In my coaching practice I frequently help my clients define the criteria that they want to apply to the myriad of moment-by-moment choices we all make in our daily lives. What to do next, where to expend our limited resources of time, attention, energy, money? More often than not, with some deep inquiry, one of the most improtant criteria that comes up is, “What will give me the most peace?”
Peace and freedom are often put together in the same sentence. Once we define what we want (be it peace, or another priority that we identify) and then honor it with our action, we become free to move forward without second-guessing or “should-ing” ourselves. We simply do what we do because it’s the next right thing in this moment. We chose it! Defining criteria and making conscious choices that are in alignment with our heart’s deepest desire releases both feet from the starting blocks. This is not to say that we won’t have feelings about what we’re not choosing; only that right now, we’re choosing the one thing that most moves us toward what we value and want most.
There is peace and freedom in conscious choice making, especially in the moment-by-moment mundane minutiae of our lives. There’s an old saying that ”What you think about most becomes your God.” Imagine standing in the middle of your busy day, confronting your “To Do” list, an internal rant of “shoulds,” “havent’s” “nevers,” and “others manage to,” etc., etc., crowding your mind. This is the hamster wheel, the speeding train, the overwhelm that most of us experience in trying to keep up with modern life.
Now, imagine standing in that same place having defined your criteria for choosing the next right thing, e.g., “What choice will give me the most peace right now?” Take a couple of deep breaths, sink within yourself, and be prepared to be surprised by what might rise to the top of your list, often something that wasn’t even on it! Also surprising is how what seemed so crucial can suddenly fall off the bottom of the list and not even be missed. Can you imagine some examples of this in your life? I sometimes look at my day and see no time whatsoever for going for a walk. I stop and apply my criteria, I slow down, go anyway, and, magically, everything else that was truly necessary gets accomplished.
The Vast Spaciousness of Now
By now, reading this, you might be experiencing some “yeah, buts,” or “someone else’s life might allow for this luxury, but not mine!” There is a great gift that dawns like the morning sun when we begin to make these conscious choices based upon what’s really important to us. We begin to loosen our grip on the reins of life, to find out that it is actually safe to let go of some control. We let go a little, for a moment, in the moment, and settle into right here, right now. In the vast spaciousness of NOW, we come into conscious contact with our true self as part of a power much greater than our individual existence.
Once connected with this ever-present power we can trust that the big picture is being handled by a divine intelligence and power that far exceeds our own. We can release regrets about the past and fears about the future. We can stop beating ourselves up or scaring ourselves with our imagination. We can accept what is, as it is, and let go of the suffering created by being in an argument with reality. As the great spiritual teacher, Byron Katie, says, “Who am I to know better than God?”
In this moment, now, all of life actually happens. The rest is in our head! We’re either thinking about the past or the future, or we’re experiencing life right here, right now. A question that brings us into the moment, “What would give me the most peace right now?” is access to the infinite wisdom of which we are a part, the deep well of knowing that is our true Self. It provides the step off the hamster wheel, the way out of overwhelm. We can simply do the next right thing, turn the outcome over to that power greater than our self, and know a calm and centered quiet in the midst of it all.