In the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz he talks about the importance of communication, and a large part of that is asking the right questions so that we never have to assume anything and cause discord in our lives.
But how do we know what questions to ask?
If we are not in the habit of routinely asking ourselves questions to increase our internal awareness, how will we ever know the dynamics involved in asking someone else important questions so that we can understand a complicated thing like a relationship?
Inner awareness is more important than we may realize. Science is now showing that people who take time to meditate get benefits that far outreach what was originally thought. Harvard recently published studies on the simple act of meditation helping to reduce blood pressure, increase focus, helping with claustrophobic feelings while in an MRI, (so does vanilla) and much more. This inner awareness is accomplished by focusing on your breath, and returning to this focus whenever your mind wanders. It helps to reduce stress, which is the cause of up to 90% of all clinic and hospital visits. (More than this in reality.)
There is no doubt that inner awareness and focus is important. This can be attained by asking yourself important questions that can help you gain clarity in your day to day experiences, to notice what you are feeling in the different parts of your body as you ask yourself questions. Who couldn’t benefit from more clarity and a higher, deeper quality to the relationships in our lives?
For instance, where do you feel anger in your body? This is the easiest emotion to pinpoint because it usually gets the most exuberant response from us. Think about what happens to your body as you feel anger wash over you. Do your shoulders tense? Or is it more noticeable in your stomach? Do your fists and teeth automatically clench? Do you feel an increase in your heart rate? Each of us has our own unique physical responses to anger. By knowing your own physical expressions of anger, you can become aware of when this emotion is creeping up on you and address whatever issue is causing you to react in this way. The same is true of all of your emotions. When you know yourself so well that the very inkling of change in your body gains your attention and can be addressed with from a place of knowledge of self, much discomfort and stress can be averted, and life can return to a more balanced state. With this knowledge, you can easily begin to process what it is that is making you feel this way and deal with it before it gets out of control. Try this with other emotions too. I invite you to spend some time consciously working through this exercise. It can change your life for the better.
The more we know ourselves, have decided who we want to be, how we want to act, and therefore the qualities that we want to embody in our lives, the easier and more beautiful our lives will become. When we know who we are, and how we want to ACT in this world, we will no longer find ourselves reacting to everything that comes along like a person with two ping pong paddles hitting back as many of the thousands of balls a day that are coming at them from every direction. If you know that you want to be a person of integrity, and have taken the time to ask yourself what that would look like for you, you are one step closer to the mark.
What other questions might help you on this journey of life on a daily basis?
How about what you think and feel regarding issues that are important in your life? For that matter, what issues are important to you?
Are there parts of yourself that you used to like or enjoy that you have lost or let fade away? What are they, and what steps do you need to take to get them back into your life?
How do you feel about the “you” that you are in the quiet moments when you are alone? Do you like the company you keep? If not, what do you need to address to change that?
I leave you with two quotes that might stir some thought.
Furious activity is no substitute for understanding. ~ H. H. Williams
We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves,
Unable to see that here, now
This very moment is sacred;
But once it’s gone-
Its value is incontestable.
~Joyce Carol Oates~
One last question for you:
How much do you value YOU?