Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

“In Touch”: Conditioned to try to control how we appear to others. Part two

IMG_0345

.
.
There are still subtler and more powerful fears around releasing the chronic inner grip upon ourselves:
.
we may lose control, become disoriented, and not know who we are.
.
Essentially, it is a fear of the unknown.
.
We tend to choose a known suffering over an unknown freedom.
.
If I am not a contracted, separate self, what am I?
.
What will happen if this tight fist—this inner contraction that relates to my core sense of self—lets go?
.
Will I fragment and go insane?
.
Will I be able to function in daily life?
.
Will I disappear?
.
.

“In Touch”: Conditioned to try to control how we appear to others. Part one

IMG_0344

.
.
Our deeper tension, however, is chronic and psychological.
.
We are conditioned to try to control how we appear to others.
.
We want to maintain an acceptable image within our “tribe,” whether that tribe is our immediate family, a circle of friends, or our larger community.
.
When we scratch the surface of a well-educated modern human, we find a tribal member.
.
There is a biological fear behind this concern for self-image.
.
Outcasts never fared well in tribal societies—shunning meant almost certain death.
.
When I explore my clients’ social anxieties around acceptance and approval, there is always an underlying fear of rejection.
.
Once they uncover this layer, I will ask, “Then what will happen?”
.
They inevitably discover a fear of being abandoned, becoming homeless, and eventually dying.
.
In most cases a secure middle-class lifestyle does not seem to lessen this primal fear.
.
.

Accept by Lao Tzu

IMG_0348

.
.
Because one believes in oneself,
.
one doesn’t try to convince others.
.
Because one is content with oneself,
.
one doesn’t need others’ approval.
.
Because one accepts oneself,
.
the whole world accepts him or her.
.
.
– Lao Tzu
.
.

“In Touch”: Awareness: The Witnessing of Thoughts

FullSizeRender

.
.
So far I have been describing different kinds of thoughts.
.
But what is it that is aware of thought?
.
What is it that is witnessing?
.
Something is aware of thought that is not itself a thought.
.
Some call it awareness; others call it bare attention.
.
.
The name is not important. When attention, either purposefully or spontaneously, turns away or steps back from thoughts, it relaxes into its source.
.
.
Attention is like a wave of awareness.
.
.
It arises to focus on a thought, feeling, or sensation and then resolves back into an open state, much as a wave subsides into the ocean.
.
.
Attention has also been compared to the lens of a camera that can focus when needed on an object and then defocus back to a panoramic overview.
.
.
At some point, as you simply notice thoughts, allow your attention to shift to that which is noticing.
.
.
What is the nature of this awareness?
.
.

Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.

IMG_0593

.
.
THE SITUATION
.
In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After about 3 minutes:
.
A middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.
.
About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk.
.
At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
.
At 10 minutes:
.
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
.
At 45 minutes:
.
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
.
After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.
.
He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.
.
This experiment raised several questions:
.
In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
.
If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
.
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
.
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
.
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
.
Enjoy life NOW .. it has an expiration date
.

.

.

“In Touch”: dialogue, the weather or people?

FullSizeRender

.
.
Many of our thoughts are arguments with reality—judgments that something should or should not be happening.
.
.
Have you noticed that reality never conforms to an ideal? Often these arguments are with other people.
.
.
We usually don’t argue with the weather; we see how it is and adjust to it. If it is raining, we take an umbrella. If it is cold, we put on a coat.
.
.
On the other hand, we tend to inwardly argue with people at great length, particularly if we feel hurt or misunderstood.
.
.
It is fascinating to see all of the judgments of others that arise during these inner arguments.
.
.
As we saw earlier in this chapter, it is freeing to withdraw these projections and see how they may apply to ourselves.
.
.
Thinking is associative; one thought will lead to another in a train of thought.
.
.
It is useful to observe this associative process and see how easily attention unknowingly boards this train.
.
.
As soon as we see it, our attention is off the train—it spontaneously disembarks.
.
.
Daydreaming is a form of inner train-hopping. Most of our thinking is repetitive. It is as if attention follows a familiar groove, like a needle on a vinyl record.
.
.
There are almost certainly neurological correlates—networks of synapses that correspond to these habitual thought patterns.
.
.
Occasionally our thinking is new and creative.
.
.
We make new connections, learn new things, and are sometimes inspired by what feels like a higher source.
.
.

The Inner Critic from the book “In Touch”. Part Two

FullSizeRender

.
.
Judging always creates distance within yourself and between yourself and others.
.
.
For example, if you believe that you should not be experiencing a difficult feeling such as anger, shame, or fear, you will not give your full affectionate attention to it.
.
.
You will ignore it, push it away, or try to change it. The same process of refusal applies to others.
.
.
If you believe that others should not be as they are, you will also try to ignore them, keep them at a distance, or change them.
.
.
On the other hand, if you approach your life with the question, “What is actually happening?” you will have a very different experience.
.
.
Judging always creates alienation. Nonjudgmental, affectionate attention fosters intimacy and understanding.
.
.
Judging is different from discerning. Judging is about determining what is right or wrong, good or bad.
.
.
Discerning is about clear seeing.
.
.
Letting go of our judgments does not mean that we lose discernment. In fact, judging is a distortion of discernment.
.
.
Once we are able to see through the mind’s tendency to judge everything dualistically, in terms of good and bad and right and wrong, we are actually much freer to see things as they are and respond appropriately.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: