Sunday, December 30, 2007

Musings: Having it All

This morning had it all: a perfect half-moon, clear mountains, rolling mist, which enveloped me as I walked along a road that was drenched in the night, though I slept through the rain. The air smelled fresh, sweet, and by the sign that reads “road narrows,” I breathed in the pungent, slightly medicinal smell of camphor trees.

But how quickly a scene can change! Before I even returned home, the mist had retreated from the pasture to the base of a distant cinder cone, the moon had been consumed by daylight and clouds spilled over the flat summit of Wailaleale.

Ran into Andy, and as Koko romped with his daughter’s dog, Shyla, he and I talked, as we have the last several times our paths crossed, of how to bring people on Kauai together. It’s a challenge made more difficult by the fact that, as Andy phrased it, we are so often turned off by each other.

Still, we both agreed, it must be possible to find ways to help people understand that we do have certain values, desires, objectives in common, and those are the elements upon which we can build.

It just so happened, as it so often does, that information came to me quite quickly that offered greater insights into precisely that discussion, and in this case, it was Dr. Richard Moss, speaking on the New Dimensions radio program.

I was driving home from the Laundromat when the show came on, and I pulled out a piece of paper and took notes because I recognized immediately that he was talking about what Andy and I had been talking about less than two hours before.

We look out in the world and see so much conflict, Dr. Moss said. The stories we identify with — gender, race, nationality, occupation, beliefs — continually put us in conflict with others who identify with their own stories.

That conflict exists, he said, because we do not understand how our minds really work — and that the power of awareness can change how our minds think.

If we are not in the present moment, there are only four places our minds can be: in the past or in the future; telling stories about ourselves or telling stories about others. And the only way to create harmony in our lives, and the world, is to continually come back to the now of ourselves, and stop telling and identifying with our stories, he said.

So much of what we’re doing in the world comes from a place of insecurity and fear within ourselves, Dr. Moss said, and just as we pollute the planet, we pollute the physiology of ourselves with messages like “I should do that,,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I need to try harder” or “I’ll never be/have/do enough.”

Our false sense of inadequacy drives much of our “consumer medication,” he said, pushing us always to find the product, house, car, relationship, career that will somehow make it all better. But inevitably it fails to satisfy because our discontent comes from our false stories.

So how to shift into a state of consciousness? Practice mental awareness: notice your stories, tune in when you’re telling them, question their truth, let them go.

Gradually, as we stop being so caught up in our stories, and the stories of others, we drop the judgment that is ultimately what keeps us all apart. Dr. Moss said. And then more and more our lives are spent in a sense of wonderment and gratitude, instead of anger, fear, doubt and worry.

We do have the answers, and the power to change. It all lies within.

Like I said, this morning had it all. Mahalo ke Akua.


Larry said...

Check out the early work of Dr. Arny Mindell, the founder of Process Work (not his more recent books, which are drifting into pop physics). It's not possible, if I can react in a "process work" way, to do away with the past. It will keep appearing in dreams and body symptoms. Things unattended to tend to cycle until they get attention.

One paragraph can't sum it up, but while being in the moment is good, I think, it won't put an end to life processes that are trying to happen.

Arny was interviewed on New Dimensions also, and there is stuff out there on the web.

Joan Conrow said...

I think we're on the same page, Larry. It's not about repressing stuff, or pretending the past didn't happen, as then it does surface in dreams, reactive behavior and often illness. Instead, it's about bringing it all into consciousness, looking at it and processing it, and by recognizing it is the past, and not the now, we can stop ourselves from continually identifying with it. Because that identification is so often done on an unconscious, unexamined level. Mahalo for the info on Arny; I'll check him out.