At times, our words may appear to be imprecise and yet when we look into their deeper meaning, they hold some powerful messages. Consider the expression “Wake up to yourself!”. Usually said with arms flailing and a sigh of exasperation, it implies that until now, you’ve been asleep to yourself, which, at least for some of the time, could well be the case. How we go about remedying this is to pay attention!
An ongoing enquiry for me, this reflects my desire to communicate a little of what I have learnt about respect, and my need to be more productive in day-to-day life. Ultimately, paying attention is about becoming (more) aware! It’s about noticing what’s happening on the outside, as well as what’s going on, on the inside.
The answers to many of our problems – which primarily is what our lives consist of – are already inside us waiting to be felt, seen (as our internal images) or heard. It is our inner sense, which gives us feedback about our whole experience; that can guide us through our day for our highest good and most essential growth. But first, we must learn to tune in to it and distinguish it from the incessant chatter in our heads.
Put simply, this is how I experience it. When I pay attention – i.e. notice what it is I am already noticing through my thoughts, physical sensations and emotions, or through my actions, and the images they conjure up for me – I know if something feels right or not. This helps me to keep it simple and take the appropriate action, which is about being response-able.
When I take right action, I experience being in the flow, life is easy and straightforward. I become more effective in how I use my time and energy. I experience less resistance or drag within myself because I’m not going against the grain of what is right for me or my natural way of being. And, because my mind has less static, I am more attentive.
Being more in tune with whether or not something fits or is a good match for me, I am less likely to accept what is unacceptable from myself or others. This, in itself, is a declaration and enactment of self-respect which goes hand-in-hand with respect for others. Acting consistent with this, rather than being ‘nice’, even when it’s not easy or comfortable, feels right.
So, the secret is… pay attention! Play with it and have fun!
Inner Sense No. 8 | February 2008 – updated June 2019