Philosophy TuesdayDecember 6, 2016
This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
The things that get us into trouble are almost always hidden from our view.
Be they our biases, our identities, our views, our attachments, or etc, they all sneak their tentacles out to steer us wrong into situations and results that aren’t at all how we’d like them to be. Like walking into furniture in a dark room,* they trip us up. Hard, and often painful.
Boom! We thought we were going this way, but we’ve bumped into something and now find ourselves careening in another direction and all’s a mess.
Boom! We are suddenly doing this thing and we don’t even know WHY or HOW we ended up here (but we certainly ain’t going to stop now because we’re probably right and that other person has got to be wrong) and there’s such a hole already dug and yuck.
Boom! “I’ll never do that again!” we’ve said, all self-assured, for the fourth time, and yet here we are, yet again, doing just that thing with the same undesired result.
Gah! What the heck is up with all that? How do I find these darn blind spots?
Here’s an exercise I’ve taken on as a practice that’s proven useful to help in this game of unconcealing.
I call it The Notepad Exercise, though it works equally well with any form of persistent writing implement. Scrap paper, computer screen, whatever, it doesn’t matter, just so long as it sticks around.
Start by writing the area of investigation at the top of the pad.
Then, ask the question: “What the heck is up with that?”
And write down what comes to mind.
Here’s the key: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO MIND.
Again: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT LITTLE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD SAYS.
It doesn’t matter how
“can’t be that!”
“don’t want to write that!”
… it is.
Write. It. Down. All of it. Stream of consciousness.
Just keep writing. **
Eventually, one of three things will happen.
You write something down and there’s this feeling that makes you go “oh, wait… thaaaat….”
Or you start writing the same thing over and over again and over and over and over again. Which pretty much always means that’s the thing, there’s something there about that.
Or after a time neither will happen, or you’ll find yourself getting distracted, or your little voice will try to convince you to stop. No problem. Let it be, and come back to it the next day and do it again. Keep doing it until one of the first two happens.
And that’s it. Just like that, we have something new: a new a gem to examine, a new avenue to focus mindfulness towards, a new angle to transform. It’s out in the open. We can see it, we can maneuver around it, we can deal with it, we can move it, and we can put it away.
We can drive towards where we want to go.
Give it a try!
* Which, clearly, is why shins were invented, to find furniture in the dark… ow…
** What’s remarkable is that, after some practice, quite often the moment you sit down and are ready and ask the question “What’s up with that?” the first immediate thing that comes to mind will be it. Dead on. And your little voice in your head will go “nope, nope, can’t be that! Doesn’t make sense/don’t want it to be that/don’t talk about that/that’s dumb/don’t go there/don’t look behind the curtain.” But it’s 100% that.