Darbella’s Articles — Getting out of our own way

Fri­day was a pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment day spon­sored by our teacher’s fed­er­a­tion. The morn­ing was spent togeth­er as a whole fed­er­a­tion. There is only one loca­tion in our area that is large enough to have a meet­ing for our whole group. This loca­tion is close to my school and I had lots of unfin­ished work to get done so I opt­ed to head to school and work for 45 min­utes before the pre­sen­ta­tion. I arranged to meet a cou­ple of friends there so we could trav­el togeth­er and ease the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion at least a little. 

After two very enjoy­able and enter­tain­ing speak­ers, we were on our way to pick up some lunch and head back to our school for the after­noon part of the pro­gram. I opt­ed to enjoy the time spent in the car with my friends. I was in no hur­ry to get any­where and was sim­ply enjoy­ing the moment and the con­ver­sa­tion with my friends. 

I watched with amuse­ment many of the oth­er dri­vers who seemed in such a hur­ry to get some place else — exhibit­ing obvi­ous impa­tience as the stream of traf­fic crawled slow­ly towards the exit. I made a com­ment to my friends that maybe the oth­er dri­vers should just get over them­selves and real­ize that it takes time for every­one to be leav­ing at the same time with only two exits to choose from. 

My friend in the back seat quick­ly agreed with me and then added that the trou­ble was that we keep get­ting in our own way. I real­ized how often that hap­pens in life – get­ting in our own way. 

Say­ing yes to life in the present keeps us out of our own way. Yet so often we allow the inces­sant chat­ter in our minds to get in the way of our sim­ply being and enjoy­ing life in the present. Whether we are in an end­less loop of play­ing old tapes of all our past wrongs or run­ning the dra­ma of all the awful things that may hap­pen in the future – the result is the same. We firm­ly plant our­selves in our own way of sim­ply liv­ing in the present allow­ing life to be rather than fight­ing against it. 

Eck­hart Tolle in The Pow­er of Now describes this com­pul­sive think­ing as an addic­tion. These repet­i­tive thought pat­terns feed ener­gy to the emo­tions that we expe­ri­ence in our bod­ies. The emo­tions in turn ener­gize the thought pat­terns feed­ing more ener­gy to the emo­tions. Tolle describes emo­tions as ampli­fied thought pat­terns. In this place we are caught in an end­less cycle, firm­ly plant­ed in our own way. The pow­er of being present in the now can stop this end­less cycle. In the now, we can notice what is hap­pen­ing in our bod­ies as an observ­er of the mind. By sim­ply notic­ing and not judg­ing, we can get out of our own way and work with life rather than against it. 

Tolle tells of an “emo­tion­al pain body” inside us that can be dor­mant or active. The pain can be new pain cre­at­ed now or pain car­ried from the past. New pain res­onates with pain pat­terns from the past. The inten­si­ty of the pain depends on the resis­tance we have to the present moment. The more that you are iden­ti­fied with the mind, the more you will suf­fer. The more you are able to accept and hon­our the now, the more you are free from the pain and suffering. 

Wait­ing for the speak­ers to begin in our Fri­day morn­ing ses­sion, I looked around the room and took some time to notice how I felt inside. I was very com­fort­able with­in my own body. This is a very new feel­ing for me and I took time to enjoy it. 

I remem­bered many oth­er times in a very sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion where I sat engulfed in fear. The fear was a buffer zone to pro­tect me from what­ev­er was around me. I was so often immo­bi­lized with this fear. Look­ing around the room on Fri­day, I noticed how lit­tle there was to be afraid of. In the present there was very lit­tle to be afraid of. The dra­mas in my mind were a total­ly dif­fer­ent sto­ry. Allow­ing them to take over my life left me immo­bi­lized in my fear. 

Rec­og­niz­ing the dra­mas for exact­ly what they are, mind games to keep me out of the present and iden­ti­fied with my mind, I can more eas­i­ly let them go and get out of my own way. Stay­ing present and con­scious keeps the pain body from con­trol­ling my thinking. 

Tolle sug­gests that we focus our atten­tion on the feel­ing inside, know­ing that it is the pain body. Accept that it is there and don’t let the feel­ing turn into think­ing. Don’t judge or ana­lyze. Don’t make an iden­ti­ty for your­self out of it. Be present and con­tin­ue to observe. In this place you can get out of your own way and expe­ri­ence the pow­er of the now. 

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