If you are a yogi, Buddhist, or have simply read some chapters on this site, you are probably familiar with the concepts of mindfulness and witness consciousness. While both support an open awareness of what is, any techniques that help root you in the present will bolster your equanimity and strengthen your resilience.
By thinking of your time on earth as a visit you can re-frame your experiences to more easily stay in the now. From there, you can practice some healthy detachment from outcome, the Buddhist idea of letting go of what we think we want in favor of being open to life’s vicissitudes. This offers another approach to leave the evil twins of suffering, also known as craving and aversion, behind.
Whether the time between birth and death is long, medium, or short you can choose to view it as a visit. After all, you are merely a tourist in your body, on earth, right now. This moment is all you have. The past is over and will never come again, the future is simply a concept only having value when it becomes the present; otherwise, it’s just fodder for anxiety.
By thinking of yourself as a visitor, you can open up to seemingly similar situations with fresh eyes. As they say, you can never step into the same river twice. Re-framing your experiences helps build awareness that the river, and life, constantly shift.
A healthy measure of detachment from outcome fosters witness consciousness, the ability to see things more objectively. Of course, humans are designed to view life subjectively; but, it is possible to cultivate some perspective, delaying a knee-jerk emotional response. This nanosecond’s pause often provides enough time to free yourself from a habituated response, allowing you to try on a different approach.
Another helpful technique on the path to greater emotional freedom is to imagine what someone else is thinking and feeling. Unlike empathy, where you feel with another person because you have had a similar experience, this creates an expanded consciousness enabling you to see things from someone else’s perspective. Not an easy task, but one worth practicing.
Experimenting with these new modalities is the only way to know if they will enhance your life and sense of control. You can’t orchestrate everything that happens, but you can choose your attitude about it.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang
You Are Just a Visitor March 19, 2012