What are You Controlling?
Often times people struggle with things that are outside of their ultimate control, but more often than not, we fail to realize this. This is a product of the human condition and what we have conditioned ourselves to do as a protective measure from disappointment or failure or rejection. Have you ever just felt that your life was running away from you despite your best efforts to hold on? This is the thing that I work on with my clients the most. My goal is to get them to recognize that the one thing that they do have total control over is their thoughts.
This is a revelation within itself. Once this is understood, there are many things that we become aware of and our reactions to events change once we learn to create space between the stimulus and the response. Why is this the goal? Once we understand this, how can we use this to our advantage?
The how to…is where the struggle begins and where all the real progress happens. I am still there, even as a therapist and so are you. Let’s begin with the beginner’s mind. No matter your age, it is important to look at situations with fresh eyes and childlike curiosity. The only way to make this happen is to sit with the situation for a moment – without the desire to solve the situation but with the intention of understanding alone. In the practice of vipassana, we try to stay in the present moment. Everyone knows what the present means: now. But what, precisely, is a moment? And when does the present moment become the past? How long is the moment? Researchers and psychologists have determined that it is only 3 seconds! In vipassana the word moment has two senses: the first is what we might call the practice-moment. Practice refers to meditation practice. The second is the moment of consciousness itself.
Let’s talk about practice-moment first. In vipassana, a moment contains only one object of perception – one movement, sight, sound and so forth. It cannot contain both a sight and a sound; that would be two moments. The length of the practice moment is determined by the object. A single practice-moment is about one to three seconds long. It means the length of time that a single object lasts as perceived by you, the observer. Or we could say it’s the length of time that you focus on an object before letting it go and moving on to the next one. It can vary somewhat, being longer or shorter depending on the form we’re observing.
As soon as we complete the step, that moment is over. It is now the past. If we are still thinking about it, that means we have let the mind stray away from the present. What is the present? It begins when the next object that arises that catches our attention. Let’s put this into action! Are you capable to bring awareness for 5-7 moments throughout your day? The benefits will vary from individual to individual, but one thing is for sure, you will begin to notice your awareness increase when these situations arise.