For some, this kind of micro-awareness might smack of a kind of teeth-grinding effort to split hairs. For those who've been getting tired of the the roller-coaster ride of of living only for the senses, this might be a HUGE breath of fresh air. For me? This way of 'practicing' is my life...more of the time than not....except when I "forget".
There are some rich veins of Gold with powerful teachings that on the outset could seem either uber basic, or impenetrable. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is no exception. Somewhere around the 2nd Century BC, a Sage/Saint by the name of Patanjali composed his famous YOGA SUTRAS as a guide to taking each of those single steps towards Freedom that draw Infinite Grace to You.
In other states [when the mind is not established in its essential nature], the seer appears the same as the thought waves in the mind. (Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Book 1, Sutra 4...translation by Baba Hari Dass)
Whatever I focus on, becomes my experience. Said another way, "Where Awareness Goes, Energy Flows" (a saying made popular in the '70s and highlighted frequently by my friend and mentor David Elliott).
I live in a place (Los Angeles) that for most of the world is one big "scene". And what scene you move in here can seem to determine your social status. Or can it?
Are you and I cemented into a specific caste, wherever in the world we live?
Are our friends, jobs, relationships, preferences, and aversions all set in stone? Are we stuck with our current experience of ourselves and life until or if some "magical being" appears from thin air to change it for us?
Is the golden key to what to some may seem like a prison-cell of a life in our side pocket?
In my experience, that key has been with me all along. No one else has the key to my reality. No one else has the answer for me. Other people can have juicy information, but if I don't digest it and live it, it's just more information to gather dust on my already crowded bookshelves.
Digestion. What are you digesting? What are you not digesting? Any life-experiences that I haven't yet digested (ie; ones that still leave me with a 'bad taste in my mouth') continue to circulate through my thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, influencing how I see, hear, and experience the world around me, as well as shaping my inner experience of myself.
Oh ~ and it's not just the experiences that left a seeming 'bad taste' that stick around and mold my awareness, it's also the times and places when/where I experienced something great, and believed that someone or something outside of me was the cause, and have gone forward trying to re-create the same or similar situations so that I can hope to re-experience the same good feelings again and again.
However, the thing I missed seeing was and is the key ingredient. And that's what I feel Patanjali is cool enough to point out in this sutra ~ how I show up determines my experience, not what's happening.
What do I mean by "how I show up"?
Where I place my attention determines how I experience not only anything, but everything.
And there really is a kind of "inner musculature". Just like building specific muscles through consistent effort for something like rock-climbing, I can build the inner muscles for being able to choose where I put my attention.
For example (and I'm sure I'm the only one....ha ha), I have thoughts come up in my mind about other drivers that aren't always kind or uplifting (major understatement). When I believe these thoughts, my adrenaline pumps through my body getting me ready for fight or flight, more similar thoughts gather with the energy of "attack", and I'm no longer clear and present; I'm in reaction-mode.
I know I have a choice now. I can notice the initial thoughts that want to judge the person in front of me for pulling into my lane without using a turn-signal. I know that if I believe the judging attack-thoughts, my body will contract, and it won't feel good at all. There may be an adrenaline spike, which can be a bit intoxicating, but it doesn't feel like expansion or Love at all.
The attack thoughts only arise to protect me, in some sort of animal-like way. However, if I relax, let the attack thoughts pass, breathe, let my foot off the accelerator, I'm safe, and in no need of protecting, and in no need of attacking anything. When I believe the attack-thoughts, I become an attacker, and my reality becomes one of war of sorts.
As far as I can recollect, I never put images of war on my vision board as something to aspire to.
It's not my job to teach people how to drive. My job is healing. I'm a healer. And more and more often, I'm reminded that I'm a healer all of the time...not just when I'm teaching. When I focus on neutrality, when I focus on Self-Love, I can be a healing influence in any environment. When I allow myself to open, trust, connect with Self-Love, and let the healing expand, guess what comes into my life? People and experiences that reflect back to me where I am...in a place of Love.
So this entry reaches back a few posts to where I'm working with discipline...I'm choosing to be a disciple of Love. Choosing Love as my experience and expression is my discipline...is not only my spiritual practice, but my practice for a life that flows! May we both always be reminded of Love as the option of choice...