The only agreement we make on the awareness path is to remain aware of one’s self.
On my path, I’m going through an interesting phase.
In the first place, I find myself preferring to do everything slowly. Walking, shopping, cooking and everything else I seem to be doing almost in slow motion.
It’s very calming. It’s gotten to the point that within a few slow steps, I’m present again. I’m around. I’m back. When I speed up, I go off somewhere.
Moreover, I’ve noticed that, as my Post-Reval job responsibilities either become better known to me or increase, my stress levels increase, and this increase in stress flushes up more and more protective devices – i.e., the defensive patterns that arise from vasanas or core issues.
But slowing myself down turns out to be a counter-measure to these. The pace at which I walk seems to reflect itself in the pace at which I think and act. My mind slows down as my pace slows down.
And I reach a point where I am no longer attached to my thoughts or feelings. I can watch them, dip my toes in them as if they were a pond, but still remain what Len calls the “Watcher.” (1)
Moving that slowly allows me to remain in an observer position with whatever arises – a judgment, reaction, emotion.
That in turn means that I don’t hook up with any of these modes of being; they slide right by me. Almost as if they’re predators who track prey by movement: Remain still and they can’t see you.
Moreover, while I still wake up sometimes, with the same feeling of dismay that I’ve felt since childhood, (2) I find that if I remain the observer of that particular feeling state too, it just slides right by me and I remain, again, in the center.
Previously I valued how much I got done in a day. Now I value how slowly I can move and have no thought on output. Either way the job gets done.
It feels like a permanent change in something – resilience, emotional floor, something else.
My life is an unfoldment of awareness. However, if I didn’t write these noticings down, I’d never remember them.
Another vignette, as it were: I was lying on my couch, looking out on a glorious sunset. And I was worried, about the same old thing I’m always worried about.
And a seagull landed on my railing. Anyone who knows me knows I love birds and so I had occasion to really brighten up.
Did I brighten up? No, I chose to remain with my worry. In my slowed-down state, I could see that this was a definite choice on my part. I chose to remain attached to my worry. I got it.
I watched me hold onto it until the bird, the occasion for the delightful moment, flew away.
Taking radical responsibility for myself, I call myself on what I’m up to: I’m hanging on to my worry much longer than it needs to be hung onto.
But even that is not the most important aspect of this noticing. What’s more important is that I saw myself as the creator, preserver, and transformer of my emotional states.
I saw myself hold onto a down feeling space in preference to an elevated one. I saw myself as the decision-maker in the matter. And that’s what really shook me.
It cuts to pieces my old paradigm that “you make me mad,” “I can’t help it,” and “I’m the victim here.”
It substitutes a new paradigm that I make me mad, I can certainly help it, and I’m not a victim here.
I repeat: I am the creator, preserver, and transformer of my emotional states.
(1) “Len Satov: The Watcher: Loving, Non-Judgmental Awareness,”
(2) I’ve earlier touched on how I’d wake up each morning (similar to what Jenny Schiltz writes about) wishing I didn’t have to go on with a life that was maximally discouraging to me because of my Father’s violent moods.
“Some time ago I saw the fact that I awoke every morning feeling dismayed that I’m still here.” (“Contributing to the Study of Vasanas as a Field – Part 2/2,
Jenny’s circumstances were different: she was in pain.
“The next 3 days I experienced excruciating pain in all of my joints, my back and had intense nerve pain that radiated down both legs. It was like I was right back in hell, right back in the time period where my eyes would open in the morning and I was sad I was still alive.” (“Jenny Schlitz: Collapsing the Death Timeline,”