“In the end all things will be known,” was what the fortune cookie message read.
Just before I freed my fortune from its innocuous-looking cookie shell, I had the thought, “May this message provide guidance.” Normally, I would not give much thought to the contents of a fortune cookie. Yet, this one admittedly gave me pause, causing my mind to revisit a few poignant memories—some old, some more recent. Memories of when my actions or words harmed another or when I could have been more skillful, or when I found myself at the other end of someone else’s judgment or wrongdoing. I continued to contemplate the following…
Is my heart clear?
For an instant, I imagined my beating heart being placed on the scale of justice juxtaposed to the feather of Ma’at, Egyptian goddess of harmony and truth. Taking a deep breath in, as if to welcome honesty to the conversation, I made mental note of where my heart felt heavy. I then released my breath, as if to say, ‘You can go now, burden.’ As I breathed in, I thought to myself, ‘I forgive you (myself and others),’ and as I breathed out, I let go. I did this for several minutes until my heart felt a sense of lightness and ease.
Each new breath we take holds the possibility of greater awareness, love, and forgiveness. When we focus our attention inwardly, we strengthen our capacity to be self-aware. In the moments we remember to look, we can reflect and evaluate, “How am I actually? Where do I need to realign myself?” After all, self-awareness is not meant to remain trapped in a bubble, a mere visual, on the competency map of emotional intelligence—as nice a map as it is.
Each new moment is an invitation to practice being awake and aware, to be moved towards love, dignity, and grace. But unless we practice training our attention and opening our heart to make space for ourselves and others, we will inevitably get carried away by the perpetual stream of our mental habits and patterns of action and reaction. Then, when we need our awareness the most, unless we’ve practiced in its cultivation, we will grapple to summon its presence. Due to our lack of familiarity with our own awareness, we struggle to keep an open heart, and we compromise our decision quality again and again. In fact, we may not even recognize the key inflection points when what we say or do leaves an indelible mark.
Awareness IS our most powerful ally. It’s what allows us to be calm, in the face of own impatience, frustration, or other overpowering emotions. It’s what gives us the possibility to be kind, when it’s easier not to be. It’s what opens the door to remain clear, when our emotions have been stirred and our perspective muddied. If we can practice observing what we are feeling unabashedly, encouraging our hearts to stay open, and letting our emotions naturally subside, then we will gradually regain our perspective, our poise, and our generosity of spirit.
Let’s take a few moments, now, to reflect, and as you do, take a deep breath in, as if to invite self-honesty. As you exhale, imagine releasing anything that may be standing between you and your inherent wisdom.
What am I doing to grow my capacity for self-awareness and introspection?
Which practices am I engaging in that will allow me to react more skillfully to my own and others’ emotions?
And finally, am I at peace with, “In the end all things will be known”?