I’m buoyed up to hear how much time Patricia Cota-Robles gave to purification because, for me, that yields the most welcome and beneficial results among things I can do while waiting for Godot.
On the awareness path, what that waiting means is to watch and pay particular attention to things that are taking me in directions I don’t want to go.
I caught myself in one this morning – a habitual behavior pattern as opposed to a vasana or core issue.
Before anyone was up in the building (long story), I was putting my laundry in the washer. And I felt depressed.
There was no reason for it. Not even a thought preceding it.
That particular feeling of depression is well-known to me. It arises because I’ve just been hostile to someone and I think I failed in my resolve to be harmonious. At that moment, I have two voices going off inside of me: my angry and hostile father and my disappointed and harmonious mother.
The form the hostile message takes is not really that important. I may as well grunt. Stay away from me. Don’t mess with me. Etc. The message gets across.
But I hadn’t been having any thoughts like these. I hadn’t said anything nasty to anyone in days if not weeks. This is clearly the equivalent of a phantom limb, a shadow response. It had nothing to it or behind it. I was the one who would energize it if I chose to. And I don’t.
And indeed, when I sat with it, observing it, it lifted. Nothing happening here and away it went. It was a ghost thought, a habitual behavior pattern released from its linkage to a vasana/body and now just wandering, unlinked, ungrounded. (Is it now what Matthew calls “an energy streamer”?)
I’ve been short with people so often that it’s become a pattern. Patterns save us time. They also capture our “best lines,” “best looks,” etc., for the purpose at hand. In my case, it’s a “Grrrrr!”
We seem to cultivate these patterns in our teens. And then, like Marcel Marceau, we put our mask on one day and we can’t get it off.
And then I left behind the depression and actually did have a hostile thought. Here I was turning on the washing machine at 6:45 in the morning. Wasn’t that a bit early? And up rose the thought, “Who cares?” Immediately I felt uncaring. But this time I saw it and just sat with it again. It soon left with little fanfare.
I didn’t have to nuke it, resist it, project it. It left when it saw I had no interest in it and no intention of taking it up on its invitation to be uncaring. Sort of like dim sum. Not this one. Next cart please.
These thoughts, these habitual reaction patterns are ways of being I’ve practiced for decades. They remain. They persist. But they have no body to them now.
Remember that, in my out-of-body experience in 1977, the spirit was within the body but it had not yet transferred its consciousness to the exterior of the body; it was still inside.
By the same token, without the vasana going off or, in my case, as a result of having taken a stand for harmony rather than hostility, that which my habitual reaction patterns protected no longer needed protection. They lost their client. How are they going to make a living now?
In fact they leave and seek to make a living elsewhere.
In other words, they’re no longer attached to any live issue. I’m no longer hostile and it’s taking our patterned responses time to catch up.
The minute I detect I’m reacting in a patterned hostile way, now I simply stop, wait for the moment to pass, and begin again in concert with my new commitment to harmony.
Or I could simply stop and not do anything. Even that would be preferable to harming others.
I’ve called this “reparenting” myself (1) and “polishing the statue.” (2) It works. I was not at all a pleasant fellow decades ago. There were two of me: my father and my mother and they were perpetually at war inside of me.
So I’ve had to reparent myself, there being no one else available to do that job. And I can report that it is working. It takes constant awareness and commitment
The triggering of an habitual behavior pattern or patterned response is not an invalidation of the stand we’ve taken – in my case, to let go of hostility and embrace harmony. We might think it is. But we’re responding to a phantom pattern.
When I think about it, I have quite a few patterned responses going off in the process of leaving hostility. I’m fortunate that my friends are forgiving because this is indeed proving something of a stormy transition – and painful at times for me. Especially when I screw up and give in, if only briefly, to a patterned response.
I may be the only one who sees the progress. (3)
(1) Select “Reparenting” under “Categories” on the front page.
(2) “Polishing the Statue,”
(3) I went to the dental hygenist’s today. She’s a recent graduate of the Auschwitz school of dental therapy. I was crabby to begin with but my justification for a good brawl went up and up each time she electroshocked me … errrrr, hit a nerve.
However, I caught myself. And I reversed course (repented) and went another way. I actually had quite a good conversation with her and her dentist about what she had found, before I left. I abandoned my building fit of self-justified orneriness and kamikaze tendency to take the whole world with me.
No one else on Earth would possibly have seen what was going on. Not even the NSA. But I was happy with myself. This is progress.