One World Observatory, New York City. The Freedom Tower. I look down at millions of moving parts below.
Observing these moving parts of NYC, is like observing the moving parts of my mind.
The city was calling me. Throw out the budget for a month. It time to live in the belly of the beast, the big apple. No more $8 per night hostel in South America. No more $2 delicious plates of chicken, rice, and beans.
I moved to the heart of Lower Manhattan. The Lower East Side. Just south of the Greenwich Village. Just East of Soho. I loved it.
But I questioned my self from day 1. I was carrying pillows and sheets I borrowed from my mom (she lives in Jersey). I borrowed her car to bring those sheets to New York. I was standing Clinton and Rivington.
I wondered if this was an utter mistake. Can I really swing a $4000 month of expenses living in New York City?
My mind projected. I thought of going broke. Would I have to go back to a phone sales job, grinding the phones 8-10 hours per day?
Projections of failure. Projections of an empty bank account. My mind flickered with thoughts of fear like the broadway brightness.
I stared dating a girl from New Jersey just as I moved to New York. She’s from my hometown. A girl I really like. We went through that weird stage the first month we dated. You know that stage.
The “I don’t know what we are stage.” We both like each other, but both don’t want to show too much affection too soon. She’s still talking to other guys. I’m talking to other girls. That weird stage.
My thoughts ran like those tiny cars I see from the top of the Freedom Tower. A lot of cars. A lot of traffic in my mind. It drives me crazy sometimes.
Is this girl really into me? Is she still talking to that last guy she dated? What if I don’t impress her on the next date? Is it going to work out if we continue seeing each other?
I wrote in my journal about her. I wrote down how I acted. What I should have done better. How I could have said something different to her.
But then I have moments. Moments where I can step out of my projections. I transcend them. Instead of projecting future scenarios in my mind, I let receptivity take over. I take it all in. Without judgment.
I let all those thoughts flow in and then watch them float out. I have higher level awareness. I realized it’s just my monkey mind.
It’s not easy though. It’s hard to let go of thoughts about a big topic in life. Sometimes I can’t let go.
So they stay there, but at least I can look at them with a clearer lens. This helps me.
I simply enjoy each moment I have with her. I stop analyzing the future. When a thought arises or a feeling I have, I try to express those thoughts to her. I give her more credit for this, than my awareness. She’s helped me express myself.
I no longer worry about my budget and the extra money I spend in New York. I soak in the city life. I pay attention to all the magic on the streets. I focus on my work. I let the environment that I paid to live in, drive me.
So here are some tips I’ve read over the years. Tools that have helped me mentally, spiritually, or mechanically observe my thoughts. They’ve helped me let go of projections, and simply be more present:
T Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – Whenever a negative thought or limiting belief that didn’t serve him would arise, he would catch it and tell himself, “Thank you for sharing.”
Aldous Huxley, in his book Island – The native people of the island have trained wild parrots to say this 2 phrases, “Attention!” and “Here and now!” They fly around saying this as a reminder to everyone.
When my mind is wandering, or when thinking negative, I laugh to myself, and think of a screechy parrot’s voice saying “Attention!” “HERE AND NOW.”
Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance – The Buddha’s story with Mara. “Mara,” metaphorically is delusion; pain, anxiety, regret, negative thoughts, etc.
Whenever Mara would come into Buddha’s mind, Buddha would pay attention. He would not fight the fear. Instead, he would open up his heart, and accept it. He would look Mara in the eye and smile.
He would tell Mara, “I see you Mara, come join me for tea.”
Next time you find me alone at a coffee shop in NYC, I might be battling Mara in my mind. That fresh cup of green tea is for that hellish demon and that cup is on me. 😉
Eckhart Tolle – Be the “watcher” of your thoughts. Be the underlying awareness. Remember you are not your thoughts. Visual examples he uses:
You are the sky, not the clouds (thoughts) passing by. You are the ocean, not the ripples (thoughts), coming and going on the surface.
Mark Twain – “I am an old man, and I have known a great many troubles, most of which, never happened.”
Bad stuff you think is going to happen, just never does. And if does happen, the damage is never, ever as bad as you think. This has always been the case for me looking back on past problems. So remind yourself of this now.
Frank Costanza in Seinfeld – “Serenity Now” – Think serenity. Here and now. Or youtube this and laugh your ass off. Just watch comedy in general.
-The F*ck That Meditation – Jason Headley YouTube Page – This is a meditation for the non-meditator. It a refreshing wake up call to get out of your own head. This too, you’ll laugh your ass off, if nothing else.
Let go and Let God. My mom likes to use this line. It doesn’t get any simpler and more direct than that, does it?
Dr. Dre – “You can’t put a price for peace of mind.” – I remember this quote whenever I have to make a decision. Peace of mind trumps all. I try not sacrifice my peace of mind for anything.
Acceptance and Surrender – Michael Singer, in The Surrender Experiment – “What if life (outside your thoughts) has more to give then you can ever take (through your thoughts) from it.”
Michael said, his mind was always wrong when his personal preferences tried to make decisions. What always worked for him, was surrendering to what life had to offer.
Meditation – The still practice of breathing, watching and letting thoughts come and go. This is time and attention for my self, my body, and my breath. Thoughts about my life circumstances arise and dissolve. I can bring this mindset into everyday life.
Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching: “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking; the whole world belongs to you.”
Right here, right now, what else is lacking? Nothing is lacking. Everything is perfect. The whole world belongs to you. Stop trying to make it perfect with your thoughts.