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Positive Aspirations

‘Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.’ -William Ellery Channing

I have been studying positivity for over six months now. There are many days when I have tried to make myself think or feel positively and was completely unable to get out of my fear or pain that held me. What I have learned from those moments, especially in my relationships is that when I aspire to simply being open to what is actually happening, positivity can and often does slip in the back door. I have always liked the idea of aspiration. I like the feel of it as it rolls off my tongue and I have always held the meaning dearly of a heartfelt reaching towards something high or great.

Yet aspiration also means breathing, or specifically taking in air. Our ability to breathe deep happens when we feel open and relaxed. As much as breathing is autonomic, it is one of the rare body functions that can be seriously enhanced through attention. It is not surprising that breathing is the foundation of most mindful meditation techniques. If you are truly watching how you breathe, your mind cannot run circles around you. Being fully present to the act of taking in and letting out air is one of the most fundamental ways to open to the world. In a very real and concrete way our aspirations both in breath and dreams create the world.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘Selfishness is the only real atheism; aspiration, unselfishness, the only real religion.’ Our aspirations and our ability to be open both with breath and intention connect us to the highest parts of ourselves. They define the courageous heart and the open mind. Aspiring is the action verb that can open your mind enough to allow you to see what is and the truth of oneness. In very real and concrete ways we are all connected.

Other moments, especially negative ones, hide this truth from us. By design the negative mind is in protection mode. The separation we experience both from our surroundings and the people that we love in a negative mind space often prevents you from seeing what is and more importantly erodes your sense of connection to the people around you. This mind is equally disconnected to your aspirations as well. Notice how hard it is to get a deep breath when you are stuck in a negative mind. Moving out of negativity might be as simple as getting quiet enough to breathe.

Openness and positivity feed on and reinforce each other. Our mind actually gets broader when positivity impacts our neural network. It shifts not just the connectedness in relationships but also in our ability to make conceptual connections. You become a better problem solver, able to grasp creative solutions that a more closed mind would not have seen. Our aspirations are more than just our possibilities; they breathe life into our days and connect us to our humanity.