Monday, April 28, 2008

everything is within

i am convinced, the more i learn and experience, the more i read, the more i watch other people and myself, that everything - everything - every single thing - that we feel or think about what's going on around us, is within us. someone behaves a certain way and i feel something in response? it's not what that person does that causes that feeling; that feeling is mine.
i don't have road rage. i'm lucky, i guess. other people do. i have lots and lots of compassion for other drivers. i'm not sure why.
i get afraid when someone's angry; other people don't. i've had a number of bad experiences over forty-seven years with feeling terrified when people i cared about, or whose reactions i cared about, were feeling strong emotions.
other people don't mind at all when people around them are angry. that's not what they carry with them.
i'm not particularly chaos-intolerant; some people can't stand chaotic surroundings.

but - i've changed over the years. i'm not nearly as afraid when other people are angry. i've learned this over time, by choice, by learning about myself and what scares me. i've stayed in situations without running, so that i would be tested and become stronger around this sore spot. i've survived. i'm now more able to be present, and not freak out or run or panic or scramble.
if i can do it with that pattern i grew up with, i can do it with anything else. right?

that's terrifying. what if i'm responsible? i can't blame the world around me for how i feel? it's much easier to be totally justified in being angry, or sad, or stuck, and feel entitled to feel what i'm feeling because it's not my fault.

but ... it's also exhilarating. what if i can learn to pay attention to what i feel, and learn about myself, about what pushes my buttons, when i feel fear, when i feel anger? what if i can look at where i am and what i'm feeling, and it doesnt mean anything - it's just where i am at that moment?
what if i can be aware of what i feel and why - and then choose how i will respond not only to what i'm feeling and thinking, but also how i will respond to the world around me?

this doesn't mean that i'm some guru sitting at the top of the mountain, or that i'm a trippy zombie walking around unaffected by anything. i'm not gandhi. i'm not jesus. but ... both gandhi and jesus had strong emotions in response to the world around them. so, that's a false construction.
rather, it means that i can stop, and breathe, and pay attention, and choose. it isn't a formula; it isn't perfect or canned; it isn't supposed to be. it's a way to know what's the dog and what's the tail. it's a way to say, Enough - i'm not going to be a victim, or powerless, or enslaved. other people's feelings aren't what's going to drive my life's experience. and i can respond with presence, and awareness.


Laura Jenkins said...

You said it, dude. Man, I want to live that way in response to others' strong feelings... detached enough not to personalize them, engaged enough to acknowledge them. It feels like a perpetual tight rope, but probably is nothing more than an altered state of mind.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that I am the author of all my feelings. I believe that there is a certain "fearfulness" that is inherent in someone else's anger; that is, the fear, terror, shame or anger that occurs in me when someone else around me is angry can be more of a perception than a feeling. So, when I take time to stop, breathe and pay attention, one of the important things is to question the accuracy and efficacy of my perceptions -- What is the nature of the stimulus?
"Accuracy" of perceptions is what you say about the tail and the dog - What is really going on here?
"Efficacy" of perceptions has to do with the value structure you bring to the situation - What is important about what I am perceiving? Once I have this kind of perceptive connection to the outside, I then have a basis to process, to know what to feel and, more importantly, what to do. I may legitimately feel fear of the dark, but I may transform the circumstance if I would walk in the light.

Joe Rutland said...

what if every thought, feeling or emotion was already a part of me at birth? i mean ... if that's the case, then i need more data. or do i? don't i have enough -- 43-plus years worth -- to be aware? maybe i'm aware but not awake. awake but not aware. what you offer here, sir, is like a giant brain twister (to me). a good one, no less. just does that tail wag? does that dog bite? does that bee sting? (ok, no Broadway here) ...

i shall be interested to see where this thread goes ...

much love to ya my man ...


Chiron' said...

I know, in fact, that I am not the author of all my feelings. I was born an empath and have struggled most of my life to find some way to learn how to separate the chaos within, from what is external. I have come to the conclusion that the only way to do this is to find what I call "inner peace". If I can find the space within which is the me of me's BEFORE I begin reacting to all of the stimulation of the both my outside and inside worlds, then I will be able to lock down in that space, and make THAT space, my baseline. The trouble is , that I believe we are all more than a little bit telepathic, and I myself find that even when I have separated myself from the rest of the world that I STILL, in point of fact, react to the outside world. There appears to be some sort of internal switching mechanism where once I fully disengage from the outside world, my internal world surges in amplitude to the point where I have been constantly overrun by extreme amplitude of emotion. So, I am really not certain any more what constitutes an "altered state of mind". I for one have never felt that I have accomplished that UNaltered state of mind. I have tried to do it all my life, and without any measurable degree of success. This of course raises the question (no matter how freaky) of "are our minds really our own to control?" If we are all a part of God's network, it actually makes sense that we should have a data stream or 20 that we are NOT necessarily in control of pouring into us at any given time. I have embarked upon a new direction lately, instead of trying to quiet my mind, I am trying to learn how to become comfortable with the constant data stream that is coursing through me. I think that THIS is the real key to the issue. It's not about silencing anything, but rather learning to separate oneself from the data-stream that is paramount. Once we understand and recognize both our ability and desire to accomplish this, it seems to me that what is actually occurring is that we are discovering our own unique energy signature WITHIN the chaotic pulse of life that connects each and every single one of us.
It is from this perspective that I find it easier to understand that in some very real way, that to be connected to the Divine, we become a PART of the Divine. A fact that seems to seriously disturb many that in some very real aspect, we ARE GOD.

Love you,