There are numerous moments in the life of our practice, but some that are more significant than others. Some require us to really pull out the stops; to concentrate all of our available energy to break through the toughest moments of resistance. And the biggest of those is what I call the “moment of truth” of a practice. When the thought arises that it is time to practice, and we meet our own internal resistance. In other words our community of selves is not all pulling in the same direction.
In yesterday’s video I talked about the fact that whilst we mostly choose the focal point of our external awareness, the same is not true of our internal awareness. Our internal awareness of thoughts and emotions is mostly driven by sub-conscious habits, and typically just follows where the “noise” is biggest.
I believe that letting our internal attention habits determine our awareness and experience during these moments of truth is the single biggest cause of why people are not successful in following through on their practice resolutions. Where we put our attention is a choice, and a really important one.
So what might be some more helpful places to put with our attention in these moments of truth? Well the first thing is to remember is we have a houseful of “guests”; our community of selves. They are all important and a lot of them have something to say.
That possibly starts with the self that’s standing for the pleasantness of the current circumstances. Its warm, effortless, comfortable. “What’s not to like? Don’t rock the boat Master”. Your Master hero clears his or her throat. He or she reminds everyone that they are standing for something new and important in our life. There may be other voices too. Someone yells out “it’s too hard”, and someone else “don’t be a woose”. Your Grunt hero is looking thoughtful and anticipating how hard it’s going to feel to get started.
And then maybe we remember our capital “S” Self, our Self Author. The author-director of this life drama moment. He or she might interject “Who else is for this practice?”. For me personally I’ve noticed these voices come up for me in this moment of truth;
- The self that wants to keep their word to their commitment
- The self that wants more mastery and control over their life
- The self that wants to feel proud of themself
- The self that thinks “If not now, then when?”
- And the self that asks “who is the person I want to be?”
And it can be really hard to find their voices amongst the noise of the uncomfortable emotions of this inner conflict. I sometimes find that focusing on my breath can be helpful. It’s soothing and helps keep me present and mindful.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for resolving conflict in a community, or community of selves. It reconciles when we realise our common ground and destiny. And it’s never easy to put “what is important” ahead of our comfort. I try and remember in these moments that any practice, it doesn’t matter what kind, is how I get closer to what is important to me as well as the means by which I get better, stronger, and develop my Self authoring fitness. Practice is the essential pathway to becoming the person we want to be.