Conversely, many of us are living as our false self, the part of us that has conformed to what we learned in childhood about who we are. We were taught that we need to be a certain way in order to be accepted and loved. After years of conditioning, we believe this is who we really are and have lost touch with our true self. The mind is filled with everything it has ever learned and is constantly monitoring what we think, feel, say and do. No wonder it’s so difficult to just go with the flow! Even though we know there is freedom when we flow, letting go is easier said than done.
Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy, said we need to lose our mind and come to our senses. Just talking about what we think doesn’t get us very far. Gestalt is a body-centered, experiential type of psychotherapy that focuses on awareness in the here and now. There is wisdom in our body that we need to access in order to be free. For example, something as simple as focusing on our breath can bring us into deeper contact with ourselves. We need to quiet the chatter in our mind in order to hear our truth.
Here are some suggestions that will help you do this.
This is a powerful tool for centering and connecting to your authentic self. One of the easiest ways to meditate is to sit quietly and focus on your breath. It’s not about getting rid of thoughts. It’s about paying attention to your breathing and noticing when your mind wanders. When you realize you are thinking, you gently bring your awareness back to your breath. Thoughts will always be there. However, we don’t need to pay attention to every thought that enters our mind. Just observing thoughts for a few minutes shows us how random and scattered they can be. Mediation trains us to put our attention somewhere other than our thoughts. With practice we can create a sense of peace, where we can distinguish the difference between thoughts and an inner, deeper knowing.
2. Awareness in the Moment
This is a Gestalt exercise that helps to heighten body awareness. Keep repeating the following statement and fill in the blank with whatever you notice about yourself in the moment. “Right now I am aware of……”
These are some examples:
Notice that the focus is on the sensation in the body (growling stomach) rather than the label (hunger) our mind wants to give the sensation. Life happens in the moment. This is where we have the power to change patterns that may be holding us back and keeping us stuck. As long as we are looking back at things we cannot change or worrying about what has yet to happen, we are not free. Awareness of where we are in the moment is the first step to change.
Listen to your inner dialogue. The way you talk to yourself now reflects what you heard about yourself when you were a child. You were programmed to be the way others wanted you to be. Now you need to reprogram your internal voice to reflect who you really are. Affirmations are a great place to begin. Start with statements made in the present tense that express what you want to be true, such as:
“I know that past mistakes are opportunities for growth.”
At first you may not believe the positive thoughts. With patience and practice, you have the ability to turn things around. What we focus on creates our reality. That’s why it’s so important to fill our mind with positive affirmations rather than the negative statements we are unconsciously repeating.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. We have become disconnected from ourselves and now need a little help reconnecting. Thinking isn’t knowing. Our mind thinks, but our body knows. Our journey is to discover our inner truth and to be free of the limitations and restrictions we put on ourselves when we need approval and acceptance from others.
Living life as our authentic self is the key to a life of inner peace, joy and freedom.