Today I wanted to talk to you about the sharp edge of practice; I think the hardest part of building a practice. Which is meeting the moment of discomfort when our Master hero’s grand idea to get in shape or build well-being or whatever, goes from aspiration to action. Or at least tries to. It’s when the thought that we should do that practice enters our mind, and riles up all sorts of resistance.
And it is this moment in which the idea that we are not a single cohorent self, but rather multiple and conflicted selves, is most apparent. Each of them like a character in a drama. No bad eggs, just different selves with different things that are important to them.
Picture in your mind for a moment this scene. A stage with two camps of people and some obvious conflict going on between them. In one camp, lead by the Master hero, is the group that are advocating for change. In the other camp area the selves resisting change. They include the Grunt hero, although that is not to say that he or she is necessarily hard set against the change. Only, that of all of your selves, they are the one who has to wear the sacrifice. A good cause or reward is all very well, but it needs someone to do the work and pay the reciprocal cost, and that’s going to involve discomfort.
It would be easy to imagine that this scene I have just painted is a complete picture of what’s going on. But it’s missing the most essential component of it. When we read a book we only see in our mind’s eye the characters and the drama that is playing out in front of us. The difference in this scene though is that we are more than a passive reader. We are both the characters, or selves, in this scene, as well as the author of it. We are the Self-author.
This is the first breakdown in meeting any moment of discomfort in our practice. We forget who we are. Or more specifically, we forget that we are MORE than who we think of ourself as, AND more importantly, we forget that we are the director of this whole frickin drama.
This is because of a psychological phenomenon known as “identification”. All that means is that the viewpoint through which we are experiencing a certain situation is unconsciously dominated by a particular perspective.
In any drama, our attention is naturally drawn to where the action seems biggest, and the emotions are strongest. The camera zooms in on our Grunt, who is kneeling on the ground with his palm pushed into his forehead. And in this little moment-of-meeting-our-practice scene, our attention is pulled to them, and their emotions draw us into their point of view. We are now only experiencing this scene through one viewpoint.
From this perspective it’s really difficult for either our Master’s camp, or indeed our Selfiest self, our Self-author, to create a different narrative. In tomorrow’s video we’ll talk about how our Self-Author can start to take back some control over our drama.
Until then, have a great day.