sometimes, when it seems like we're surrounded by a whirlwind of chaos, the hardest thing to do is let our attention settle on one thing. our minds get caught up in the flurry and it seems the whole world is in a frenzy.
i've found a way to step off the spinning merry-go-round with a simple exercise.
try to notice, at any given moment, how many things around you are not in chaos, how many things in the world seem to flow perfectly with one another. the birds in the trees outside your house aren't aware of the things you see as problems. the trees themselves just flow in the breeze, oblivious to the world we sometimes see as chaotic. their world is peaceful and flowing along effortlessly.
it's important to note, no whirling dervish of chaos is infinite, it has an end. at the edge the calamity, no matter how disruptive, it is surrounded by peaceful silence. lend your attention to that edge of peace. like every hurricane has an eye of calm air in it's center, there are peaceful, tranquil elements right in the middle of moments we perceive as insane. gently letting your awareness land on these tranquil elements, it might occur to you that during your frenzied moments, the chaos you're experiencing is actually in your thoughts and not the world.
take a moment to change your thoughts and you'll change your world.
as a regular practice, take a moment or two during the day to put your attention on how much of what is all around you is calm, tranquil and outside the chaos you may perceive. making this a habit will develop a usable skill for when things get hectic.
when i worked in aerospace engineering, my colleagues (some of whom were absolutely brilliant people) and i would often collaborate to develop plausible theories as to why a particular problem was occurring. we jokingly referred to any theory we came up with as a ‘swag’ (a scientific wild as guess).
there are many scientific facts based on quantitative analysis but beyond provable facts, science relies on theory. a scientific theory is not a fact. there are thousands of scientific theories, all based on facts but none of them are actually facts. they're damn fine guesses based on exhaustive testing but they are not absolute facts.
ask any scientist, from any course of study, why a particular thing does what it does and he or she will answer based on collected scientific data. follow this up with the question “why does that happen?” continue to repeat this chain of questioning long enough, in a particular direction, and the scientist will eventually be left with only one true answer: “i don’t know”. every scientific discipline, no matter how thoroughly studied, no matter how exhaustively tested, ultimately culminates in a theory, an educated 'swag' surrounded by the unknown.
in your contemplative moments, use this as your starting point. engage in quiet practice of noticing how much is occurring within you and all around you. in this lush field of awareness, notice how so very much of it you know is happening but you truly don’t know how or why, only that it is indeed happening. gently bring your attention to rest on this “don’t know” awareness. the experience of don’t know mind is a portal through which we directly access what some call a higher power, universal intelligence or the infinite living essence of “I”.
gently keep this 'don’t know' mind as you do what you do each day. as you listen, see, taste, touch and smell each thing in each moment, embrace it with awareness, allowing your don’t know mind to fully accept what is happening without need for further explanation. tread lightly, touch gently, breathe deeply, see effortlessly, hear the silence. know this is your primary existence, upon which your human experience is built.
it is here we are at home anywhere.
it is with this we feel never alone.
it is through this we perform our greatest feats in “the zone”.
it is the source of wisdom with which we intuitively handle situations that otherwise baffle us.
it is the living energy that directs our very nature to adapt and assimilate to our world just as water flows around, through and is absorbed by all it encounters.
this is the process of awareness we use to step over the misconceived boundary of “us” to encounter the all inclusive truth of “I”. practice ‘don’t know’ mind and the inaccurate sense of separation will dissolve as the reality of the entanglement of all things, that has always been, will become delightfully obvious.