​Do I experience what I live?

Contribution by Esteban Rojas Nieto, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

I often do not realise what I am going through.  It may be that some people find that statement strange, but it is actually quite common.  We do not tend to pay attention to the impact that things we think have on our inner selves, the judgements we make and the moods that arise as a result of the above.

The thoughts and judgements are born so quickly within us and in such a forthright manner that they seem to form an inherent part of what we think or judge.  That is, if I judge that someone is an idiot, I believe that it is an inherent quality of that person.  I do not normally reflect that the judgement is simply mine and that the quality that I attribute to someone (idiot, awkward, brilliant, etc.) may be the result of my own personal way of seeing the world.  We tend to accept this fairly superficial view of things.  I do not observe where my views come from, my feelings, my beliefs, my dislikes, desires, motivations or impulses. 

I can live superficially or I can live in a way that is more conscious of how I am affected by the things that happen to me.  In the former situation, I tend to behave by reacting to events, approaching or avoiding what arises based on criteria that are obscure to me and, what is more, I tend to react in the same way when faced with stimuli of the same kind.

I do things in a certain way, as if I were impelled by an automatic urge.

In the latter situation, when I realise what produces a certain trigger in me (a grimace, something unexpected, an obstacle to my plans…) I can observe what producesit and make an adjustment if it relates to something personal, that only affects me, and choose to respond based on what the situation demands and not the reaction that comes automatically from me.  In the first example, there is no freedom, it simply comes out.  In the second, there is freedom, I observe and I choose, and this offers me the sensation that I am living my life, I know myself or I am getting to know how to take the reins over my life.  There is no greater freedom than that of being able to choose my attitudes and responses over the automatic impulses andconditioning of a life spent doing things without knowing why.

I can live like this, whenever I look beyond my superficial self.  We can all do it if we decide to and we set ourselves to do it as a constant attitude in our lives, at every moment in our lives.

There is nothing to lose, only ignorance and there is definitely a lot to gain, the freedom of being aware and of creating new responses that give us peace.