Life: a quick trip or an insightful journey?
In our busy lives it is a wonder how some people are able to maintain a deeper sense of meaning while other shuttle themselves through each day in a harried state of “unconscious” busi-ness. I often think of the busy-life experience as a “quick trip”. We rush through our days, with little thought to their meaning and purpose, ignoring the potential life lessons embedded in the experience of living.
I’ve addressed the busy-mind issue in a few of my blogs, so no need to repeat here. What I want to address is choice. We do have an opportunity, each of us, to chose to be more insightful. To make time for the journey, instead of ticking off things on our bucket list or grocery list or wish list in determined succession.
How do we chose to be more insightful?
Well, there are many ways to exercise your choice to be more insightful. However, there are a few great questions coaches like myself ask ourselves and our clients:
- Did I work on a clear “journey” goal today? In other words, was my day filled with the busy rush of life (the quick trip) or did I choose to make time for creating a life of purpose (the insightful journey)?
- Did I make progress on the journey goal today? Which might mean: if your goal is to become more self-aware, did you experience progress on a goal supporting self-awareness?
- Did I make time to create joy?
- Did I ask myself: what is the deeper meaning or purpose of this thought, decision, action?
- Did I invest time in people, developing positive and thoughtful relationships?
- Was I fully present and engaged today?
(These questions were adapted from speaker and master-coach Marshall Goldsmith at the Global Oneness Summit 2022)
If you can honestly answer each of these questions everyday it opens up space for awareness. Practicing awareness is a choice, as well as the lift-off point for your flight to an insightful, meaningful, and joyful life journey.
If you are a newbie to insightful journeying, you may be overwhelmed by the opportunities for awareness and may have difficulty answering these questions daily. Perhaps begin by asking them monthly.
A technique I used for the first time the day I got married came from a wise woman. “On your big day, check in with yourself every hour or so. Take a breath and look around. Observe your feelings as well as sights and sounds. Affirm your gratefulness in the moment. It will make the day seem a little slower and not such a blur.” I did just that. I personally felt that these “awareness breaks” were insightful, and the day was more joyful because of the mindfulness.
There are many other useful strategies for slowing down your day, to make room for the journey. Of course the ultimate practices include meditation, yoga, breathwork, and energy healing, but you may not be there yet and that’s okay. Start where you are.
One of the greatest barriers to an insightful journey (besides ego) is illness. Chronic pain, trauma and mental disorders may pose substantial barriers to an insightful journey. When battle darkness on a daily basis, there is little light to help you transition from the shadows. There are many therapies and drugs, not all of them are particularly useful. In fact, they may contribute to further suffering.
As Dr. Jeff O’Driscoll metaphorically says, “the body is the veil”. The connection to an insightful life can be muddied by body and mind. The mind wants the quick fix: “make the pain go away”. We think we are our bodies. The truth is we are much more than the mind and body. For people who are on the “quick trip” this may not even be understood, but certainly, those on the “insightful journey” may be more closely connected to understanding the energy body and consciousness beyond the mind and body.
Some individuals who have trauma, chronic pain or mental disorders can experience the insightful journey through increasing their awareness. Some may have a spontaneous spiritually transformative experience, allowing them to move beyond their experience as a pain-body. They may develop new awareness and perspectives through these moments. Some people cultivate these experiences through meditation and energy work, etc.
Now, in North America, there are emerging tools to create this state and move past physical and emotional illnesses: psychedelic assisted therapy.
The capacity of psychedelics used in therapy can open new neutral pathways, similar to the activation in the brain which comes from meditation. These new pathways, if reinforced, can be the door to pain-free, trauma free living, dissolving the veil between our human experience and the intuitive experience of an insightful journey. The insightful journey is the practice of awareness following the opening of awareness resulting from the psychedelic trip.
Based on research, psilocybin assisted therapy is the most closely aligned of all the emerging psychedelic therapies to the altered states of consciousness which may arise from mediation, or a spiritually transformative experience. At a recently attended research conference on psychedelic assisted therapies, I watched documented studies performed using psilocybin and another common substance in South American Indigenous communities: Ayahuasca. Both of these substances can positively impact those with PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression. An initial break from the dark grip of these disorders may be felt by experiencers with a first assisted therapy visit. That has promising applications! I am hopeful the researchers around the world will continue to find positive impact.
As for physical pain, researchers are studying various benefits of psychedelic assisted therapies for a range of auto-immune disorders, cancer, and many other pervasive life-threatening illnesses. I am encouraged to find these new psychedelic applications may be a portal to eclipsing the heavy weight of the body, to thin the veil to the insights and wisdom which come for altered states of consciousness.
It is important for me to state that I am not a therapist or a doctor. In no way should this sharing of research be considered as a prescription for anyone reading this blog post. I do not encourage the use of drugs clinically or therapeutically to transition from the “quick trip” to the “insightful journey”. Personally, I believe we can all get there through the tools we already have inherently. They can be sharpened by the suggestions I have made at the beginning of this writing. They can also be enhanced by following many other writers and speakers, or by attending free conferences, such as the Global Oneness Summit, Spiritual Awakenings International or Beyond the Veil Summit.