Step In: One first needs to be aware of what is present. Once one knows what one knows there is an active engaged embodiment. This helps one to detach from our thinking mind. There is a stepping into what is happening to fully experience it through one’s body. It is important to sustain this awareness until one surrenders into silence and stillness. Embodiment is more than feeling a physical sensation. We are holding our inner child wounding trapped in our bodies with acceptance and compassion that slowly allows for its release and integration.
Step Back: It is the belief in the solidity of the sense of self that leads to our suffering. Through discernment one can investigate and see how our self is continually conditionally constructed based on trying to meet our unmet psychological needs. The illusory nature of self is recognized. This allows for one to step back and non-attach to the sense of self.
Step Up: As one does not identify with the sense of self and ultimately does not create a sense of self, there is a stepping up. There is a transcendence of one’s conditional self into Presence. Unconditioned innate compassion and wisdom.
An old Chinese farmer saved up small amounts of money over a year to buy a new horse. Just a day after the farmer bought the horse, it ran away. His neighbour expressed grief, but the farmer himself was calm. “I hope you can get over this bad news” said the neighbor. “Good news or bad news, can’t say” replied the farmer. The next day, the horse returned to the farmer’s house by itself, and brought another stray horse with it. “Cheer up, we’re going to multiply our farm income. That’s great news” said the farmer’s son. “Good news or bad news, can’t say” replied the farmer and carried on with his work. A week later, the farmer took the first horse to his farm and his son took the second horse to follow his father to work. On the way, the second horse pushed the boy down and ran away. The boy’s leg was fractured badly. That evening back home, the farmer’s wife groaned “We will have to spend all our extra savings on our son’s broken leg. What a terrible news”. Once again, the farmer replied: “Good news or bad news, can’t say.” A month later, the farmer’s King announced a war on the neighboring nation. Citing a lack of foot soldiers, the King ordered all able-bodied men in the nation to get drafted into the military without excuses. The farmer’s son was spared because of his broken leg. Later, the inexperienced soldiers got slaughtered in the war. “You are lucky that your son did not get drafted. Mine returned with severe injuries. Many have been handicapped or killed” complained the farmer’s best friend. Unabashed, the farmer responded: “Good news or bad news, can’t say”.
This Chinese proverb points out the nature of reality that good luck can change to bad luck and bad luck can change to good luck. Everything has the potential for change and is impermanent. Follow the mantra of “Maybe” when anything good or bad happens. This reminds one of the possibility that anything can happen in the next moment.
A group of my friends get together to watch a movie. One of the people says: “I know a great movie. Everyone will enjoy it. I will start it now!” I say to myself: “Wait a second. The group hasn’t even talked about it and you want to start the movie. How inconsiderate and selfish can you be.” In this situation from a present moment adult level there is an evaluation that this person’s action was inconsiderate and selfish. There is “Outrage” at the other person for what they have done. However, when you get angry with someone else, is it all about the other person? When I was growing up the personal narrative I learned was that one needed to be quiet, invisible, not challenge authority (parents) and not create a problem. In order to protect myself I created the simple strategy of just being perfect! When this other person acted in a way that was totally contrary to my personal belief system it triggered a reaction within me. I transposed myself onto what the other person did and personalized his action. I was expressing “Inrage” at myself for an action that I assumed responsibility for and was not in keeping with what I needed to do to feel safe, loved and worthy. And why was the other person doing what he was doing? Everyone one of us has a unique story that determines our behaviour.
When you get upset with someone you need to remember that when you come to a crossroad of friction you need to:
Look Both Ways
“What is calling to be heard” both in the other person and yourself that is responsible for the action. Just don’t place all the responsibility for what is going on with the other person. Remember to look inside yourself to see what is being triggered.
Do you have something to sayor just need to say something
You are in a conversation with someone. Do you know what you are going to say and more importantly why you are going to say what you say? Have you ever said something and as soon as you said it you regret that you ever spoke? Do you speak so that you will feel better about yourself? To be heard and recognized as being smarter? Is it to meet the societal expectation of being involved in a conversation with other to support community and friendship? Do you speak to avoid the discomfort of silence? Do you speak to present yourself in a particular way to meet some unmet psychological need? Do you speak as you feel you have something meaningful to add that isn’t self-centered? If you say something is it because you have something important and meaningful to say or you just need to say something in order to be heard.
We actually have the capacity to be aware of what we are going to say before we say it. The words are spoken internally before they are vocalized and we can train ourselves to listen. Before you speak say “WAIT” that will create an intentional pause before your mindless speaking and allow you to tune into what your mind has already subconsciously and autonomously created to say.
Then reflect on WAIT that stands for:
Why am I talking?
What is the intentionality for speaking? Allow for the answer to spontaneously arise. There is an intuitive knowing of the answer to this question. It is in this pause between WAIT and speaking that will allow you the clarity and insight to speak skillfully without harming.