Back in my Byron Katie days, for years I watched no TV, listened to no music, indulged in no social media (there wasn’t really any yet.) Instead, whenever there was any available moment, I listened to recordings of Byron Katie.
Why? Because I desperately wanted to feel better, to fix myself and make me right, ideally forever. And inquiry and listening to recorded help from BK was something I could do.
I had to do something.
I did it a lot.
Fast forward to today, where some of my clients use the time between sessions to cruise YouTube for all the usual wise sages and a whole bunch of not-so-wise not-so-sages. They’re seeking out every book, every eye gazer, every soft-voiced claimer of enlightened strategies for how to attain…
their own betterness. Their transcendence over self.
In sessions, we discover that they have no power over existence, that they may not be what they think they are. And then life and feelings and thoughts get to be "too much," and they look for something they can do about it.
You know I’m talking to you too, lovely reader.
You know you’re asking Robert unending questions, falling asleep to Rupert or Poe or driving to Hedderman or Tolle or Watts. Perhaps you even go to India or Bali or some retreat, as if the Do-Something being sought seek will respond better to bigger, grander actions, or as if what is wanted can’t be found in your own postal code.
The reason for all this activity is supposed to be to feel better, to understand, to get it.
Though all this activity makes for a doer. Which, as any self-respecting seeker knows from all those books, can’t be right.
Not to mention that getting better feelings, getting more understanding, comes, if it does at all, unreliably, unpredictably. Uncontrollably.
Inquiries make for better feelings, sometimes. Meditations, satsangs, recordings- only effective sometimes.
Clearly it’s not your actions making things shift. Otherwise shift would happen every time.
You keep trying, though. Because as Pavlov discovered, intermittent, only-sometimes reward keeps a behavior in place indefinitely. The subject learns, “Maybe this time, my pushing the lever will bring the treat.”
So here’s all this doing and practicing seeming to work for you sometimes. The lever keeps you at it and at it, seeking the treat, indefinitely. For years.
Find the right magic and take control of what existence brings. Then you'll never have to come back to this messy, uncertain and inexplicable human existence again.
Oh mighty you. More the doer than consciousness is, more in-charge than existence. The sense of I firmly in place as you gaze...
in the wrong direction. Because doing can only perpetuate and cement the sense of self.
Here it is, right here, helping itself by listening to podcasts.
Even though one can't get to non-doing by getting some good doing in.
What a perfect smokescreen.
Perhaps this is why it is so very uncomfortable to not do something, to wait, to accept what comes, to be at the mercy of existence. It’s bewildering, confusing, uneasy. So frustrating!
You don’t like it.
That not-like solidifies the sense of you further.
So what now? Because let’s face it- you’re reading this looking for what you can do about it.
Ok, so here, paradoxically, comes something you can do. Never let it be said I never gave you anything.
I'm offering this not because your actions matter one whit. I'm offering it because a person has to do something. Because it’s simply not possible to be alive, and do nothing.
So this is as good a thing to do as any other.
Try exaggerated doing. Try understanding extra hard. Try feeling extra big.
Don't worry about doing it right; it doesn't matter how you do this (which is the whole point of today's Tickler).
And then, consider being experience. Try on the possibility that you are the feeling, you are the urge to do, you are understanding itself.
Rather than the one who feels, the one who understands, the one who does.
What happens to that sense of self?
Is there a sense of self?
Not that any of this is up to you. It's not.
And if none of this makes sense, it completely doesn't matter.
You're just playing,
because why not.
So there you go!
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