[SoulFuel] Zen. But not Full Time.
Updated: Jul 23, 2019
We don’t get to choose how and when we react… Or do we? And even if we could strain at the seams of human fallibility to consciously choose every reaction in every situation, should we? Even if that means holding in fear and frustration that would be better “out than in”?
The finding of the Pavlov's Dog experiment was that through repeated triggers and actions, conditioned-responses take deep root For unconscious human beings, operating consistently through the filter of ego that is the case (as I experienced through my teens, 20’s and early-30’s) But where Ivan Pavlov’s conclusions and my own depart is in context of conscious, awakened and even awakenING human beings So today’s Sunday SoulFuel is really about asking ourselves the question:
“Can we CHOOSE how we react, ALL of the time?” When I started writing this piece my head and my heart battled between a “yes” and “no” answer but with deeper consideration I find myself reflecting not on a de-facto answer but rather on UNDERSTANDING the “ALL of the time” element of this question I’ve found growing up through my teens and twenties that my tendency to “flip out” was rather too well developed; it didn’t take much for the sub-cutaneous fears and frustration to present themselves ingloriously to the world around me Through my thirties and so far in to my 40’s, the tendency has all but disappeared; except on the odd occasions when it presents itself in all it’s raw, unadulterated ugliness and that is really at the root of this piece Surely as conscious individuals, who have done years of deep work and thrown light on the darkest corners of our primitive tendencies, we should be able to present zen-like control over our reactions 24/7/365? If I can let something go on a Monday and Tuesday, why not on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday? If I can feel loved by someone unconditionally, unequivocally and unwaveringly, why do fears of the future occasionally invade my psyche If I can safely rescue a mosquito biting the shit out of me, why would the less-invasive actions of another human being send me immediately to red mist at 50,000ft? Deep reflection leads my heart to the conclusion that “what comes out can only be what’s inside”. And then some. It’s a concept that I first hear Wayne Dyer speak about as he described how when you squeeze an orange, there’s only one thing that will ever come out Whether underfoot, in a door or with a fancy fruit press, the ONLY thing that can ever come out is ORANGE JUICE Why? Because, that what’s inside When "feeling good” is inside and someone cuts across your lane to make an exit off the highway, you may put it down to risky but impressive driving skills On the contrary, when "feeling shit” is on the inside and the same thing happens, you unleash all manner of expletive riddled abuse at someone who you perceive to have put your life at risk (usually, a HUGE overstatement) But what I have found most enlightening lately is that as you deal with the surface levels of frustration by peeling back the layers of “shit to deal with”, the only buttons left to press are those that once lurked deep beneath the surface As the layers of easily-dealt-with complexity and conditioning fall off, that only leaves the really complex alchemy of fear, frustration, mis-perception and deep rooted pre-suppositions to deal with And when those buttons are pressed it’s like Dr. Evil just hit the Nuke button This is scary because the deepest buttons are generally only pressed by those people you love the most and those issues you care about the most because they are the things that you attach the most extreme emotion to Throughout my recent experiences buttons being pressed, in matters that are closest to my heart (family, philanthropy and injustice) I’ve found that there is an uncontrolled tendency to unleash levels of frustration (and possibly fury) that have become a distance memory for me and those around me It’s horrible It’s painful It’s hurtful
But with a deep sorrow in my heart (because there’s nothing more I want than to experience unrelenting love for others), I do feel it is a necessary and unavoidable part of personal growth to ALLOW those buttons pressed Yes, even if that catches you, those you love and those you don’t know, off guard What I mean is, don’t allow yourself to do the opposite; forcing a smile and pretending its ok is NOT conducive to your long-term wellbeing Hurting on the inside but being so conditioned to “hold it together” that you never allow yourself to express, or unleash your internal pain only ends in SUPPRESSION not SOLUTION The reality of personal and spiritual development is that as you strip back to your core or your personal reality, the deepest buttons left to press become exposed and just like a cliff edge being eroded by inclement weather; soon the cliff edge that once stood with grace at land’s end, will fall with an almighty crash, ungracefully in to the waters below… Just like the cliff edge, you don’t know when your own fall from zen-like grace will come and just like the cliff edge, it’s going to be a huge life-event when it does because you’ve gone deep enough in your personal work to make such falls a blip not a trait How then to deal with these momentary lapses in zen, take the learning and move on? Once you come face to face with your deepest fears and frustrations, the first step is to tend to the the wound that has been left by first understanding that people can only do what is in their consciousness to do; so forgive, IMMEDIATELY And that includes, no, that STARTS with you. Forgiving yourself for the indiscretion is your first step to stripping back another layer of your complex nature and removing said button from the fabric of your being Next, understand that often the emotional trauma is accompanied by a physical pain and an increased anxiety about “what next?”; stay present in the moment and put any fears of the to one side as you work to discover what the REAL reason for the flip-out was Finally, quite often, the pain is compounded by feelings of guilt and self-loathing; these wounds need also to be tended to by letting go of the “past”.. In cases where losing your shit is the primary outward expression, it’s the most recent past of being a douche bag that need to be let go of Just like a cut, tending to wounds does not heal them immediately And because it was the deepest buttons that were pressed, the cuts left behind are similarly deep I come to the conclusion that whilst the cuts may be deep, at least they are visible; unlike the invisible wounds that often fester beneath the surface of the skin and result in your being eaten from the inside Let it out, and then let it go Reach out, and then reach in You won’t un-do the hurt inflicted on others but you’ll at least disable another button for it never to be pressed again.. and that can only make you a better, more loving and increasingly more in control of “your shit” Stay blessed.. Stay zen.. But not full time...