“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
It was a lightbulb moment for me when I realized how much I had been putting up barriers to life—and happiness.
I was in a place on my path where I was diligently studying my in-the-moment experience—and I discovered that my first response to people, situations, and new possibilities was to pull away in fear.
For many years, I had been automatically saying “No”—before I considered what was being offered, before I let myself feel the excitement of something new and unknown. I probably missed out on a lot.
I was moving away from what was being given, and it felt bad.
As soon as I saw this tendency, I was committed to changing it. I didn’t want to be tamped down by a wall of fear. I wanted to relax and feel peaceful more than anything. I just knew there was more to life, and I wanted to figure out how to find it.
Over time, I learned to turn inward toward my inner experience, right into the blocks and walls. I learned to deeply accept everything without any resistance.
I shifted from moving away to staying, opening, and fully receiving things as they are. Finally, I was saying “Yes!” to life. It was a happy revolution in my whole way of being.
Caught in our conditioning, we tend to move in three ways: toward, away, or against. Which is your style? See how your mind and body moves—and how you move along with it—and you will discover the endless peace that comes with not moving.
People who move toward feel a well of need and lack inside. If this is your style, you leave your inner grounding and grasp at people and things to fill you up and give you what you think you’re missing.
You believe your thoughts that try to convince you that you’re not enough.
Who you are is not defined by these limiting thoughts. Who are you if you don’t believe them?
Let your attachment to these thoughts go, and you’ll see that you are openness itself, whole, full, and lacking nothing.
Moving toward looks like this:
- Seeking approval and attention from others
- Concern about the image you present in the world
- Sacrificing yourself for others, then feeling resentful
- Perceiving yourself as lacking and flawed
- Difficulty walking away from relationships that aren’t working
- Attachment to your personal dramas
- Grasping money, people, and objects
- Feeling that you are special and avoiding your ordinariness
When you notice these tendencies, stop. With loving acceptance, let the feelings and urges arise, but don’t act on them. Be the space that they arise in.
Relax back into yourself, and realize that life is complete, just as it is, in this very moment.
Moving away is about fear and avoidance. There is tightening in the body, contraction in the breath, and a physical pulling away from whatever is arising. Threat is seen everywhere.
Moving away is built on a perceived lack of safety and security. What are you really afraid of, anyway? Can you consider trusting that you are OK and that you can engage with life as it’s unfolding right now?
Moving away looks like this:
- Doubt and indecision
- Nonstop thinking fueled by fear
- Avoiding people and situations
- Trepidation in the face of anything new
- Fear of committing to anything
- Excessive worry
- Holding yourself back
Moving away has strong physical and mental elements. Learn how to relax your body and nervous system and breathe deeply. Experiment with not running your life by all the thoughts that appear in your mind. Put the thoughts aside (they aren’t helping you), and stay here and present.
Open yourself fully to the wonder of what’s actually here now. What are you experiencing through your senses? What is the space that these sense perceptions arise in?
You’re moving against when you’re stuck in anger, frustration, and entitlement. Some of us live at odds with the world, resisting everything. We show up ready for a struggle, while missing out on what is actually here when we let our guard down.
Moving against is a defensive posture that avoids vulnerability. What if you allowed yourself to tenderly open to the reality of what’s here now?
Moving against looks like this:
- Anger and resistance to people, situations, and the world
- A sense of entitlement—things should be the way you want them to be
- Judgment—either outward toward others or inward toward yourself
- Stuffing anger by eating, sleeping, and avoiding conflict at all costs
- Desire for power and control
It takes so much effort to face the world primed for a fight. Really, there’s nothing to protect. Feel the sensations of anger, and notice the effortlessness of being open, soft, and receptive. Relax into life as it’s unfolding.
The strategies of moving toward, away, and against sap your energy. They divide, fragment, and keep you from relaxing into the infinite space of what’s true and real.
What to do when you notice these tendencies? Stop…be still. Feel the conditioned movements—and don’t move into them. Be the vast welcoming openness that they arise in.
You’re lovingly noticing the thoughts and feelings, but giving them no energy that makes them real.
They shed like a snake sheds its skin. And here you are…not moving and fully available to all of life.