Monday, January 3, 2011

Releasing Old Voices

I started the first Monday of the New Year with a two hour self-inquiry. I didn't realize that I was doing inquiry until things started coming up within me. I began with a half-hour meditation, light breakfast, and then onto journaling. I haven't felt the need to put my thoughts down on paper for three pages in a long time. Once on paper, I could see what beliefs I'm still carrying around. One belief after another, they kept flowing out of me. I could hear the voices of different people who initially put those thoughts into my head, but it was I who ultimately kept them.

I heard my parents' voice that went something like this: "You're not moving fast enough. You're not getting any younger. What are you doing with your life? It's too late to make that happen." And another voice said, "You need to be writing more. You need to do more research. What are you sitting around for? Self-inquiry is not going to buy you that loft you always wanted."

My heart clenched in a fist, I didn't move. I continued listening.

Then, I heard my own judgments. I could tell the difference between my judgments and other people's. I heard my own voice say, "I should let go of this writing non-sense and go back to school, get a real degree, and secure my future."

Then, a voice unbeknownst to me said, "What future?"

The clenching fist in my heart wouldn't release. I kept some of my attention on the sensation of it. The voices in my head kept suggesting that I stop sitting there and exercise instead. Fortunately, there was a deeper knowing that it wasn't time yet, that I should continue sitting. So, I sat. Then, I heard Byron Katie facilitator ask me, "What terrible thing are you afraid would happen if you stopped believing these voices?"

The clenching fist released my heart and dropped down to my solar plexus. I heard myself answer, "If I didn't have these voices pushing me forth, I wouldn't write."

Of course, realizing that that statement was another belief, I asked myself if I thought that it was true. I did, but not absolutely. My physiological reaction to that belief was subtle nausea. Immediately following the nausea, I escaped into the past briefly, engulfing myself with memories of the movie I watched the day before and how good it made me feel, then I proceeded to project myself into the better future when I would no longer have these voices in my head because I would have everything figured out by then. Knowing that the future depends on what I do in the present, the projections pushed me into the desire to take action. As soon as the body caught up with the head, sensations of anxiety returned followed by the story that I'm not being as productive as I should be. "Get up!" My thoughts insisted.

I stayed put. Then, I heard my higher self ask, "What would happen if I didn't project myself into some future moment?"

The reaction to that question moved the clenching fist from my solar plexus back to my heart, which if it had a voice would say, "I'm not doing what I should." And it came with a story. "When I was little I was punished for making the wrong choice. It's better to choose the middle way, the safest path."

In that moment, I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. "YOU'RE WASTING TIME!"

"Who's sitting here?" I heard my higher self ask.

I didn't attempt to answer that question. I just sat and felt the one who was sitting there. The one that was sitting there was not the one wasting time or making the wrong choice or making any choice at all.

I got up, changed clothes, and did my exercise routine.

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