Monday, November 17, 2014

Home-Ec Through Neglect!

I made a raisin through neglect! In my car!

I was road tripping, and my girlfriend was feeding me grapes. (it sounds romantic but it was actually just a way to save time by cutting out the rest stops for meals.) and she missed my mouth and the grape tumbled somewhere beneath my seat.

Several weeks later, when I finally took all my stuff out of my car, as I was cleaning up, I remembered the grape and went to look for it, fearing a giant mass of blue mold fuzz. instead I found a perfect raisin, tucked away by one of the supporting struts of the front seat.

So in case any of  you are wondering how to make raisins, apparently leaving some grapes in your car over the summer with the windows up will do it, even if the grapes are in a dark location.

Now you know.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Judgments interaction with Non-Judgmental Felt Bodily Sense

It's so clear. Almost immediately, upon switching to feeling my bodily sensations, it is so obvious to me what all the judgments I'm carrying around do to me: they make me sick, they sap my boy, and even now, talking about it, I feel them judging that I'm judging things. God, I can't let my mind on them for a second or them multiply and scurry off in all directions like some sci-fi horror creature.

The Right Tools for the Job

I was scribbling this away furiously in my journal and realized I could and should share it on my blog. So first a bit of repeating myself to myself:

One of my teachers reminded me that I sometimes, when faced with what he calls, 'an opportunity for growth' and what I think of as a recurring pattern of behavior and/or thinking that causes me suffering (they're not really the same thing, his term is more all encompassing and, unlike mine, non-judgmental, but I'll talk about judgment in a moment.) Anyways, faced with those critical points, I often go into circular thinking patters, trying to out-think the problem, when that is not an effective solution.

Sometimes that is an effective solution. I've used my mind to dissect and become aware of, a lot of thinking patterns that weren't serving me. But there were also plenty of blocks that have come up that were stubbornly resistant to that approach. And because that was the only approach I knew about, I ended up collecting them, so eventually the issues that came up were almost all emotional, energetic blocks that were resistant to my current way of trying to deal with them.

It was like I had been using a thorn to remove a thorn that was stuck in me. My thinking removing troublesome thinking patterns (removing is a simplification and fundamentally inaccurate: it was always awareness that led to change: my conscious mind becoming aware of the thinking patterns, and that awareness allowing change to take place. As an analogy, I can't physically 'make' a plant grow by flexing my muscles enough. I can put it in sunlight, and give it water, and it will grow on it's own.)

But with some of these issues, it was more like trying to use a corkscrew to remove a screw. Sounds like it should work, but decidedly ineffective. Maybe if you mess around for long enough and the screw isn't too hard to get to, it will work anyways.

But then I learned a more effective, more free form method for dealing with the emotional side of things. I'm not giving a tutorial here, but in a nutshell, I would just dance around a bit, making grunting sounds or ranting or whatever came out, expressing physically what the feelings were, that were going on in me. It had nothing to do with, "thinking it out," and was wildly more effective with all the emotional blocks that had been piling up on the todo list. I did this extensively for years, until I was clear of the backlog, and then just as needed. I finally had a screwdriver.

However, I now find myself in a similar problem: There are a few big issues that remain, and they remain because I'm confused about how to handle them. I'm trying to figure them out when really they just need to be felt out. That can be easy to miss because the part of me that thinks verbally not only can't deal with it effectively itself, but doesn't know who it should go to, to deal with it. It is my emotional intelligence which recognizes it, and what needs to be done, but that intuitive side of me is non-verbal, and thus the verbal mind can just chatter right over it and drown it out, not even noticing it raising it's hand with an answer. Not even  understanding that the feeling I'm getting is a communication saying, "hey there, this is my job, let me take over."

Not only that, but this talk-y part of me has a really hard time letting go. Real control freak. Doesn't even realize he's being a control freak.

In any case.

I am learning.

And the challenge of the week is Judgment. I am super, hyper critical of myself. And, frankly, I'm quite critical of the rest of the world, though I try to keep that to myself, since I know in a general way that putting value judgments on others is unkind and usually inaccurate as well. I can't stop the judgments from  happening, but I can at least contain them, like radio-active waste, until I can figure out how to safely dispose of them. But this judgmentalism is impossible for the mind to deal with. If I say, "oh, I'm being judgmental, I should stop that." That in itself has a bitter judgmental air to it. Oh no, I'm doing it again, how bad of me. And thus that cycle continues.

The ability to judge and compare things is an inherent quality of our linear verbal minds, and it's not fundamentally bad, it can be quite useful in getting stuff done. Is this bridge safe enough, is this person trustworthy, is this edible. But when it starts labeling things good and bad, it is usurping the job of our intuitive, non-verbal, feeling intelligence. (I'm grasping for ways to describe this mind here. I suppose you could call it the 'Right Brain' or 'Whole Brain' or something, from pop psychology.)

It is our feelings that value things, and if we let that part of ourselves be in charge of valuing, it will do it's job well. But we get all mixed up with what we've been told, or read or seen from other people. We (I) don't fundamentally trust our feelings to guide us well, and by doing so, we fulfill that prophecy, dulling our communication with that part of ourselves and filing us with all sorts of mixed messages and thus confusion.

In any case. To conclude, the answer lies in simplicity. This whole thing can get endlessly complex. It's amazing how smart our brains can be when we're working to outsmart ourselves. We end up spinning our thinking wheels like a hamster on meth, getting nowhere, trapped in old and painful patterns. And there is no way out, from inside that way of thinking and functioning. You need an entire system shift. And the verbal mind wants to do it all so badly, for most of us. It will try to make the system shift happen, it will try to act like the other system. But it can't.

The only way out is to realize the verbal, 'thinking' mind can't do this. And let it go, let go of trying to 'figure it out,' and use some method to go straight to the feelings. Sometimes I dance around, swearing under my breath, sometimes I just pay attention to the physical sensations of my body. Whatever works for you. It can be tricky, so having someone who knows what they're doing teach you can help. It certainly has with me.

And with that, I end. Time to get out of the verbal mind for a bit.