I sometimes can get a little self-critical when I find myself wandering down a familiar negative thought path. I have the tools and training so why am I still having these thoughts?
Then I realize that even enlightenment is a practice. The Zen proverb “before enlightenment chop wood carry water; after enlightenment chop wood carry water” means that even the enlightened ones still deal with the issues of life and changing negative thought patterns. No matter what awareness, knowledge or training we have, we still need to apply it, practice it, and live it in our daily lives. Getting the awareness into our cells and brain pathways requires constant, daily practice.
As a lawyer, I hung out my law practice shingle; for years I had a management consulting practice; and now as a Clarity trainer and coach, I have a coaching practice. And, for the rest of my life, I am and will be a practitioner of above-the-line, positive thinking.
This practice includes being conscious of my thoughts — both those I’m proud to share as well as the negative ones that I need to bring to the surface of awareness. That way they won’t become an ineffective pattern or energy drain on my desire to live an enlivened life.
As with learning any new skill, becoming proficient in positive thinking requires going through the four stages of learning – unconscious incompetence; conscious incompetence; conscious competence and unconscious competence. Working our way through the four levels of thought changing skill requires — you guessed it, practice.
Many years ago when I first began coaching executives, one of my clients said “Hawk, one of the reasons I like working with you is that you seem to have your toe in the water just a little bit ahead of the rest of us. You are working on the same issues.”
Having just my toe on the path to enlightenment, and living with Cathy, who is many steps ahead on that path, I know enlightened people are just like the rest of us. They just have more practice. And, like Cathy and me, they practice it every day of their life.
I intend to still be practicing when my eyes close for the last time. It’s the practice that makes life joyful and rewarding. Finding mastery in any craft is a life affirming activity. So, gaining mastery in an actual life affirming activity has to be exponentially more powerful.
If you want an enlightened, energized life, hang out your own shingle and become a professional, above-the-line, positive thought practitioner.
Being a consciously competent positive thinker,
Gary & Cathy Hawk
If you would like a tool to help you in your practice, take a look at SHIFT, A Guidebook for Above-the-Line Positive Thinking.