This title refers something my friend Ben discussed with me not so long ago. And that was why do people say they are this or they are that, i.e. I am insecure, I am lonely or I am happy etc. His point was that usually when we say these things to ourselves we treat them as permanent qualities of our personalities as opposed to something that is being felt in the here and now. So instead of saying I am an insecure person, I say insecurity is arising in me now. This adds a whole new perspective on the emotion and it can be then treated as an opportunity for learning as you try to observe what is creating the emotion that is arising.
Since I adopted this approach I have change considerably. I no longer end up on a downhill spiral into the abyss as I beat myself up for feeling the way I’m feeling. So specifically in my case I am insecure … aheem … insecurity arises when I am around dominant intellectuals as I did not chose the route of formal education and instead opted for a life by trial and error which has given me strengths in lots of area but general knowledge isn’t one of them.
So now whenever a feeling arises I try and remind myself that it is most probably a reaction to something in my environment. It happened very clearly yesterday when I met some friends on the harbour wall. I was consumed with a feeling that was quite debilitating and decided to be still with it in the moment and observe. Later, on reflection, it was very apparent where that feeling had arisen from as I empathised with the thoughts of my friends there. I wont bore you with the detail.
So I felt quite chuffed with myself that instead of beating myself up, which is what I usually do when I feel like that, I turned it into a opportunity for growth with a positive outcome. That’s a major plus in my book. On further reflection regarding insecurity, I don’t feel that way when I’m on the beach by myself, or with certain other friends or riding my bike so what is it about this moment that is different. If I can remember to stay calm & step back from the intense feeling I guess there will always be a lesson to be learnt.
Another area that has changed the way I think quite dramatically is contemplation and specifically to wonder about the origin & source of any particular thing and as many different components that brought this thing into being. This doesn’t have to go back to the beginning of time but back to the limits of my own knowledge in the material world. For instance, an apple, to imagine it being delivered to the local supermarket by a large lorry, the lorry coming from the depot, the apple arriving by plane from Italy, being driven to the airport from the plantation, being hand picked by a local who is paid how much, back to the tree, the seed, who planted the seed, etc. There are an infinite number of avenues to wander down when pondering like this and each one raises my awareness to some degree and keeps me grateful for the thing in mind.
I’ve found this a great way to tackle impatience too. So if I’m rushing through the washing up or the cooking, because for some reason I think I can spend my time better elsewhere (totally irrational thought), all I have to do is try and imagine how this water got to my tap. The infinite network of underground piping all throughout the UK … the world, the purifying plants, the streams, rainfall, clouds, evaporation and the water cycle … and before i know it I’m not splashing the water over the edge of the sink any longer or trying to clean 6 forks at once.
Off to yoga now to try and slow the thoughts down somewhat and see what I feel, or if its a good day, to feel what I see.
Al lawago …