Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2019 issue.
Whether you know it or not, your life is being guided by an inner philosophy or underlying belief about the nature and purpose of living. This subconscious belief structure affects how you experience life, directing the reactions of your conscious mind in every circumstance that arises. If you feel discontent in any area of your life, it may be time to examine what your subconscious life philosophy is.
To begin, consider what messages you heard often from family or community when you were young. Things like “Life is difficult” or “You have got to be better than the competition.” These types of beliefs can put you into a fearful or defended state of mind.
Next, reflect on what thought you most frequently have about life now. Maybe you believe that “The Universe has my back” or “There are many paths to success, so I will follow my heart.” These philosophies enable you to be more proactive in choosing your fate. If you are someone who ascribes to the belief that we should “Be mindful and leave the world a better place” or that “Life is a school and we are here to learn” then you prioritize unity and cooperation.
By bringing the core beliefs you hold about life into the light of awareness, you can then determine if they are ones you want to keep, or change. Once you have determined your pervasive belief about life, assess its value by these three criteria:
1. Does it give you a sense of wellbeing?
2. Is it helpful to you and to others?
3. Have you had positive results by following it?
If you do not like your answers, it may be time to consciously create a new life philosophy. No one is holding you to the one that is not working, except yourself.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Assuming that, like most people, you would like a life of peace, joy and success, I suggest love as a wonderful life philosophy. Yes, that’s right, just love.
Love as a life philosophy is one of the most profound selections we can make and it alters our perspective on every circumstance, every relationship and every interaction we find ourselves in. To elect love as the guiding principle in our life is revolutionary. And to approach each situation and individual we encounter from the standpoint of love is profound!
Is this easy? Sure, when we are around people who are nice, and love us back; it will feel good and seem simple. But to love when it is inconvenient, uncomfortable or imbalanced will require a total paradigm shift.
We begin to chart a totally new experience of life when we start looking at it as an opportunity to serve love through what we can give, rather than what we can get. When we choose love as our guiding life philosophy, we stop defending our positions. We seek harmony over being right or getting validation. In the moments when we feel most needy of love and understanding, we stop and connect to the source of love that waits within, instead of thrashing about trying to get our needs met by others. We meet daily challenges by striving to live through love.
ALIGNED WITH LOVE
We have plenty of opportunity to practice conscious loving. It is a universal need we all share and because of its harmonizing and uniting effects, when we elect love as our life philosophy, we become magnetic and draw to ourselves even more love.
As we commit to the practice of loving without condition or recompense, the benefits are felt throughout every aspect of our lives. Rather than walking through our days dodging conflict and seeking to get our desires met, we flow easefully through our activities and conversations with a genuine smile in our hearts. We no longer waste energy in defensive posturing for attention or for acceptance, and any feelings of rejection become less intense if someone does not return our nice gestures. Rather than feel heavy-hearted, we experience a lightness of being within.
A TYPICAL DAY OF LOVE
TO SEE LOVE AS A LIFE PHILOSOPHY IN ACTION, LET’S CONSIDER A TYPICAL DAY.
1. When you awake, choose a self-affirming, loving thought to start your day, such as “I am a compassionate person. I walk through my day with kindness and love guiding my actions and words.”
2. Upon your first contact with another person, whether family, stranger or colleague, see them through eyes of love. Wonder to yourself, “How can I serve love through this person today?”
3. Throughout your work day, offer empathy and understanding to those around you, especially if disagreements arise.
4. After work, if you are with friends or family members, listen attentively to what their day held, or simply offer them a warm embrace.
5. In the evening, consciously surrender any tension in your mind and body. Choose a loving thought about yourself and whomever you are with.
6. Enjoy a peaceful rest in the energy of love.
Photo by Cyrus Gomez.