In my last blog I introduced the topic of relationship and discussed all the various relationships we have including our romantic relationships, family and friends, work colleagues, people we encounter in our daily routine and also our relationship to nature and the universe.
I started to discuss the most important relationship which is the one we have with ourselves. I’d like to dive deeper into this idea. Most people have an unhealthy relationship with themselves due to a lack of self-worth and not feeling like they’re good enough. This can have multiple causes as I explored in the last blog.
The question then becomes, if all of our external relationships are dependent on our relationship to our self, how can we cultivate this relationship? We do this by practicing stillness. Stillness in our modern age is referred to by many other terms including mindfulness and meditation but they are all the same thing.
The purpose of stillness is to start to unravel and unveil your true nature which is that of pure consciousness. We often become so identified with the lower aspects of who we are including our thoughts, emotions, personal experiences and our physical bodies. I’m not saying that these are not important aspects of ourselves but they are not who we truly are.
Who we truly are is the consciousness, awareness or being which underlies all that we think we are and all that we experience. This consciousness is the ground of our being and is something we share with all human beings, all of nature, the earth and the universe. Practicing stillness is how we access our true nature
So how do we practice consciousness? I recommend spending at least several minutes at various points throughout the day. Just stop what you’re doing and find a place where there are no distractions and you will not be disturbed. Anywhere in nature is a perfect place to do this practice but it is not necessary.
Close your eyes or keep them open if you’d like. Focus on your breath without changing it in anyway. Just become conscious of the flow of air from the atmosphere into your upper airways and down into the depths of your lungs and the reverse flow.
If thoughts arise while doing this, do not try to suppress them as your mind will retaliate. Just give them the momentary attention they desire and just release them. Do this for every thought that arise. If any feelings arise, do not resist them. Feel anything you feel to its fullest extent even if you perceive the emotion as negative. In my book, ‘Healing From The Inside Out,’ I refer to this practice as Inner Flow.
The purpose of this practice is to give you a glimpse and, possibly, a greater experience of who you truly are beyond your thoughts, emotions, life experiences and any title or position you have been given. Once you experience your higher consciousness, you will want to get to this place more often and all other experiences will pale in comparison.
This is how you cultivate your relationship to yourself. Next week I’ll talk about how cultivating the relationship to yourself will help you in all of your external relationships.
Nauman Naeem MD FCCP FRCPC