I was lost in the East End of Glasgow.
It was many years ago.
I didn’t have sat nav.
It was before smart phones.
And I was short for time.
So I pulled over to ask for directions.
The woman I asked thought for a moment or two.
Then she said:
“Well, I wouldn’t start from here if I were you.”
That’s really helpful I thought.
As I waited for her next pearl…
She was quiet and clearly deep in thought.
For what felt like a full minute or more.
Before nailing it for me:
“I wouldn’t start from here if I were you…..
….because you can’t get there from here.”
And having imparted her wisdom, she smiled and continued on her way.
While I sat quietly in the car
Wondering if she’d actually just said what I thought she had.
I was half-smiling.
But truthfully I wanted to cry.
I’d been lost for a full 40 minutes.
Driving around in circles.
With a Board Meeting to attend.
Which I definitely wanted to be on time for.
In the end I asked someone else.
I got clear and felt confident.
And arrived in the nick of time.
All these years later I don’t recall much about the Board Meeting that day.
But I can still hear the woman’s voice as if she’s talking to me now.
“You can’t get there from here.”
And I sometimes wonder if she knew just how wise her words really were.
Because what I’ve since come to learn is she was totally right.
When we’re so absorbed in where we are and we’re resisting it.
Or so caught up in trying to fix a problem.
Because we’re so eager to be or to get somewhere else.
And for things to change for the better.
We can’t get there.
Because the mind can only move us to experience what we’re dominantly aware of.
So, try as we might to be getting to a particular outcome.
If our dominant awareness is and remains on where we are, we can’t get to the desired outcome.
We may take massive action and if we’re fortunate, this may support us to make a shift in our awareness as we go.
But if our awareness doesn’t shift, we’ll only perpetuate more of what we’re trying to get away from.
Because trying with our awareness still tuned into what’s unwanted can only lead us to more of what’s unwanted.
Wanting and effort perpetuates wanting and effort.
I’d been driving around that day feeling lost and wanting to get to the Board Meeting.
Oblivious back then to the fact that my feelings and awareness of being lost and wanting could only perpetuate me staying lost and wanting.
Looking back I realise it was only by pausing, taking a breath and shifting my story from “I’m lost and going to be late” to “It’s fine, I’ll be at the meeting on time.”
That moved me to ask for directions.
And after getting them (the second time I asked); my awareness and internal state shifted to certainty.
To knowing I’d be there on time.
And although it was only after studying the mind for many years that I really understood how our awareness determines our experience.
The memory of that journey serves to remind me of the importance of our awareness and internal state.
Because what I know now beyond doubt is our goals have to be achieved internally before we can experience them externally.
Big goals are always achieved inside-out.