If day to day life is like a backpacking trip, would you have an interest in what is in your backpack??
What is backpacking?
Backpacking is the ability to travel over a designated terrain or hiking trail with everything you need for a “happy life” being carried in your backpack on your back.
You may or may not feel you can choose the trail, but you do have control over what goes into the pack to ease your life experience while on the trail.
I love this analogy. It is simple.
If life is like a backpacking trip, there are only three components:
🍃 The one carrying the pack
🍃 The backpack itself
🍃 The terrain that you are traveling
As with all trips, sometimes the terrain is unpredictable and we do not find ourselves prepared.
Also, the journey is long and sometimes not what we imagined. Our tools, and ways of coping, are incomplete or outdated.
Checking and rechecking our backpack to become efficient and effective and carry the lightest load is the goal.
Component #1: The one carrying the pack is your life force
It is not just yours and it is the life force of all of life.
This life force is the aliveness that came into the egg and sperm that created your physical being, that life force will leave at some point and leave your inanimate shell behind to be cremated or interred.
While this life force is within all of life, it has a special quality in humans and some mammals.
This special quality is called awareness.
Awareness is the evolved capacity for me to know myself and see myself as separate. Here’s an example:
I can look in the mirror and know I am seeing myself. My puppy, on the other hand, can look in the mirror and start barking because it sees another dog and does not have the capacity to know that it is seeing itself.
Seeing ourselves as unique and separate is something that dolphins and great apes can do as well.
Seeing ourselves as separate is what allows us to create a personal identity and also become attached to that identity. In psychology, we call that your ego.
Your ego is something you make up about yourself and your identity while your life force just is, whether you think about it or not. The life force that moves through you and all of life is the unifying field or element that connects us all and allows us (through awareness) to know each other in unity.
The ego identity is what allows us to believe that we truly are separate, when in fact that is impossible by virtue of the life force that permeates all of life.
Seriously, think about that!
Component #2: Your actual physical form
What an amazing creation this is! We humans have evolved through the eons of time—from Stone Age tribes to modern mayhem and delight.
Your body and mine carry the memories of our ancestors in its very DNA. Our bodies are hard-wired (and can be rewired) for survival. We are most efficient at this.
In fact, your body has a mind of its own—preferences of comfort and familiarity for community, connection, predictability and safety.
The majority of these preferences and safeguards (85% to 90%) are stored in our unconscious and show up as automatic, emotional reactions and behaviors.
Think of it like this…
Most animals, but most often mammals, take care of their young until the young can take care of themselves. This protective capacity is hard-wired in our biology and it has evolved over time.
As modern humans, becoming aware of our evolutionary program is important. Accumulated life experiences also become a part of this hard-wired unconscious automatic capacity.
Awareness, your life force, your ability to observe gives you a special talent to observe your behavior and automatic reactions. This alone give you power over your hard-wiring.
Now, we know through science how to access these unconscious processes for an opportunity for change.
Neuro-physicists’ study our brain chemistry and help tremendously in giving us insights into our hard-wiring. Sometimes our body’s autonomic systems work in our favor and sometime they do not.
Understanding how our bodies are wired for survival and becoming familiar with our personal brand of wiring can go a long way to allowing each of us to help ourselves when it comes to alleviating anxiety and depression.
This does not, of course, preclude standard medical care, but in addition to it.
When your fears outweigh our ability to know peace, you are out of balance. While medical science knows that it can assist us to feel more in balance through pharmaceuticals, the amount we consume in our culture is a good indicator that we are not using our self-awareness in addition to medications to find new balance.
There is a wonderful book called Wired for Joy by Laurel Mellin that explains this very well.
In short, you are not just your body. Your capacity for awareness, which is your life force and the one carrying the backpack, has the ability to observe your body, detach from it, and expand past it.
You are more than just a physical body hard-wired beyond your capacity for change. Your awareness alone creates change!
Component #3: The terrain of life
Everything you personally encounter from conception through death makes up the terrain your life.
So, there is the terrain. It encompasses all the paths I choose and all the things I don’t feel I chose.
Let us review…
There is first of all the terrain (Component #3), then there is my backpack, my physical form…how my physical form (Component #2) manages the terrain. Most important, there is the traveler (my awareness), the one carrying the pack.
We are not taught to look deeper into these components without fear. We are not taught to make an easy distinction between these three components so that not only can I understand, but I can rearrange and discard, add new tools and processes and ways of being and thinking to our packs.
Here is a question for you:
What would it be like if no matter what the circumstance, environment, amenity, you knew you had your connection to peace, safety, and deep joy right there in your pack and you could easily access it?
The only reason you haven’t accessed it is simply because no one ever taught you how to find it and have it handy.