The previous five posts show how it is possible to transform a difficult experience into a burgeoning source of learning and development. They also provide insight into the idea of punctuated equilibrium: how it can feel as though one is not moving (or even going backwards), before suddenly being thrust forwards onto a new level. This post is the last in this series, and takes a general look at what happened, placing it in the context of a number of different areas:
- My Script
- Karaj’s insistence that we have to be in the world
- The speed with which everything worked itself through
- The depth of learning available
- The contrast with the silent retreat
- And, whisper it, a shift towards a new way of being
One aspect of my Script is to play the victim and wait to be rescued. In this case I bemoaned the fact that I have to play the sales game in order to get on in life. Poor me! When I do that – and it is so familiar to me as to appear natural – I become entrenched in a well-rehearsed, theatrical play; a drama of my own making. Anyone who challenges me becomes the theme for a separate drama; a replica of the original, in which they, rather than the world, are the subject of my finger-pointing. It is a powerful pattern which has been repeated for the best part of 50 years. Fortunately, I have been working on it for the last 19 years, and this experience may well have the same script-changing effect as I recorded in the post, ‘Changing Patterns’.
Be In The World
Linked to my script is the insight from the 2014 post, ‘Making Everything Conscious’. It echoes something Karaj talked about from time to time: that although we can easily become withdrawn in our personal development work, we have to be in the world. The following lines related specifically to Karaj’s process. Now they relate to mine:
By making everything – my training, his life, our work, and this week – conscious, we have cornered ourselves and have no choice but to see how good we are. On day two of my visit, Karaj […] told me there is no hiding place for him now. He has to stand by his work and take ownership of himself.
This latest incident occurred because I stand on the cusp of something I have always resisted. And I resisted again. Never wanting to take responsibility or be accountable for what I do, I have tended to offer people only a suggestion of my work. I would put the onus on them, whilst all the while ensuring the exit door was available in case of rejection. I hid behind the notion that my work is obvious and easy for everyone to grasp; a tactic which easily gives rise to frustration when people don’t get it.
Now I finally have a format which explains what I do in the simplest of terms, for anyone to understand. The time has come ‘to stand by my work and take ownership of myself’, yet last month my script allowed itself one final flurry, utilising my anxiety to create a massive diversion from my own evolution. (I did the same here, too: ‘How I Manipulated Everyone’)
Speed & Depth Of Learning
Fortunately, the turnaround was impressively quick. As I wrote in ‘A Mental Breakthrough’, it took only 22 days to go from despair to success. A number of factors played their part. The intense unease created by the despair was something I have experienced many times before. This latest episode may have been one too many. I felt like an addict, hooked on drama, who has overdosed once too often and now has the necessary lucidity and desire to be clean.
Once the desire is there, I know what to do because I can draw on the solid foundation I have been building since my training days. In the post, ‘Meat & Potatoes’, I wrote about how everything we do, even the slightest effort, becomes part of the foundation for what is about to happen. This example demonstrates that beautifully. It simply could not have happened without all that has gone before. Moreover, when the foundations are substantial, the changes can seem miraculous.
Which brings me onto the book, The Untethered Soul. Mentioned in the previous post and lent to me by a friend when she saw I was struggling, it is a clear indication that there is a greater force at work. It arrived at the perfect time, underlines the whole experience, and clears the path for a new way of being.
Building continuously on the solid structures of previous breakthroughs, we create the possibility of transformation. That’s what has happened here. Everything combined to create the depth of learning I have experienced in just a few weeks. I feel I am in a place I was beginning to think might be beyond me. A place where I can let go of everything. It serves to strengthen a point I have made before: don’t give up because you are closer to a breakthrough than you think.
Emptiness & Chaos
Finally, the contrast with the silent retreat is unmissable. The experience in August was full of peace, emptiness and joy. This latest one was all about anger, unrest and chaos. Maybe that’s why it became so obvious to me that my affiliation to the dramas of my mind must cease. (Interestingly, right in the middle of these two experiences, there was one afternoon during which the exact same contrasts were present: ‘Connecting In The Stillness’.) I shall return to this contrast in my next post, the final piece of the year.
And so it is that I have navigated an intense learning process in just three weeks. From the involuntary, destructive reflex of a well-honed habit, to a breakthrough which ranks among the best I’ve had. It came about because of a desire for truth, persistence over many years, and grace. I feel lighter as a result of being able to let go of what my mind offers me. I see no reason why this cannot continue forever. Indeed, if this new relationship with my mind is permanent, it will be the second game changer of the year. Quite a foundation upon which to build.