Purely and simply.
I am a Mom.
I am a daughter.
I am a pianist.
I am a wife.
I am a teacher.
I am a spiritual mentor.
I am a friend.
I am a sister to many.
I am so many things and yet when I look within, above and beyond, I am a deeper essence, something much more. My journey is to discover and remain present with that part of me.
I get in trouble when I believe things should be a certain way or my behavior needs to reflect a certain role.
What are your roles? What are your “beliefs”? Do you have a sense of being separate from those beliefs?
In order to do anything well, we as humans must be invested and identified with a role, however, that is also what gets us into trouble.
We can be identified with things like being perfect, being strong, being evolved, being spiritual, being productive and behind those identifications come the underlying chief feature of I’m not enough or I need to be loved..
We can also get set in mechanical patterns of self destructive behavior so we can live out identification with self hatred. We learn methods almost by default to keep ourselves from seeing the contradiction within us. We see only the negative results of our behavior and can’t figure out how we got there.
We often experience our inability to extract ourselves from negative emotion.
Negative states are the hallmark of identification and a good red flag to help us notice that we are indeed hooked.
Here’s what I do:
When I find myself in a state of anxiety, disgruntled and short fused, I assume right away that it is a result of identification with something. I set out to discover through bringing sensation to my body just exactly what it is. I don’t necessarily have to stop what I am doing. I simply bring sensation into the picture for then I have a chance at seeing something outside of my habitual scope.
I also don’t push that negativity away. i remain in the yes and no of it. I strive to be present enough and separated enough to watch and observe it without trying to change it. This feels like a subtle inner effort. It is the fight to get free by going against my desire to get rid of said “bad state”. Instead, I abide in the negative thoughts and feelings, watching what my body senses as well and there and only there, something can melt.
The fact that I have woken up enough to even try to struggle with the negative emotion means something is changing. Otherwise, i remain in my self pity or my guilt until something wakes me up, until things get so bad that I have to find a way out. If I don’t find a way around the “story”, I simply accept that and know that I have tried my hardest. Quantumly something has changed just because I am being present with it, but I may not perceive the immediate results.
We can carry things like being offended for many days, living in a moment in the past when we took something very personally. We can even live years in that situation, resenting and blaming. We rest in our comfort zone of blame instead of taking responsibility for our own feelings and states of identification.
I am not saying this is an easy process and I know that all of our first inclinations is to get rid of the negative state through some kind of distraction. We want the good and fight the bad with tooth and nail as if it shouldn’t belong.
The irony here is that the more we hide from it and push it away, the more it rears its ugly head and we find ourselves in a conundrum.
So be conscious of what follows your I am statements.
Let it be a cue.
I am can precede an array of negative emotions, self constructed stories, and hopeful aspirations. I am can precede spoken affirmations that never take flight.
If our behavior contradicts that said image of self, we falter and fall into false states of negativity which we believe to be so real. I am angry. i am frustrated. I am guilty. I am justified in my anger. The very I am in which we are deeply rooted results in our illusory world of suffering and we get very very stuck. We cannot forgive. We block ourselves from ourselves and thus from everyone else.
The only way out is to acknowledge this state of identification. Observing our “I am” brings brutal self honesty into the picture and if we have been weaving the web of deception long enough, it will seem almost impossible.
All the walls that have been cleverly built will have to come down.
Begin with the simple practice of noticing when you say I am and what follows that statement. For example, I am tired may have a certain flavor of “poor me” and that is what we must catch. We catch it by noticing the small things first, then gradually honing in to the bigger underlying story.
Let me know how it goes this week with attention to I am.
If you are interested in these methods of self transformation, consider joining the upcoming Practical Awareness Ecourse beginning February 14th. this course includes live group meetings, modules delivered to your inbox, practices to use for a lifetime and access to our online community.
For information about the course or an info call, click here.