by Tim Brieske, M.D.
"Time is a factory where we all slave away,
earning enough love to break our own chains." ~ Rumi
It is often not until we are confronted with our mortality that we begin to be conscious of our emotions and their origins. We learn to experience our world in an environment that convinces us that the source of happiness is external. Until we settle into the realization that our true self is timeless divinity, and we are all simply reflections of that divinity, we are bound inexorably by the attachment we maintain to the thoughts, ideas, experiences, and stories of our lives.
We are complex beings with a level of neural interconnectivity that distinguishes us from all other known life forms. The synergism that results from this connectivity gives rise to our ability to remember the past, sensually experience the present, and imagine a future that we have the capacity to create. Take a look around the room you are in. Everything you see was once an aspect of someone’s imagination.
Many generations ago, as a result of this interconnectivity, our ancestors attained a level of self-awareness that allowed them to begin to contemplate their existence. They began to ask why they were here, what purpose life had, and who they really were. Their world was one of being entirely invested in the energy and cycles of nature. They developed the desire to understand the universe. In many ancient cultures, this innate yearning to expand and evolve led people to imagine and then begin to practice meditation, a technique that allowed them to move beyond, or transcend, their thoughts into a state of expanded consciousness.
Thousands of years later, meditation continues to be one of the most powerful tools human beings have discovered. Sitting silently, while listening for our mantra or using another object of attention, our awareness gradually moves away from our thoughts towards the infinite space between thoughts. This transcendence creates a perspective that helps move our perceptual orientation from our mind, intellect, and ego towards our inner self – the spiritual energy within us. The ultimate in self-realization occurs when we realize that our own spiritual energy and the spiritual energy that gave rise to the universe are One.
Orientation with the self shifts us from a state of evaluation, discrimination, and judgment to one of equanimity – neither above nor below. It opens the opportunity to view life from the perspective of a silent inner witness, gently observing our reactions and responses to life events. It allows the evolution and emergence of spontaneous right action that results in choices that tend to be harmonious for us and those around us. We are invited to begin to communicate consciously.
Asking the Important Questions
In order to communicate consciously, we need to know four pieces of information: We must first know the facts about what just happened, the reality of the moment. Then we need to ask ourselves what we are feeling, tuning into our core emotions without judging ourselves for how we feel. We also need to ask ourselves how our body feels, letting ourselves experience the physical sensations resulting from our emotions. Finally, we must be able to ask ourselves what we want in a given situation – and what we really, really desire in all aspects of our life.
Just asking ourselves the simple question “What emotion am I experiencing?” shifts our perceptual orientation from our protective ego and analytical intellect to our expansive, connecting hearts. Remembering that we have the ability to shift our perceptual orientation at will shows us that we have the opportunity to lean toward health by experiencing love, the affect of connection. As we connect to our own feelings and heart, our compassion (understanding another’s suffering) and empathy (understanding another’s stories) naturally expand.
Discovering and appreciating the connecting power of love causes our awareness to expand, resulting in dissolution of the attachments our thinking habitually makes. A sense of freedom – no longer being reactively attached to our stories, experiences, and thoughts – emerges and evolves. We move from being reactive to being responsive.
As we settle into our practice, we will notice other aspects of our life effortlessly evolving. Our relationships with others and with ourselves improve. We realize that we are drawing into our lives by our own attracting light those people and events that are most likely to help us realize our heartfelt intentions. Our physical health becomes more balanced.
Over time we begin to realize we are no longer enslaved by the thoughts and stories that kept us chained to a constricted life. As opposed to resolving life’s conflicts and fighting life’s obstacles, we celebrate our ability to transcend these reactive strategies. We realize we are moving toward moksha, the Sanskrit word for emotional freedom.
Perhaps the most beautiful, sweetest sound we ever hear is the clanging and rattling of broken links of chain falling away to the ground as our truly loving, connected, blissful self emerges from the constriction of our conditioning.
About Dr. Tim Brieske
Dr. Brieske is a board-certified Family Medicine physician, educator, and expert in integrative medicine. As a member of the Chopra Center’s medical staff, he provides mind-body medical consultations and teaches regularly at the Perfect Health program. He also co-leads Healing the Heart, the Chopra Center’s three-day emotional healing retreat. In addition, Dr. Brieske practices emergency and hospitalist medicine and is a certified instructor of Primordial Sound Meditation and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle.
Do your goals for 2013 include becoming a certified teacher?
If you have a desire to help others experience emotional freedom and greater health and wellbeing, we invite you to consider becoming a Chopra Center-certified teacher. We offer three core certifications: Primordial Sound Meditation, the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle. As a certified teacher, you will have the foundation of knowledge and practical, hands-on training that will enable you to offer your own courses anywhere in the world. Learn more about Chopra Center University here >>