There are only two perspectives from which we can live our lives. That’s the proverbial “where are you coming from”. You are either reflecting fear or reflecting love. Hate, anxiety, worry, anger, resentment, guilt, competition, worthlessness and every other negative feeling in our lives come from fear. Everything good comes from love.
Yes, it is that simple.
So why do we make the choices we make? Why doesn’t everyone live their lives from a perspective of love? I believe that we’ve been programmed to react with fear and doubt about ourselves. Our reactions to life have become automatic. We, as humans have a very unique ability. We can relive a traumatic event in our lives over and over again. We can make a mistake, or have something bad happen to us one time and pay the price forever. We will relive the emotional reaction we had in the past over and over again, as if what happened many years ago is happening right now. I call that the “emotional switch”. Just as we don’t think of breathing, and it just happens, so this switch goes off and our emotional reaction from some negative past experience flows into our body, and we relive it. My wife might say or do something that reminds me of some negativity from a past relationship and I feel the unhappiness, or fear, or anger that I felt in the past. Of course what is happening in this moment is not what happened in the past, but it set off an emotional switch and my reaction is from the past even though it feels real in this moment. It’s so automatic and so subtle that I will suffer today because of something that happened in the past and never even be aware of the connection between past and present. Unfortunately the feeling might not be subtle, but just as intense as it was in the past.
This happens almost every time we feel a negative emotion.
We as humans are living in the past or living in the future but always living in fear.
“If you are depressed, you are in living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”- Lao Tzu
It would certainly be “better” for us if we lived from the perspective of love instead of fear. Instead of worrying about the past or the future we can just live in the moment. Almost universally the moment of now is always good. The now moment is nothing more than “it just is.” Shit we worry about didn’t happen yet, and might not happen. Stuff from the past that bothers us is way behind us.
The love I am talking about is just feeling a positive connection with everything and a positive reaction to things happening around you. If someone is acting badly towards you try to understand it is not you that deserves this action, but just something in their life. Don Miguel Ruiz, in the Four Agreements, says that we all live in our own dream. Our realities are all different. That’s why we should not take anything personally. (One of the Four Agreements) Let people play out their own actions and not allow their actions and feelings to become our own. The emotional switch will go off. It always does and we might strike back, act out, feel badly, or act from fear, but if we realize where they are coming from is not where we are coming from we can react from the perspective of love, and not fear. We can let them be and not internalize whatever it is that they are going through. We can feel compassion for them. That is love. That is beauty. That is our choice, and it is a reflection of our perspective of love and not fear.
For me, understanding this is what awareness is all about. We live automatic lives. Things mostly happen automatically. We eat without thinking, react without thinking, feel emotions without thinking, and suffer without thinking. The drive towards being aware in my life is very powerful. The concept is so simplistic and yet the benefits to me on a moment to moment basis have been amazing. I am happier, calmer, more understanding and more loving. It was a gift given to me, and as difficult as it might be it’s a gift I would like to pass on.