It used to be said that the greatest part of soldiering was spent waiting.
The actual battles were carefully prepared for and occupied perhaps, at the most, days. Then there was recuperating, advancing or retreating, and preparing for another staged battle the rest of the time.
Soldiers somehow needed to come up with ways of managing the waiting.
We all face that one.
How I responded was I made myself a laboratory long ago and my life a workshop, one long experiment, so I don’t have quite the same difficulty waiting, as many might. Lucky choice.
I realized back in the mid-Seventies, at Cold Mountain Institute, (1) the sheer enjoyment of watching oneself around the clock, making of oneself the field of study. The proper study of mankind is man, right?
I now see that I was uptight at that time of my life. My life had great momentum to it. I had too much momentum to experience the more refined states for more than a few minutes a year, in spiritual experiences.
I needed to dig through the overburden with my awareness to feel the bliss I do now, when I turn the microscope on myself.
Now the very act of turning my sight inwards and taking a deeeeeeeeeeeeep breath brings up bliss from the heart. I suppose this may also be another indication of our progress, perhaps.
I no longer need to go through the drill of thoroughly examining my field of awareness. Unless I’m stressed, I go directly to the state of consciousness I want, either bliss or love.
What was my drill back then? Well, I’d always start with identifying my feelings. I’d get in touch with them, name them, and experience them. In the beginning I had trouble naming them, but that trouble disappeared over time.
Our feelings are what people need to know about. They make their decisions on whether they’ll help us largely based on their knowledge of how we feel. Urgent? Mildly wanting? Indifferent?
After that, the most important thing they need to know is our point of view on things, and this largely boils down to our conclusions and our decisions about them. From there, if we need to, we negotiate. Or share. Or make love.
Our conversations were about how we felt, what we thought, and what we wanted. The other person would respond in kind. All we ever really know about or have to share about is ourselves. All the rest is hearsay and at its worst gossip.
So I as witness would listen in on my thinking and become aware of things.
And then I’d freely communicate if appropriate – which we called “sharing” – so that I was no mystery to others. Discernment was needed, lest I venture into co-dependently blurting out everything.
I needed to take into account my listeners – in fact everybody. This was not about narcissism. This was about Self-Realization.
I’ve left a lot out – feedback for instance. But you get the flavor.
When I get tired of life in the trenches, which is mostly waiting, I switch into self-awareness and, in the moment, get to know this amazing creature who walks around in an amazing body. I have the setting for it now. It allows for self-examination better than anything I can think of short of a Himalayan cave.
I can focus on the waiting or I can focus on my own amazement. And just feel it. Just experience it. Eventually it yields to bliss, with the journey having been half the fun.
(1) In the mid-Seventies I took three months out of life and enrolled in a three-month encounter group. The second best thing I ever did, the first being the est Training.
It set my feet on the awareness path, a path that I’ve loved to tread these many years. No other path has brought greater rewards for me while resulting in the clearing of the detritus that blocks our view of the Self and the Self’s emergence in our everyday life.