We requested Andy Hix to share some key thoughts from a wonderful and highly interactive session hosted by Nigel Linacre for Consciouslab in Feburary.
Who are you, usually? Who were you when you were 18 and who are you when you’re at your best? These are some of the questions chewed over with Nigel Linacre, at the last Consciouslab event. They were big questions, and ones that I realised I could do with asking myself more often.
It was a wonderfully participatory format. Nigel posed the question and we answered them in pairs for a few minutes, before switching to a different pair. It made for a many-pointed exploration. I told my first partner than when I was eighteen I was more sure of what I wasn’t that what I was. I wasn’t popular, religious, dedicated to my studies or sure of what I wanted in life. I exchanged stories with someone about being bullied. He said it ended when he managed to withstand being caned without crying!
The question “who are you?”, was pretty deep. At another workshop I went to, the group was asked to introduce themselves by saying who they were. Most people answered by saying what they did for a living. I simply said “I’m still trying to work that out.”
At first glance it seems like only people who’ve had a bump on the head should struggle to be able to say who they are. But it’s a question that goes straight to the heart of why you think you are here, on this earth. Why do you do the things you do? Largely, it follows from how you define yourself.
I’ve got a much clearer idea of that now than when I was eighteen, which I think goes along way to explaining why I’m so much happier.
I define myself as a perfect soul encased in an imperfect body. I believe that if I (and this goes for everyone else too) was being who I truly am I would be constantly loving, giving, content, perfectly tuned into the world around me, my heart would be the master and the mind it’s faithful servant, and my life would be totally dedicated to serving others. I believe my purpose in life is to be more who I really am and to help others do the same.
I have glimpses of all those things, but so many distractions get in the way! Chasing money, popularity, wanting to feel needed, important, respected, wanting to be special and to leave a stamp on the world, feeling like if I don’t put myself first then I’ll be taken advantage of.
I’m someone who knows on one level that I am happiest when I’m selflessly serving those around me but that more often than not I’m led astray my selfish desires, insecurities and doubt.
I did ask other people who they thought they were but my egotistical mind has done rather a better job of remembering what I said than what they did!
The question “who are you when you’re at you best” was another cracker. Although everyone’s angle on it was different, there was a notable level of agreement on what it looks like: being in flow, loving, focusing on giving out rather than taking, being happy and carefree, feeling that life is abundant and that no problem is much of a big deal.
Despite the clarity over what it looked like, there was rather less about how to get there and how to maintain it. I and one partner both agreed that meditation helped us achieve it more regularly. Her with transcendental meditation, me with mindfulness. Nigel encouraged us to imagine that it’s possible to be there most, if not all the time. An inspiring thought.
In another conversation I said that what took me out of my flow was focusing on money, and the less money I had the more I focused my attention it. I was fortunate to receive some sage advice from my partner in response. He said that in his life he’s found that if you follow your purpose, money will come swiftly behind. If you make money the goal, it seems to make it harder to attain.
What I took away from the event is that if we were all at our best all the time, we’d probably have all the world’s problems solved and live very contented lives. The challenge is to notice the things that help us to be at our best and do more of them and when we’re not, remember how to get back there. If we all do a bit more of that, world peace would surely not be far behind!
About the Author:
Andy Hix is a mindfulness teacher who’s company, Zen@Work specializes in using mindfulness to help reduce stress and improve focus in the workplace. You can read more from him on his blog.
Read a Post by Nigel Linacre : here