The level of stress seems to increasing in our world. I hear about that on the personal level from many of the people I work with. The tendency for strong positional perceptions and their accompanying conflicts seems so prevalent, personally, socially, politically and globally: Wall Street vs. Main Street; Conservative vs. Liberal; Terrorists intent on blowing things up vs. Powers vested in Control, Wealth and Advantage; The Environment movement vs. Interests in Economic Prosperity; and all the “I’m Right vs. No, I’m Right, You are Wrong.” conflicts in our personal lives.
Each position is passionate, wanting and often demanding the Right and Quick resolution to the conflicting situation. I recently found myself in such a situation personally, with my oldest and dearest friend. The difficulty of the situation seemed to consume most of my energy. Various inner voices were running rampant. Inner managerial voices were intent on being the author of and receiving credit for accomplishing a quick and 'proper' solution, usually one involving either guilt or blame. Inner victim voices were attaching to feelings of being wronged.
The solution was not in some outer action, but in 10 subtle inner steps toward authentic awareness of a larger context of compassion, humility and forgiveness of my friend and myself.
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1. I have the years of experience to know that the first step is not to identify with these inner 'triggered' voices.
2. The second step is to identify with the True Self. I knew I was there when I could witness the various inner voices with compassion, curiosity and Presence. I call this Prayerfully Listening to the Stillness Within, the Source that is keeping me alive in this moment.
3. When it is hard to find the True Self. It is helpful to pay intent attention to your breath as it is happening, become highly aware of each inhale and each exhale, then go deeper and be aware of you heart beating. You are alive! Put your attention there.
4. As I moved my awareness into my True Self, I became Present, awaiting the Larger Context to be revealed. The inner triggered voices love to attach to details, facts, and right and wrong concepts, something immediate. These are the bulwarks of its position. My True Self was longing for something beyond all duality – the larger context where truth is found. I found myself sinking into prayerfully attention to the Inner Stillness.
5. In this place of humility I became Empty enough to be educable. As days and hours passed, I found myself in a contextual space that spanned both a sense of conviction, the humility of our mutual ignorance and innocence, forgiveness and compassion for our mutual human limitations and frailty. Yet at times the ego/mind slipped in, taking it all personal, attached to some tangible right and wrong, as I found myself lost.
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6. Once again I would refocus on the Stillness Within, the Source of my Life in the moment.
7. Slowly in the Inner Stillness, the desire to “be Right” above all else, was eradicated. This required a focus that demanded a profound level of energy to maintain.