deeper level of life. It's like a deeper layer of the ocean that’s still as opposed to the surface level that’s constantly changing.
Over time, through regular contact with this deeper layer, it becomes part of our waking state. Whilst one is in amongst all the chaos and randomness of life on the surface, they simultaneously experience a non-changing bliss at a deeper level.
So amid cyclones, fallen power lines, black outs, traffic jams, cancelled vacations, floods and cancelled flights, there is a silent observer that moves through it all with a mild fascination, unperturbed, unflustered and in blissful awareness.
Take me to pure consciousness I hear you say!
Below are 4 ways to start you on a journey towards to pure consciousness;
1. Look for some gratitude amid the chaos.
if it is hard to see right away, search deeper. There is always something to feel thankful for. It might not be immediately obvious when in a disaster or confronted with chaos, but it will be there. Shifting your focus from negative to positive can be what you need to find some peace with the situation you’re in. Be thankful that you and your family are safe, be thankful that you have health and life.
2. Be compassionate
Flight cancellations, traffic jams, disasters, etc can often spark panic, anger, disappointment or frustration. Remember to be kind, especially because often those around you are in the same boat as you. We can scream and shout and influence each other to react as we are, or we can offer our help and support to each other. Small acts of kindness can create a wave of love and compassion. Search for ways to assist those around you who need help or support.
3. Be creative. If your plan has not gone to plan, what can you do instead?
How can you make the best of the situation you're in? Can you look for fun or a creative way to cheer up those around you and end up having good time together? Remember: each day we make new memories. If this moment feels like it might be a hard memory to look back on, think of a way to change it. Make those around you smile and laugh and find some light in this situation.
4. Be still. Often when things become chaotic in life our minds can join the chaos!
We can start thinking of the future, what and how and when and forget the now. Anxiety and panic rise from worry and overthinking about what might happen. What WILL happen is going to happen regardless. Practice returning your attention to the now. Can you sit in meditation and stillness with your family or friends?
Find ways to be present together, accepting that what has happened may not make sense right now, but soon you'll understand why this experience was meant to be had by you and those around you as a life teaching of some kind.
The above tips will start you on your journey to becoming present to life. The state of pure consciousness is calling your name.