Marilyn Briant's The Pax Principles is a Red Ribbon Winner 2020 The Wishing Shelf Book Awards and Bronze Medal Winner Living Now Awards 2021
Choosing How I Think
Even though I have changed so much, I can’t always be the way I want to be. I know who I am but sometimes I am just not able to live from that knowing. My humanness gets in the way!
I accept I made mistakes before I came to know who I am. And I know I am still making some now, despite having discovered and accepted so many spiritual truths. It is just not that easy. The difference is I don’t beat myself up anymore. I do not dwell on what I did or didn’t do. I am kinder to myself.
Becoming spiritually aware means I understand that I will make mistakes. Has taught me there is something to learn from every experience. I only need to be willing to look at the choices I made/am making and forgive myself if it were not the best choice I could have made. I view this as a gift.
Awareness also allows me to be in touch with how I am feeling—helps me understand which thoughts, words and actions feel good, as opposed to those that do not. And even when I am caught up in my ego or find myself reacting to someone else’s negative energy, I am aware of it. I understand I am choosing my own path and that I can choose differently.
Having lived for so long not understanding I had a choice in how I think and how I Iive, I cherish this awareness. I am choosing my thoughts, my actions and consciously creating what I have in my life. I am full of gratitude for having learned to live with love—for myself and for others. I realize I will never be completely free of negative, critical thoughts, but I can recognize and replace them. I am choosing peace just by deciding not to be judgmental.
Perhaps this is the most valuable gift of all—the one truth that has changed my life in the most positive way—this understanding that I am choosing how I think!
Understanding the Rebel in Me!
When I am with people whose unkind thoughts and words destroy their own peace and negatively impact the lives of those around them, I want to respond with love, not fear. I choose to remember the painful effects of not living this way. And, in refusing to listen to my ego’s voice I am rewarded with a deep feeling of “rightness”, of peace.
When I was younger, I was a rebel. I rebelled against authority, against those who thought they knew me, knew what I wanted or needed. Against those who hurt and used me. I thought of myself as a free spirit, even though I had yet to find the real, spiritual me.
Hidden from me was the spark of light inside but nevertheless it was there, guiding me out of the darkness that was my world back then. I just didn’t realize I was imprisoned by my confusion and fear. But now as I reflect on my rebellion, I see it was my way of expressing the doubt I felt about what was supposed to be real or have some meaning.
Like many of us, even from a young age I had sensed the shallowness, the falseness of the world in which I lived. I was confused about the values I was expected to accept. The more I tried to fit in, to make some sense of it all, the greater my disappointment became when I failed to do so.
I remember writing a poem in my teenage years—Who or Why or What Am I? in which I expressed my heartfelt bewilderment about who I thought I was, about life and what had value. I felt an overwhelming sense of being lost and alone in a meaningless world.
I simply didn’t know I could choose my own path.
Choosing My Own Path
Now though, as I think about how I felt and all I went through, I can see that even though it was difficult, the path I chose eventually brought me understanding and peace. I acknowledge it was not a conscious choice, but my soul’s choice. I was guided to reject what made no sense—to discover the real me—and realize I could choose something else.
And I wonder if this is what happened to all of us who found ourselves searching for meaning and peace. We followed along on the road of life until we realized we were going nowhere. Until we paid attention to the small voice inside us whispering, there is a different way.
Yes, even though there are times I get lost—momentarily forget I am choosing my own path—I cannot unlearn what I know. I will always return to knowing I am a strong and powerful creator of my own reality.
With child-like faith I follow the light inside me. I continue to go against the crowd. With gratitude I accept responsibility for choosing my own path and allow my heart to lead the way.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 29, 2021: