The other week in the Live book Group for The Complete Book of Awakening, a group member said “I know having a goal of a better life only clutters up the awakening process, but will awakening make life better?”
Here’s what I wrote the next day, in the discussion space for the Book Group. I wondered if you’d like to read it too. The member’s name has been changed (to Bob — my favourite general name!):
I was reflecting on something Bob said last night about whether it gets better, knowing ourselves as awareness, even though he appreciated having ‘better’ as a goal would only cloud the exploration.
And I had a recognition of something that’s changed for me, and which the call — and many other calls and partnership activities have — provided evidence for.
In the past, if I was co-facilitating with another coach or trainer, there was always a sense of competition. Will I say my bit well enough? Will some of the delegates think I’m more capable? Or less? If the other coach or trainer was appreciated for something they’d said or done I instantly took that as ‘that means I’m not good enough, I must try harder.’
In fact all of this was taken as ‘evidence’ for having to try harder, work harder, make sure I know my stuff better, learn what I want to say in advance, go on more courses, get more qualifications to prove you’re better…
Which resulted in alot of effort, alot of vigilance for how much appreciation I was getting vs the other, feeling self-conscious when saying my bit in case I got it wrong and didn’t get approval. Feeling useless if the other was appreciated.
It all sounds quite dramatic as I write it now. It didn’t feel dramatic at the time — it was just the norm. It was the background tension that we talked about at the end of last night. The always-on tension. Always checking if I was doing it right. The effort of all the hard work that went into that. All of which had just become normalised so it wasn’t noticed.
And all of which led to a less-enjoyable experience of life, and a disconnection from whoever I was working with — because they were the competition! I had to prove myself in comparison to them.
So this exploration, over the years, has led to a dropping and dropping and dropping into that relaxation of myself, and out of the vigilance of trying to protect an imaginary separate self who needs to win in order to [survive / be loved / be included / get appreciation / feel belonging].
And in that dropping what has been revealed is all that can be revealed when ‘what we’re not’ is disidentified from — leaving only ‘who we are’ in view. Revealing connection and enjoyment.
I enjoy it when I say something that is appreciated. I enjoy it when the other — in this case Sara — says something that is appreciated. I enjoy appreciating what Sara says. I don’t mind if I say something and it doesn’t have any immediate, obvious impact. Maybe it has and you haven’t voiced it, maybe it will later, maybe it won’t at all — that’s not my job to control that. I get to enjoy saying what makes sense to me and then — once it’s out in the world — engaging in it further if something comes back from it.
It’s this kind of openness, enjoyment, freedom, learning, collaboration, connection…all the “better” stuff…indeed all the good stuff — which comes from the shift in identification from what you’re not, into the conscious identification with who you are and always have been.
What's your version of this?
Where is there vigilance or effort or protection?
If all of that fell away right now, what would it be like?
Does that feel like a better life worth awakening for?
Much love, Helen
PS If you want to be on the waiting list for the next Live Book Group, enter your details here and we’ll be in touch as soon as we have the dates planned.