Consciousness is our capacity to observe ourselves, our thoughts and feelings. It is not easy to step out of our minds, to take the distance to look at its messages with curiosity. We usually take all thoughts and feelings generated in our heads and bodies for the truth.
And yet they are not. We generate thoughts and feelings based on millions of experiences stored in our brains as guidelines to deal with daily life. But their messages tend to repeat and to keep us in the same loop of behaviors. And that is not always the most beneficial solution for us and our environment.
Last week I was at a retreat in a beautiful castle venue with a pond that we could swim in (or better ‘dip in’ given its temperature). I used the opportunity to observe my reactions to the icy water. First I felt my feet getting very cold. Then I felt my breath accelerating. I immediately got the thought that it was enough, coupled with the impulse to step out. But I didn’t. I observed. And the thought and the urge passed. I stayed for at least another minute.
We can do this with any thought, any feeling and any impulse. We can pause and observe (the thought and the thinker) before we act. When we are able to do this, we gain the freedom of true choice instead of being run by instincts or old behavior patterns. And this is absolutely liberating!
“Consciousness is observing your thoughts and actions so that you can live from true choice in the present moment rather than being run by programming from the past.” – T. Harv Eker
“Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship.” – Eckhart Tolle