After returning from the Phase One program at Haven this summer, one of the members of my group typed in everyone’s email address and wrote a note to the group letting us know “where he was at” since returning home and encouraged the rest of us to “check in” with the group.
Emails still filter in to our Phase One list with increasingly longer passages of time between them. I have noticed my reluctance to write to this group. I wrote a couple of time earlier on and then stopped. I continued to write to individuals and not the group.
After a lengthy lapse of no messages, several messages arrived in the past couple of weeks. I noticed again my reluctance to tap away at my keys and send a message to the whole group. I reflected on the fear I was feeling and recognized it as the same as the fear I experienced when I considered saying something in the large group. I was comfortable sharing myself in small groups of one or two and tended to be silent in groups that were any larger.
Sitting in these larger groups as the fear built, I began to see myself as more and more invisible to the group. During the program, I learned that this fear lessened and I felt more at ease as I added my voice to the group. It did not matter what I said or how much I said. It only mattered that I said something.
I recognized this same struggle as I considered adding my thoughts to the group email. Recognizing my need to move toward the things that I fear most doing, I wrote a note to the whole group and bravely pressed the send button. In response, I received several lovely emails from people I would like to stay in contact with. If I had chosen to stay in the fear and isolation I so often create for myself, I would not have had the connections that I received through email messages.
The fear I experienced fits in well with the tape I am listening to. Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now, suggests, in these moments of fear, to look around at the immediate situation. In that place there is no immediate danger. The fear is about something that might happen – our projection of the future. In the fear, we are living in the future — not the now. The fix for this is to firmly plant our feet in the now.
This living in fear of something that may happen in the future creates an anxiety gap in our lives. In this place, we have lost touch with the power of the now. We can always cope with the present moment. We can’t always cope with our projection of the future.
Our tendency in these situations is to make the problems complex. The ego loves this place and works hard to keep us there. The ego has something to attach itself to and in the process strengthens itself. Our sense of self gets wrapped up in the problems and seeks its identity in this place. Identifying with the mind disconnects us from our true power.
There is no need to make the problems quite so complex. The mind has an endless list of ways to distract us. There is no need to explore or understand why the mind does what it does. The tendency of the mind is to distract us from the present. Exploring why this is so simply achieves the result of distracting us further from the now. The “why” is not important.
Bring your focus into the present and simply observe what you mind is doing. Tolle suggests that we allow the mind to be as it is and not get entangled in it. He clearly states that the mind is a wonderful tool and only become dysfunctional when we seek to identify ourselves with our mind.
If we become our mind, it will take over our whole life. In this place we live through our memories and in anticipation of the future. In this place we are not acknowledging the present and allowing life to be.
As I sat in each of the groups at Phase One, I had three main choices. I could lose myself in all those past times when I was too scared to say anything. I could live in those past memories. I could project myself into my imagination of what the future might be and concern myself with whatever reaction could happen if I choose to open my mouth and let some of myself out. Or I could simply choose to live in the present and simply share whatever is happening for me now.
Notice how the mind distracts itself from the now. Tolle tells us to observe our mind and we will not be trapped by it. Notice when you choose to be in the past or the future. Don’t judge — simply observe. Feel the emotion and observe your reaction. The more you realize you are not present, the more you become present. Be gentle with yourself and simply bring yourself back to the present as often you need to do so. In that place, you can allow life to simply be.