Written by Soulvana member Bola Abimbola.
As social beings, we are conditioned to relate and associate with persons, events and things around us.
We gain a certain degree of confidence and assurance from our social and mental connections. Our memories are precious, whether they are pleasant memories with our significant others or unpleasant memories. These memories provide familiarity and comfort, especially when we feel out of control with how events around us are unravelling.
We may know we want a change, to let go of the past which holds us back, but we are not sure how or we may be frustrated from our past efforts to break free.
The good news is that it is possible to let go of unpleasant emotions and thoughts, by becoming indifferent to them. We can choose to break these negative familiar cords of learned conditioning.
Consequently, there is a dilemma between whether we continue engaging with our learned negative emotions/thoughts which might be frustrating, but give us some certainty or whether we seek more inner peace and clarity by becoming indifferent and just observing them.
Here, as with any change process, we come face-to-face with the fear of uncertainty of the unknown, fear of creating an emotional vacuum within us, of being a less interesting personality or even a less whole person. Undoubtedly, this can be daunting. However, as we trust and begin to tune into this practice of indifference, we experience a more peaceful type of consciousness within us.
In his book, “Realising The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle explains two types of consciousness, namely our object consciousness and our space consciousness.
The object consciousness is ego based and has been conditioned by our unique experiences. The space consciousness, on the other hand, is the seat of the soul where we are connected to all, to the divine energy, to God. It is from the place of space consciousness that we are called to observe and be indifferent to the negative emotions and thoughts that are triggered by everyday events around us.
As we contemplate the concept of space consciousness, we may feel it is impossible to control how events trigger negative emotions and thoughts and their constant endless nature. For instance, a situation where there is a real threat of being taken to court for some overdue payment or bill that was overlooked or not attended to. This is a real event that cannot be ignored.
In his book, “Realising The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle explains how it is not that we do not stay observant and perceive the events around us, but we do not engage with the endless stream of unhelpful emotions and thoughts, which in actual fact have nothing to do with the present event.
They are being triggered from past experiences. We benefit from staying in the present and letting go of emotional attachments to the past, creating a clarity of energy within us. This allows us to better take action that benefits us in the present.
It is at the point of emergence of these unhelpful emotions and thoughts that Eckhart Tolle’s book “Realising The Power of Now” guides us through a process of pausing, observing, breathing slowly and not engaging with these emotions, regardless of how intense they feel.
No matter how many times the negative emotions and thoughts come up within us, we just sit back, observe without judgement and not engage. This indifference, this act of not engaging with the feelings or associated thoughts allows us to experience space consciousness.
We simply step back into our space consciousness and observe the emotions/thoughts as we breathe. We may initially feel the learned urge to do something about the panic, but if we just hold and breathe, we find that a stillness emerges which ends the suffering each and every time. We feel at peace within ourselves.
It is from this place of stillness, our space consciousness, that we have more clarity, we vibrate at a higher frequency level and are more creative at problem solving. When we have emotional freedom from fear, guilt, shame etc., we are able to realise our best options and make decisions for optimum outcomes.
It takes practice over time to feel comfortable in space consciousness because of our familiarity with object consciousness.
We have learned to dwell there when our strong negative emotions and thoughts are triggered. Practices such as meditation and prayer allow us to experience moments of space consciousness that increase in duration and intensity with time.
As we become more comfortable with space consciousness, it becomes easier to trust and step into it when the negative emotions and thoughts of object consciousness inevitably emerge. As we also develop compassion for ourselves, our self-esteem, we become less inclined to want to engage with the negative emotions and thoughts, with pain.
The less we engage, the more our indifference and space consciousness grow such that we live less in the past and more in the present.
As we continue on our journey, it is helpful to consider approaches that allow us to experience less suffering from the past and more bliss in the present.
Eckhart Tolle’s book guides us into doing just that by stepping back, observing and not engaging unhelpful emotions and thoughts, which then transmute and pass through us, leaving the state of bliss and clarity that we deserve.
The journey continues ….
Bola Abimbola MBA is a writer, counsellor and advocate for women, children and persons with disabilities. She is a social change policy development consultant and a mother of two teenage sons. Founder of ERADA United Kingdom, Foundation Board Member ARISE Nigerian Woman, Foundation Board Member Beyond The Book Foundation Nigeria