“THE TIME IS NOW. THE PLACE IS HERE” - Dan Millman, ‘The Way of the Peaceful Warrior’
The key to change lies in being aware of what it is we are already doing. The first step after you have been Rebirthing yourself for a while is to regularly become aware of your breathing. I found that the first thing I learned to notice was when I had stopped breathing momentarily, then I could remind myself gently to begin again, and give a thought to the situation that had made me stop in the first place*. This is so important because it is the key to movement as we recognise and accept the situations that we have learned to avoid over the years. It is called suppression and it is a sort of denial; a pretence that any situation that we find intolerable doesn’t really exist, so that we can live in familiarity or security - whatever it is that is so important that we choose to lie to ourselves rather than face an uncomfortable reality that is different to the scenario we have in mind. If we continue to breathe through any threats or dangers that we may perceive, we are able to see and accept each situation as it really is. This gives us a number of advantages: we are dealing with only the situation in hand, not what may happen if...
we can concentrate on one thing at a time;
our minds are free to think of alternative outcomes to each situation, the right thing to say there and then - not later with regret;
we can delay the need to make a decision (which gives us time to think);
we don’t antagonise people by being more aggressive/defensive than necessary because we are worried about the outcome;
we are receptive to the other people around us;
we sense their fears;
we realise that they mind what we think of them too...
A way to practise being aware is to note what you can feel, see, hear, taste, smell as you do something. That brings me smartly into the present as I type this; I find that there is always something to rejoice about now, in the present, where I am, and this after all is I think what life is all about. We have to know where we are starting from if we wish to journey anywhere. If we become aware of something that we don’t like and wish to stop the first step is to recognise we are doing it, the second to love ourselves anyway. Only when we love ourselves as we are now do we lose the need for those addictive behaviours that we use to make ourselves feel better when we, and life, are not OK.
*By stopping breathing we are avoiding feeling things that we believe are horrid. Feelings that we don’t like to own up to feeling, situations that we have been taught to avoid, and especially to express or show to others. We have been taught that happiness is OK to express and sadness is not, some feelings are bad - even to feel, so we sometimes end up convincing ourselves that we really don’t care about something. We may need to relearn that crying is a useful, wholesome and satisfying thing to do when the necessity arises; that disappointment is a natural feeling after certain occurrences from time to time; that grief is appropriate to a change in circumstances and perceived loss. Feelings have their own natural timespan and they are a part of our lives. Expressing them sends them on their way and lightens our load.
How do we recognise the Vague Paradise that will be the end of our searchings for happiness? We cannot expect any more than to be aware - true happiness is to be in the moment, and satisfied; “ Whatever happens is perfect” . Nobody said it was to get all we ever wanted, and absolute “security” is there for the taking, we choose to die when we are ready (`though no-one can guarantee what happens to us after death...), when we are tired of trying to work out the riddle. Even when we touch upon it, it tends to slip away again. What are we here for ? To be unreasonably happy on the way; that’s it. Remember the goal is the way, not the end. When we are on the way we are living in balance. That does not mean everything works out “happily ever after” - or perhaps that’s what the fairytales were implying: that once on the way, we follow the path - not that there would be no challenges. That would be dreadful ! My daughter once said that this is Heaven; because if Heaven were as some people had suggested to her it would be boring and not her idea of heaven - a decent heaven would come complete with challenges; so, this is it.