We often ask the following question, "How do I make the choices and remain on the path that is right for me?" This is an important question we first learn when we are young... and then teach to our children... with our lives.
Remaining on the Path that is Right for Me
The Path of Suffering. So, we can walk this earth without much direction to guide our emotions, thoughts or actions and let genetics and happenstance determine the level of wisdom we attain. It may seem easier... until it isn't! The message and skill we brought to this world would likely be hindered by consistent unseen distractions. We would likely attract and encourage these same tendencies in those we chose to share our lives. While 'enjoying' our distractions others hungry for the benefits we seem willing to give away would find us easy even willing to be manipulated... for a few additional distractions. They sell us a few baubles, a bigger car, food that tastes good but hurts our bodies... and they call it 'good business.' As we begin to feel the pain and lack of progress in our life... we would likely reach out for more distractions... to quench the thirst of our pain. This would likely cause more food, drugs, and a chronically angry countenance toward life and anyone who seems happy... or even simply content. This would eventually lead to feelings of a deep emptiness filled... insidious fear... and pain.
It's stark picture. I imagine it may seem an exaggeration. But... I assure you, not evening who smiles... is happy.
The Path of Empathy and Compassion. The Oneness Approach is about knowing who we are while walking on this earth consistently optimizing our two major influences; the relationship within ourself and our relationship with others. Our need to personally grow and the sustaining positive effect of contributing to others speak to the power of these two realities. Our actions are certainly very important, but the intent we bring to each moment...to each effort...has the power to generate energy, attention, and endless interest. The interest we generate acts as a beacon drawing us forward. When we feel strongly about such commitments, we tend to attract others who feel similarly. We will add to their efforts and theirs to ours. Our interest will encourage relationships that draw us forward in each of our efforts. Predicting outcomes becomes unnecessary as the exponential results of people working towards a common goal take on a life of its own. Deep respect for each person becomes ingrained as we habitually learn from each person we meet regardless whether we 'agree with them' or not. In place of judgment again, arise our growing empathy and compassion along with an openness to learn and compromise. Internally this is represented by integration and differentiation allowing a rise in our physio-consciousness and our own form of enlightenment.
The Path of Oneness
The Oneness Approach is a journey by which we maintain the intent of our spiritual source with the energy, attention and inquisitiveness that we bring to each moment of our life. Each aspect, with practice, provides a deeper connection with our authentic self (Internal Oneness) and the world around us (External Oneness). We practice our abilities to build our capacity to fully engage our highest mind in all situations we find ourself. This part of the brain is metabolically expensive to keep ‘on line’ so often we may find ourself driving to work wondering how we got there. When we don't call on our highest mind our frontal cortex will metabolically slow and we will miss valuable lessons. While it is 'off line' we are still being influenced but with much less depth, insight and integration. Our unconscious mind will remain on board to ‘wake us up’ if needed to, for example, assess a child walking alongside and close to the road. Afterwards, our highest mind may return to it's slumber. In this state our mind will begin to think random thoughts as is its predilection, but no longer directed by the 'Now' where it functions optimially. This can create at least a few problems for us.
First, we are not using this great asset for extended periods of time. Second, ‘any object at rest tends to stay at rest.’ We are generating habits, or unconscious neuronal circuits, that do not call for the use of our highest mind. This means that our highest mind will need to exert even greater energy to both ‘kick in’ and remain ‘on board’. We will be the person who doesn't really ‘wake up’ until a meeting is half over. Third, while the highest mind is off, we will not be in an optimized state. This will cause our breathing to become shallow, your posture to slouch, our mind will drift, our attention and immune system will suffer, our mood will be less ‘on point’ and our energy management will weaken. Lastly, we are learning, incorporating new information but not with our highest mind centers. Our complexity in processing information will lessen. Our entire body would then be on a less than optimal course.
Oneness builds the staying power of our highest mind. Our highest mind can then maintain our intent as we enter each moment while simultaneously optimizing our body systems. "Have you ever tried to go on a diet, and after a few days realized that you were supposed to be on the diet but that you ‘forgot’ and didn't have any clue why?" When our highest mind is off, just like the driving example above, we aren't minding the store. We aren't noticing what is going on around us. We certainly aren't picking up on the subtle nuances of life, and we may even miss chronic errors.
Just by waking up in the morning, drinking a glass of water, exercising and holding our intent while we meditate, we begin our day on this new journey. To extend this time we create daily goals to optimize our major relationships by one percent each day. To expand our meditation practice we can use walking meditation, become mindful at the sound of a phone, or each time we take a drink of water, etc.
Signs of Distraction
In Oneness we are aware of our internal and external doors and guide our efforts with our 'Intent'. We will be much more aware of building efficiencies to help us maintain hydrated and get adequate sleep. Just by following our bodily sensations we will improve many aspects of maintaining our chosen 'Intent'. When we see something that initially confuses us, we smile at the opportunity to not only integrate this more fully but also share this little discovery with everyone we meet either verbally or nonverbally, consciously or unconsciously. The smile is a part of our reward for having found a distraction. For where there is confusion, there is likely a distraction. Distractions covertly take us from your life path. This encumbers our ability to enjoy the growth and compassion that would otherwise be available to us.
Theories of how our distractions are born, related, and passed on to each other. We can use these theories of conditioning found in the ‘dependent origination’ of all distracting attachments. We can look for clues in our life that seem to describe one or more of the three poisons; greed, anger/fear and delusion. We can then investigate the objects these feelings are associated with. What happened just before we felt or did this? What else was going on at the same time? What other thoughts were present at the same time? What feeling came along for the ride? Is this habitual? What factors made this worse? What factors in the past have made it better? We get the idea. Knowing the rules of the arising, maintenance and the passing away of distractions can help us stay on the path of this wonderful journey, raising our physio-consciousness, finding our own form of enlightenment.