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Anna Donald
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“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Awareness, often also called consciousness, is an innate capacity that we as human beings all have. Working skilfully with the mind, we can strengthen our capacity to step in to a place of alert, spacious awareness. This place, a place where we have freedom and choice, is where transformation becomes possible. As Eckhart Tolle says: “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” George Orwell

We can choose to resist or accept our experience. When we learn to work with the mind, it is our attitude we train. We train our capacity to approach our experience with an attitude of non-judgement, or acceptance. This is where happiness lives.

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it… This will miraculously transform your whole life.” Eckhart Tolle

When you welcome and accept life as it comes, each and every situation becomes an opportunity to fly higher and higher.” Osho

“A moment of radical acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.” Tara Brach

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” Viktor Frankl

Through the cultivation of mindful presence, we can create space in our lives, internally – and, flowing from there – externally. We can move beyond blind reactivity, in to a place of wise and skillful choice. We can also choose how to relate to our experience. This is our mental attitude. This attitude is exceptionally important because it determines whether we are happy or unhappy.

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.” Nelson Mandela

If we want to see positive change in our external experience, we need to work with our own internal world first. As we develop our capacity for awareness, choice becomes available to us. And through choice, skillful action becomes possible. This is where true freedom resides, and the capacity to change our world from the inside out. This is how we can powerfully become who we really are.

“Personal power is the ability to take action.” Tony Robbins

“Do not doubt your own basic goodness. In spite of all confusion and fear, you are born with a heart that knows what is just, loving and beautiful.” Jack Kornfield

When we connect to our basic goodness, when we trust in our own true nature as loving and compassionate, we are able to meet ourselves, and the challenges we face, with kindness instead of judgement and self-criticism. From this place we can learn and grow, from this place we can open to who we really are.

“There’s a reason you can learn from everything: you have basic wisdom, basic intelligence, and basic goodness.” Pema Chodron

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” Carl Jung

Carl Rogers describes our human tendency to actualise, to fulfil our potential: “By this I mean the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life – the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature – and the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism, or the self. This tendency may become deeply buried under layer after layer of encrusted psychological defences; it may be hidden behind elaborate facades which deny its existence; it is my belief however, based on my experience, that it exists in every individual, and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed.”

The ‘proper conditions’ Rogers is referring to are empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence. This is the space that we will co-create in our work together, and one that you may internalise through the process. Cultivating an internal environment of safety, authenticity, kindness and non-judgement will allow you to flourish throughout your life, to actualise, to become who you truly are.

“You come in to this world absolutely like a plain, unwritten, open book… You have to write your fate. You have to create your destiny. You have to become yourself. You are not born with a ready-made self. You are born only as a seed, and you can die also only as a seed. But you can become a flower, can become a tree.” Osho

“The longest journey of any person is the journey inward.” Anonymous

It might feel daunting, and it certainly takes a dedicated and loving commitment, but the only way to find freedom in this life is by looking inwards.

But take heart, great treasure awaits the courageous traveller: “Insight. Intuition. Intelligence. Inner peace. All come from within. Pay attention inward.” Anna Goldstein

“Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfilment, for validation, security or love – you have a treasure within which is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” Eckhart Tolle

When we look inwards, shining a warm and gentle light, we start to gain insight in to our own minds. We start to recognise the ever-changing nature of our experience as human beings. Thoughts come and go, emotions too. Sensory experiences, and bodily sensations, are all transitory. Like clouds in the sky. This insight, and the new ways of relating to ourselves and our suffering that will necessarily flow from it, can transform everything.

“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behaviour. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.” Eckhart Tolle

“The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.” Jack Kornfield

We all have the capacity to let go. It is a choice. Once we become aware of those things binding our spirits – to the past, in the present or to the future – we can actively decide to let go, to release their powerful grip. Imagine what might open up! This is freedom.

“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty. In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of our past conditioning. And in our willingness to step in to the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.” Deepak Chopra

“Your happiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life, but from the conditioning of your mind.” Eckhart Tolle

As we cultivate our awareness, we can become aware of unhelpful conditioned patterns of thoughts, emotion, and behaviour. Once we see these patterns, they no longer have the same kind of power over us, and we can begin to work skilfully to release their powerful grip on the mind. This is the process of gaining psychological freedom.

“The moment you can see a raging river, it means you are already rising above it.” Mingyur Rinpoche

Tara Brach: “Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. Entangled in the trance of unworthiness we grow accustomed to caging ourselves in with self-judgement and anxiety, with restlessness and dissatisfaction… We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

“Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body.” Thich Nhat Hanh

The body is a wonderful ally in the cultivation of presence. We can bring our minds back to our bodies again and again. Resting there. Finding peace and stillness there. Relaxing in to being.

“Attention to the human body brings healing and regeneration. Through awareness of the body we remember who we really are.” Jack Kornfield

On this sacred path of Radical Acceptance, rather than striving for perfection, we discover how to love ourselves in to wholeness.” Tara Brach

This is the beginning of everything. Once we begin truly loving ourselves, it becomes possible to self-actualise, to flourish, to become a flower or a tree, to love others unreservedly, to awaken fully to the pulse of life, to breathe, to connect, to live!

“The heart is like a garden: It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” Jack Kornfield

Anna Donald

Anna is passionate about the cultivation of mindfulness and integrating that in to a way of being in the world. She is a committed meditator, regularly attends retreats, and believes in the full-hearted liberation that can be achieved through learning to work skillfully with our minds, through remembering we always have a choice, through reconnecting to our innate capacity for kindness, and through learning to open to the present moment, in its fullness, with deep acceptance.

Contact Details

Mobile: +(27) 833550022
Email: anna@annadonald.co.za
Skype username: anna.c.donald