Recently my sister in-law asked me to recommend some books. I rattled a list of my favorites off of the top of my head but then I also went digging through my collection to see where I had started. These days I do most of my reading on my iPad, but I also love the feel of an actual book and I still have a lot of them! I came across something that I read over 10 years ago and I decided to re-read it. The book is by Wayne Dyer and is called 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace. I think this book is a great place to start when exploring your own spirituality. It’s short and to the point and almost like a handbook. It also opened the door for me to explore all kinds of other ideas, books and authors. I wanted to share the first secret with you today; Have a Mind That Is Open to Everything and Attached to Nothing.
I think it’s pretty easy to identify whether or not you are an open-minded person, but this is so much more than just that. It really challenges you to examine the life you have built for yourself, the choices you have made and the choices you will continue to make. It makes you realize how much of all you think, believe and see is really just an illusion. I’m talking about everything from religious beliefs, political beliefs, societal beliefs and even what’s “right” for you with all of your daily decision making. Wayne discusses how even if you were raised to be pretty open minded, so much of who you are was still pretty conditioned. He also discusses that our attachments to people, things, being right, being superior in our view points, etc. is “the source of all your problems.” When you are working through this secret it can be somewhat bitter to try to challenge what you “know” but once you “conquer” it, it’s ALL sweet.
Isn’t it great how our children challenge us to think? I mean here I am going through my life thinking what a free spirit I am and then bam, one of them asks me a question. It pains me because when I go to answer them a lot of the time I think, WTF am I saying? Why do I even think this way? Not too long ago my son was asking me the different last names of his cousins and why some are the same as his and some are different. He then asked what my last name used to be. When I told him he wondered aloud why I changed it. My answer was something to the affect of well that’s just what the mommies do when they marry the daddies and then he said something to the affect of “well that sounds dumb, you should just do what you want.” Ahhhh! Yes! We should! This is what I preach. Now on a personal level I happen to like sharing the last name as my husband and children. It doesn’t change my identity and is just a label, BUT when pushed to think WHY I chose to make a decision such as this I really don’t have an answer. This is just a very simple example to a very deep spiritual truth but it opened the door for me to have another conversation with my son about how all of his choices should be based on what HE wants to do and be and come from his heart, not on societal norms.
So what does this “secret” mean to you. Think about your life and how you live it. Do you do and say things that come from a deeper heart level or do you have more conditioned ways of thinking and living? If you are still super attached to your ideas on an Ego level it might be a little more difficult to get on board with this but give it a try. For me this has given me so much freedom. It has enabled me to do EVERYTHING that my heart tells me to and nothing that my mind tells me I “should”. As a person in recovery from “caring what others think” I often look back at different choices I have made and KNOW it wasn’t what I wanted but what I was conditioned to thinking I should’ve done. I’m not saying I regret anything but I feel more happy and peaceful to be in the place that I am now. I can also look back at decisions where I know I have followed my heart and those decisions have unwrapped my most authentic self. I live this way for the big stuff in life and the minor stuff. On a more life altering level, If I went by what society told me about keeping up with others and if my Ego was imbedded in material things I would not have chosen to go to one income and be home with my kids. I mean I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “this is a two income society.” Is it? Why? And maybe your heart and the core of who you are really wants the bigger house and more vacations and that’s completely fine too, or maybe you are one of the lucky few that can have both, or maybe you are equally as inspired by your job as you are by your children…it’s all fine if it’s what your true self wants. For my family it HAD to be a choice and I based the choice on what my heart was telling me to do…no one else. The popular decision would have been to keep on pace with others around me. The popular choice would not have been to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree and all of the student loans to go with it to only put that life on temporary hold. I went with my heart, altered our way of living and for OUR family this was the best choice I could have made. I try to live this way on a simpler level too. Whether it’s daily parenting choices I make, going out for some time with a friend when mommy guilt kicks in or even what I make for dinner. You know in other societies dinner is NOT the biggest meal of the day. If I’ve had a long day with the kids filled with enjoying the things we enjoy and don’t have the energy to cook an elaborate meal, who says tuna fish sandwiches aren’t an acceptable form of dinner? A huge mantra in my house is “who says?”.
Listen, I’m not saying let go of EVERYTHING you think you know, but I think it is extremely liberating to understand that all you believe about yourself, others and the world COULD have been formed by something other than your true spirit. Don’t become attached to any way of thinking; be fluid in your beliefs. If you are already living this way, then sweet! This is such a fantastic way of life to show to our future generations. If you aren’t you should stop yourself during your myriad of thoughts throughout the day and examine your choices, ESPECIALLY if you know deep down inside that you are just dredging through a life not true to your inner spirit. Stop yourself and say why? Why are you doing, thinking and saying all of the things that you do? Who says?
The Enlightened Mama