By Adilson Lorente

Wellbeing, happiness, and awareness

The year began with a phrase that someone extracts from the thoughts of a renowned author, passes on to many others on the internet and it multiplies as truth throughout the world. The phrase said: “Relationships are not here to make us happy. They are here to make us deeply aware.” The phrase is attributed to the prestigious German writer and lecturer Eckhart Tolle, who now lives in Canada.

As I also want to be happy in the New Year, preferably together with all of humanity, I thought: let's reflect on this position, based on two questions: How much does our consciousness depend on our relationships? And how much does our happiness depend on our conscience?

Much of what we learn in life comes from our relationships. But we could have the same relationship and learn much less or much more, right? So, most of what we learn depends a lot on ourselves, on our attention, on the respect we have for the other's way of being and thinking, on the critical examination of our actions and reactions and so on.

I believe that the relationship that most expands our consciousness is the relationship with ourselves. It is looking inward, examining thoughts, feelings, questioning the value of judgments. All without forgetting to listen to opinions different from ours, without prejudice, to broaden our understanding.

Let's practice: I always thought it would be good and stimulating for me to have a friend to accompany me on the walks I take at the City Hall Sports Center, here in Lapa. As it was not possible to set a specific time, I started walking alone. I soon realized that when I'm with myself – for real, without a cell phone, without sound equipment – the walk has its own rhythm. The rhythm of my body and soul during the journey. I remain attentive to my breathing, my thoughts, and the beauty of the path. In this way, I enrich my experience and harmonize myself with myself and the nature that surrounds me. It's a relationship that really makes me happy.

When I read, I am also alone. And I learned that, before starting to read, I must empty my head so I can focus my attention exclusively on reading. I can read with the desire to finish the book or to delight in its passages, following them and imagining them as possibilities. I bring the author's world to mine, and travel inspired by his creation, adding my own experiences. Reading takes on a proportion that goes beyond the text, penetrating the intricacies of who I am and motivating me to go further, under the impulse of imagination. In fact, they are choices I learned to make as a reader.

When I enjoy a song at a show, I have a type of attention, but when I listen to it in the living room armchair, following the lyrics of the song and paying attention to its rhythm and melody, I enrich the experience even more. Both forms are very pleasant and intense. In both, however, it is not others who enrich it, but the way I give myself to them. When I go to music shows where they sell the CD with the songs, when I get home, I have the need to listen to them carefully, I savor the lyrics of the songs contained in the booklet and notice details of the instruments and voices that I hadn't been able to capture at the show. They are two completely different moments. If I read something about how the songs were created, the experience is enriched, and I feel even happier.

In Spiritism, we see intimate reform as something essential and we soon think that we have to really polish the diamond of our existence, of our being. But how to do it? There is no recipe. The possibilities are endless. But they all depend on our attention, on our interest in improving ourselves not only in our interactions with others, but also with ourselves, at every moment of life.

In a world where beings live plugged into cell phones, computers, and TVs, paying attention to social networks that bombard information, images, and sounds, all directed by sophisticated algorithms, specialized in capturing the attention of creatures, being alone – me with myself and you with yourself – it starts to feel like a big challenge. When we are not sleeping or meeting basic needs, how long do we spend looking at the infinite content offered by the screens, giving up on ourselves, and how much do we pay attention to thoughts and feelings, focused on something we choose without the interference of algorithms? This relationship seems to have distanced us considerably from ourselves, doesn't it?

Someone could argue “but I only see what interests me on the networks.” Exactly, this happens because they send us information, images, and sounds of the type we like and so we see more of the same, along with the promotional content that sponsors its broadcast. How many times have you asked yourself: why am I wasting so much time on this and failing to do what I need to do? Have you ever noticed how tired you get after being plugged in for about an hour? Have you ever felt how your anxiety increases when you receive a lot of stimulation from the screen? Have you ever felt irritated after these observations? Have you ever had difficulty relaxing and sleeping after unplugging?

In the book The Art of Meditation, written in 2005, the author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, makes a fundamental recommendation for today: “Learn to calm your mind, relax your body and develop the power of concentration.” We can only concentrate on something if our mind is calm, allowing our body to be relaxed. Sounds easy? How great it was this easy. This is one of the biggest challenges to being happy today!

Many human beings need to get sick to decide to face the challenge of reconnecting with themselves in a conscious and loving way. Others need to suffer considerable losses in their relationships, such as separation or distance from children. Have you ever seen a family - parents and children - in a restaurant, all on their cell phones, rarely talking? Some, even though they know that there is less chance of being happy through this path, are unable to change habits that distance them from themselves and those they love.

Can you pay attention to your breathing for a few minutes? Let's say 15 minutes, following each inhalation and exhalation, making your breathing a little deeper. Start with five minutes and work your way for up to 30 minutes. Disconnect from your surroundings. Feel the movement of your chest and abdomen and relax each part of your body as you breathe.

Start walking and feel each step throughout the walk, how the body's perception changes with the movement and the changes in the path, the ascent, the descent, the flat terrain, the contours. Cross paths with people without losing attention, without letting your thoughts wander about how they are, what they think, what they feel, how much perfume they have worn, how many laps they are capable of doing, whether they are more or less prepared than you to endure the journey. Is it difficult? Certainly. Therefore, we train as many times as necessary, until we are able to be alone, within ourselves. Full of conscience. We can wander and lose our attention countless times, but if we persist, we will lose ourselves less and find ourselves more. Got it?

After mobilizing ourselves to solve problems and face everyday challenges, we need to learn to relax our body and mind to recharge our batteries. Tension allows us to focus energy and attention on solving the challenge. But then we need to relax again to regain physical strength and cognitive capacity for what comes next. We often see people who face normal everyday situations as if they were in a life-or-death battle, always with a lot of anxiety. For many of them, life becomes a journey of suffering. A permanently mobilized, tense body becomes excessively tired and quickly runs out of energy to solve new problems.

Returning to yourself, to your body and breathing, relaxing after challenges and remaining calm and confident when carrying out tasks requires attention and awareness. Almost all occurrences in our lives can be seen as natural and lived with tranquility. The walker's mind, however, needs to be under his control, just as breathing must dominate anxiety, imposing a gentle and affectionate rhythm, to oxygenate his body, giving him more energy.

A mind that often wanders aimlessly on or off the internet, does not reach desired places, gets tired and wears itself out excessively and unnecessarily, leaving us anxious, distressed, and unhappy. If you want the New Year to be different and better, review your way of dealing with life. Don't give yourself so much time to the excess of external stimuli that arrive from all sides, put your attention on solving problems, but, after solving them, turn to your well-being, your deep and pleasant breathing, your body relaxed, your mind calm. This way, recover the energy you need to move forward with the best of yourself.

Answering the questions asked at the beginning of this text, we should depend as little as possible on relationships with third parties to be happy or to become conscious. Our free will must be a passport to our greatest freedom – the inner one – and to our well-being. As social beings, our relationships are an essential part of our lives, but the better we are with ourselves, the more likely we are to get along with those we interact with.

If you are aware of yourself, you will understand with greater clarity and depth the messages of those around you and you will relate better with your neighbors, confirming the teachings of ancient and modern sages.



Solange Grande - sa.kardec@gmail.com



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita