You Made It!

You Made It!

You Made It!

Congratulations! Four solid weeks of meditation is a tremendous accomplishment which is bound to bear fruit. Before thinking about what lies ahead, take some time now to look back through your journal. How has your meditation changed over the last four weeks? More importantly, how has your meditation changed you over the last four weeks? Is there any difference in your awareness of yourself and the world around you?

A Question of Consciousness

Hopefully the answer to the previous question is a resounding “Yes!”—and hope-fully the change in your awareness has been a positive one! If you aren’t sure how (or if) your awareness has changed, think carefully about how your day-to-day inter-actions with the world have changed over the past month. Are you less affected by outer circumstances? Are you more conscious of the under-lying causes of your actions towards others and their actions towards you? If you’re not sure, let’s look at a few examples of how your aware-ness may have changed. Although you may not have been in these exact situations, and your reac-tions may not have been exactly the same, chances are you have experienced some-thing similar.

Situation: Someone yells at you for no reason. Old reaction: You immediately get defensive and yell right back. New reaction: You have sympathy and understanding. You say to yourself, “That person must be under a lot of pressure.”

Situation: Traffic jam on the way to or from work. Old reaction: You get angry and frustrated. In disgust you mutter to yourself, “What are all these people doing on the road anyway! Haven’t they heard of public transportation?” New reaction: You look for the good side of any situation. In this case you realize you have extra time to chant a mantra or think of all the things that you can be grateful for in your life.

Situation: Things don’t go “your way.” Old reaction: Your expectation of a certain result leads to frustration. You cry to the heavens, “Why do these things always happen to me!” Because you depend on outer circumstances to measure yourself, your self-esteem suffers. “Why can’t I do anything right?” you wonder. New reaction: Things happen—but because you don’t expect them to happen in a certain way, there’s no frustration. And because you are more centered, your self-esteem is less vulnerable to outer events.

Be not afraid Of destructive actions by others. But be afraid Of your own reaction to them. - Sri Chinmoy

In each situation, notice something important: the external events haven’t changed; what’s changed is the state of consciousness you are in when the events occur. In other words:

• Your consciousness determines how you interpret outer events; • This interpretation determines your experience of the world, positive or negative; • Your experience of the world determines the quality of your life.

It all begins with consciousness. The bottom line is, the quality of your con-sciousness determines the quality of your life.