Have you ever spent an afternoon having pleasant thoughts about someone, only to spend the evening having not-so-pleasant thoughts about that same person? Have you ever done a kind deed one day, only to follow up with a not-so-kind deed the next day? Of course you have. Inconsistency is part of being human.
You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You are not even your behaviors. All of these come and go, dependent upon life events, your mood that day, a flap of a butterfly’s wings on the other side of the planet. Everything is interconnected. Your thoughts, feelings and behaviors change from day to day, from hour to hour, because nothing is static. Life does not stop moving to take a quick breather.
Trying to identify yourself with some perpetually changing quality is a frustrating proposition. It’s like trying to sketch a picture on the surface of water. But who are you beneath this surface? What is it in you that remains steady while everything else swirls around you?
Your essence is pure awareness, consciousness. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. When in doubt, when facing an identity crisis, when feeling overwhelmed by life’s unexpected turns, try hanging your flag here. Do what you do, feel what you feel, but watch. Observe without judgment. Shift your attention from events playing out on the movie screen of your life to the movie screen itself. There is much power at this still center. You nourish this center by simply noticing it, remembering it throughout the day. This is what it means to be “mindful.”