Day 18

Video transcription

In yesterday’s video I talked about how the first breakdown in meeting any moment of discomfort in our practice is that we forget who we are. Forgetting is just what happens when something slips out of our awareness. Now awareness itself is a little like the viewfinder of a camera. It shows us what our attention is currently focused on. When you are curious about what’s going on around you, you turn your head in that direction and your viewpoint and awareness changes.

But the choice of where our awareness is directed for the more subtle elements of our INNER experience; our thoughts and emotions, is less consciously chosen. In fact its actually just a habit. It’s like the route you use to go to a regular destination; you don’t think about it, you just do it. So it is that our attention and awareness of emotions is in effect chosen for us by our sub-conscious habits.

And attention is naturally drawn towards the big and loud. So our inner awareness is naturally drawn to where our thoughts, and especially emotions, are biggest. And this is why we “forget” about our other cast of selves that might be present in any moment. They’re out of frame, and besides which they don’t feel as “real” to us because their emotions are much smaller.

But they are important too. Imagine your selves as good friends you have invited to a party. Just because Tom is making a lot of noise in the kitchen doesn’t make everyone else any less important. A good host makes sure that everyone is being attended to. So it is incumbent upon us to ensure that all of our selves are being remembered and attended to. This is the first type of self-remembering; remembering all of the stakeholder selves of this moment.

And who is this “us” that is doing the remembering? We can’t even see him or her in the frame of our awareness, and that’s because they are the author-director of the drama in this moment; they are our Self-author. This is the second kind of remembering which is capital “S” Self-remembering. And both of these kinds of remembering are implicit in one another.

And this self-remembering business is a practice in its own right. To do it requires us to “wake up” from the habit of where our inner attention is focused. Arresting a habit takes mindful and intentional effort. Its like someone told you that from now on they want you to fold your arms left-over-right instead of right-over-left (or the opposite, whatever is your usual habit). Its takes a lot of practice to do that, but eventually you could do that. Likewise, with practice you can develop your ability to consciously choose where your inner awareness is focused. And the moments of resistance and discomfort when it is time to do your practice is a great place to start. And that is because it is never more important to wake up from a habit than when we are trying to create something new and important in our life. Remember, habits take us to where we have always been, practices take us to the new places we want to live in.

We’ll talk tomorrow about putting this in action.