These three attributes have become the focal points of my life.
In Dog-Tag Mantra, I tried to distill my thoughts about life into a brief personal motto. This post further simplifies the simplification. 🙂
This latest evolution in my perspective represents a shift from a combative outlook (where fear and ego are “enemies” to overcome, for example) toward a view that embraces all aspects of human experience and emphasizes our ability to decide what our thoughts, feelings and reality will be.
It’s all about choice — and so I consciously choose to focus on love, awareness and gratitude.
Love is the overarching, guiding principle at the core of all existence; awareness is focusing the mind to be attentive and receptive; gratitude is orienting the heart to radiate joy and appreciation.
Love is the most central element of human experience; it’s our true nature and the origin of all our connective, creative, life-affirming energies. Love is the “Force” that binds all things together in unity, and it dissolves the illusions of separateness that ego fabricates. Throughout life, we have opportunities to choose either love or fear (love’s “negative” counterpart). Our learning/growth as human beings hinges on our ability to choose love and recognize that we thrive by focusing on others rather than self.
Awareness is key to authentic living and choice; without being aware of what’s going on around us and inside us, we may feel trapped by external circumstances instead of realizing that our own happiness lies within. Conscious awareness gives us options for choosing our thoughts and feelings — it puts us in the position of deciding how we respond and what we experience. By living with full awareness of the present moment, we are truly alive — we’re not going through life, zombie-like, in an unconscious state.
Gratitude is essential to happiness and our sense of abundance; with awareness of the present moment, we’re able to recognize that we have everything we need… and many things besides. Being thankful/grateful results in contentment and directs us toward a life of simplicity, where we focus on the essential and shun the superfluous. Gratitude means knowing/believing that our needs are met — trusting that everything will be OK — and not falling prey to fear or endless pursuits of “more.”
By centering on these attributes, I’m consciously deciding to gravitate toward one side of a two-sided “coin,” choosing love over fear, awareness over unconsciousness, and gratitude over a scarcity mentality.
We live in a yin-yang world, where seemingly opposite elements complement and give rise to each other. We can’t have love without fear, or joy without sorrow, for example. “Contrasts” are actually different expressions of a single, unified experience — a dynamic balance of polarities in their oneness.
And certainly we’ll experience both the “yin” and the “yang” throughout our lives… light and darkness, happiness and heartache, and so on. But by being mindful of our own thinking, we can decide what to focus our attention and energies on. We can choose to experience love instead of being governed by fear. Through awareness, we have the power to choose our thoughts and emotions — it’s up to us to decide if the glass is “half full” or “half empty.”
I place value on love, awareness and gratitude… and they, in turn, give my life meaning. To me, these attributes align with the “positive” side of the yin-yang experience of life; they’re life-affirming and engender happiness. But this doesn’t mean I’m afraid of the “negative” aspects on the other side. We all experience “negatives” at times, and they serve a useful function: challenges provide opportunities for us to learn and grow. Negative experiences are catalysts that stimulate change or stretch our capacities (such as developing a sense of detachment to avoid prolonged unhappiness).
Both positive and negative, yin and yang, are necessary in the binary, universal scheme of things — and we must ultimately accept both as our friend. But we’re able to choose either polarity as the focus of our lives.
As human beings, we are naturally drawn more toward the “light” — toward the positive aspects of experience. Our spiritual home is love, but we can choose our own destiny and determine our own experience. This is real freedom: we decide which path we follow; we can choose what we think and feel.
Life is full of choices, and we have daily opportunities to decide if we align with optimism and positive qualities, or pessimism and negativity. But it’s not about judging these attributes as either “right” or “wrong.” Although our minds are conditioned to extol or demonize, we actually just make free-willed decisions for our own benefit or detriment. Through awareness, we have options to choose from — and each option has particular consequences (positive or negative) that we’ll experience. It’s entirely our choice.
Life is like a “holodeck” simulation, and we can change the programming anytime we want. By altering our thoughts and feelings — by modifying our “input” to the universe — we send signals that change the energy-field “Force” permeating all things.
Everything is energy… and it’s no coincidence that energy itself manifests in positive and negative forms. The focus of our attention, then, generates emotional “wavelengths” that shape our experience and the world around us. By deciding where to place our attention, we make the world a better, or worse, place.
We get to choose what we believe… and through belief, we become co-creators of reality.
Authentic living isn’t about “winning” or defeating anything; it’s about opting for love, acceptance and unity. It’s about connecting imagination with reality, linking free-willed thought and belief with what’s manifested around us. It’s about the oneness of all things and our role in interconnected, universal being.
Ultimately, it’s about choosing the path that resonates most with human nature: love. Love is the source of all that exists, including our desire to experience a positive, happy life.