If we are indeed eternal spiritual sparks of consciousness, inhabiting these temporary bodies, then indeed we are not our mind, body, and emotions. Of course, we want to take good care of our mind, body, and emotions – yet these thoughts, sensations, and feelings that come and go, are just that: temporary. They are not us. We are the experiencers of our experiences.
Distinguishing the Experiencer from the Experience
This is a crucial distinction to grasp for living a conscious purposeful life, if you ask me. The reason being that if I do not live from a place of understanding my experience as separate from me, then I will likely unawarely act as a slave to my thoughts, emotions, and sensations. This is not an empowering place to position ourselves, as entangled and misidentified with our experiences.
To explain, consider the difference between “I am guilty and shameful” and “I am experiencing guilt and shame.” In the first expression the person who is the spiritual essence identifies with the emotions and thoughts. The second expression acknowledges the separation of the experiencer from the experience. This way of thinking and relating to one’s self and others almost automatically gives the experiencer a little room to acknowledge one’s spiritual essence – that the eternal soul is experiencing something temporary.
This is not to say that just because our experiences are temporary that they should be ignored! Rather, let’s wholeheartedly experience our experiences so that we can integrate ourselves into the present moment – living life with as much awareness of ourselves as we are able to.
Family Life = Opportunity for Consciousness Raising
In family life there is a limitless amount of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations to experience! It’s like a bubbling cauldron of experiences. While I have great sympathy and compassion for parents and the intense undertaking of managing the bubbling cauldron, I do not promote the notion that parents will be happy if they “get through” parenthood using coping/numbing/distracting mechanisms.
Rather I take a stand that parents will find enduring happiness in fully experiencing the intensity, because spiritual sparks inside human bodies are designed with the facility to be conscious and aware. To squander this ability, to deny ourselves our full experience of life – as it is – is to live in a state of ignoring our mind, body, and emotions. Neither will we be content to wallow in our experiences nor will we be content to ignore our experiences. This conscious experiencing activity works well in an environment of inspired purposeful action.
Okay, so here’s one tool for you to consider adopting in your adventure of family life.
Be Present With Self, and Experience
The (recurring) starting point of living consciously always starts with where you are at and experiencing your experience. Where else can you start a journey of growth other than where you are at? And when you do start this journey, what else is there to do but firstly notice the thoughts, feelings, and sensations going on inside of you? What is your honest state of being?
Start with the phrase, “I am experiencing…” and see what comes up. Notice what happens for you if you give yourself 15-20 minutes of noticing your experience and stating it out loud or writing it down. What is your experience of experiencing? Where does your consciousness go?
Do you feel judgments? Resistance? Desire to avoid? Desire to run away? If any kind of resistance comes up inside of you – give that resistance a voice. Let it exist fully in your being. Feel free to repeat, “I am experiencing resistance” if that is what is true for you. See what is there in that resistance – what can you learn about yourself? If emotions come let them express freely without making them right or wrong.
A tip: Try not to give too many words or stories to your process. Let yourself experience the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations as they are without much explanation. By keeping your expression to a few words, you are choosing to be the experiencer and not a storyteller.
In giving myself fully to the experiment of experiencing my experience, I notice that I feel empowered and enlivened. I am experiencing freedom to choose how I respond to life. I feel flexible and accepting when I speak as a spirit soul who experiences things. I feel less controlling and less desiring.
Because at the end of the day, we all want to raise conscientious kind people, to feel connected and joyful in the process, and to expand our being to make more room for love. These goals all start wherever we are at. We just are where we are. We only have what we have. Internally, what we have is thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. By welcoming our honest experiences and experiencing them fully, we are laying down the groundwork for a growthful authentic adventure of service to the spirit souls who are in our families – including ourselves!
So, what are you experiencing right now?
I am experiencing curiosity, excitement, power, urgency, and thirst.