From the earliest cave paintings to the modern-day 3D movie and virtual reality programs, the ability to tell a story has been an integral part of the human experience. It allows us to share our perspectives and to gain a sense of who we are, who we have been, and who we would like to be. And, our stories can also be a source of limitation. When the stories of our past or the unwritten fear-based stories of the future consume our minds, we miss the present moment and the power to create the story of our dreams with our thoughts, words and actions. Returning our attention to the now moment we find the page before us is blank and awaits our intentional, awakened re-write.
This past Sunday I shared some tools for breaking away from those undesirable stories and returning to the present moment. The first involves simply the breath. When I find myself in an all-enveloping story from the past or a worrisome future story, I hear a voice within me reminding me to “take a breath.” Remembering to breathe is more than a physiological activity. We are continually immersed in the very Essence of Life and by taking a breath we inhale not only nourishment for our bodies, we open ourselves to the inflow of this Divine Essence. The breath of Spirit nourishes our minds, our hearts and our energetic bodies just as a breath of oxygen nourishes the blood and cells of the physical body.
Another useful tool for returning to center is Heart-Brain Coherence, a HeartMath™ practice. In this practice we take a breath and then purposefully focus our attention on the feeling of joy. This can be achieved by recalling something that brings you great joy and then focusing not on the object or event, but on the feeling that is activated by it. Continuing to breathe and focus on the feeling of joy brings the heart and brain into a coherent energetic pattern that encourages present moment awareness.
Affirmative prayer is a most powerful spiritual tool for gaining present moment awareness. Affirmative prayer claims the desired outcome as already done. Instead of pleading or asking for what is wanted, we affirm that it is done, right now. This is the way that Jesus prayed. He is often quoted as giving thanks for what had not yet occurred in the physical realm but He was assured was done in Spirit. If the prayer is for peace, an affirmative prayer would claim; “I give thanks that I AM peaceful, calm and serene,” or, “Centered in the Peace of God, I AM peace,” or “God is Peace and so am I.
I also find the tools shared by Byron Katie in her book “Loving What Is,” especially helpful in re-writing the stories of the past and in taming any encroaching future sagas. In her book Byron suggests these four steps which can be applied to anything that disturbs your sense of peace, well-being, or present moment awareness.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you be absolutely certain that it is true?
3. How would you be without the thought
4. How could you turn it around? (In other words, how could an opposite or transcendent thought be a plot for a new, intentional and empowering story?)
Story is a powerful tool for shaping and creating the awakened life we wish to live. Creating our stories from a blank page centered in the present moment is an empowering and transformational experience. What’s your story? What will you create today, in this very moment?
© 2018. Rev. Eileen DeRosia Patra