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Is Awareness enough to change you or do you need to act? - A conversation.

May 14, 2024
light of awareness shining through the dark forest

 

When the illusion breaks, it breaks completely. A magician whose trick is revealed, becomes a mere performer.

 

A conversation

 

“All you talk about is awareness, and how that is all it takes to bring about change. I recently heard on some podcast that awareness is not enough. You have to take action. I kind of agree with that approach. What do you say about it?”

 

“I agree. Except I have one question.”

 

“Sure.”

 

“Are you aware of what action to take?”

 

“Now wait a minute. You are just playing with words here. That’s not awareness. That's just knowing.”

 

“Okay, then do you know what what exactly stops you from taking the action that you speak of?”

 

“Hmm. I don’t.”

 

“You see, if I give you a map, and ask you to tell me how do you to get to a destination I point to on the map, what would you answer me?”

 

“Yes, but where am I on the map right now, and where am I going? Without knowing that I can't tell you how to get there."

 

“Exactly. Even if there was a map for living life, which there is not, we won't be able to tell how to get to our destination, unless we first knew where we were first. Unless I know what I am doing, I can't know how to act. Which brings us back to Awareness. The action you speak of, is just deeper awareness.”

 

“I understand. So how do I know where I am?”

 

“By being aware of what you’re feeling.”

 

“But a lot of times, I know I am angry. I am aware. I just don’t know what to do next. Or I know I am afraid of an experience because my trauma has been triggered. What to do next?  That's where I get stumped. I am aware of a lot, and I know a lot too, but change does not come. How do I bring about the change?”

 

“Change is not coming because every time you perceive your anger, or your fear, you are doing so with the intention of doing away with it. Kind of like trying to learn about a wild species of bird, by wanting it to sing like a parrot, or dance like a peacock. You are not learning very much about the thing, you are just projecting your desire onto it.”

 

“I still don’t get it. This all sounds very theoretical to me”.

 

“Think of it this way, your anger does not reveal itself to you fully, because you’re not allowing it to exist fully. You’re waiting for it to go. You don’t want to be angry.”

 

“So how do I transform anger, without trying to do away with it?”

 

“Accept that you’re angry first. Feel the violence rage inside you. Feel it, Be with it without condemning it. Be with it without calling it anger.”

 

He closed his eyes and sat with it for a minute or two.

 

“It seems like there is a lot of fear underneath it. I recently got angry with my wife again because of what she said to me about a problem she was facing at work. And what I am noticing is that I am not angry at her, I am just afraid…..for myself.  I am afraid that she’s going to run into the same problem with this person as she did last time.

And I am more concerned about myself, because she will come home and be angry about it all the time.

 

I am protecting myself. Not her.”

 

“That’s just it. How do you perceive your anger now?”

 

“It’s strangely lighter now. I feel like it may even be gone.”

 

“Anger is a response of fear, in a lot of cases. Fear makes you lose control. Anger is a way to gain that control back. Fear weakens you. Anger tries to make you strong again. This is why…”

 

“Anger is said to be a sign of weakness”, he finished my sentence.

 

“Correct. Because it is, but not in a negative way. In a kind of curious way. It teaches us gently about what is going on.”

 

“What about my fear then?”

 

“Keep looking. Where does the fear come from?”

 

“Hmm. From my past experience, looks like. From our past fights.”

 

“and…?”

 

“And my inability to deescalate the situation. It gets quite traumatic when we fight. I don’t like it at all. And for some reason she does.”

 

“Yes, because that’s the coping mechanism she has developed. You have a different coping mechanism. You avoid, she confronts.”

 

“That sounds about right. I do just want to avoid those conversations. I shut down and don't want to talk about it anymore. So how do I get out of this? I am blocked again. I don't know where to go from here. I don’t know how to process this fear.”

 

“Then feel. Feel your fear. What images does it bring?”

 

“None.”

 

“Ah no, don't give up now. This takes energy. Focus a little more. What images does it bring?”

 

He became quiet and closed his eyes. He was feeling that fear.

 

“Of this particular fight in which she lost complete control and got violent. She hit me.”

“Hmm. Don’t run from here. Now watch how this memory wants to pull you in. Tell me. How many years ago was this?”

 

“Three years ago.”

 

“Has she done a lot of work on herself, and improved a great deal?”

 

“Yes, both of us have. We have come a long way.”

 

“Then even if I were to bring a time machine here and put you back in that experience, when things escalated. Do you really think either of you will act the same way?”

 

“I don't think so. It is impossible for us to go there again.”

 

“That’s it right there. Stay with this insight. That you are INCAPABLE of experiencing that same experience, the same way, even if laws of physics could be bent. Do you see it?”

 

“Yes I do.”

 

“Therefore fear is a hallucination. Isn’t it?”

 

“It’s not real.”

 

“No it's not. If you can remember that your mind hallucinates when she gets angry, you will then stop becoming so afraid. The hallucination cannot work, if you know it's made up. It’s like watching a horror movie, while someone constantly is reminding you that it's all false. Those are actors with makeup on. Then the horror becomes a comedy. When the magician loses his secret, he becomes a mere performer. The mystique is gone.”

 

“Horror becomes a comedy. I like that.”

 

“Fear is a hallucination. When you begin to feel this deep down, you start becoming totally fearless. Then nothing can stop you from living the life that you want.”

 

“I want that freedom.”

 

“If your desire for that freedom is sincere, that freedom is yours forever.”

 

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