Love and Light Blog by Diane Donovan-Vaughn 3/2/2019
Imagine gazing into the mirror and asking, “Who am I?” The computer in the head may begin offering a name or roles like a therapist, mother and on and on. Already, we run into many answers that can describe who we are. How can the answer to “Who am I” have so many answers?
As the voices in the head continually offer advice and descriptions about everything in life including who we are, it is easy to remain lost about our identity. “Who am I?”
Participating with descriptions will not lead to the answer. Observing the mind’s voices and descriptions, observing feelings, observing the body, and observing all of it interacting one will begin to understand that these activities are like a dance or a game that something or someone is playing.
The dancer or the gamer is “Who I Am” or the watcher. Find the watcher right now because it is not hiding. The game or dance is distracting the focus away from the watcher, which is perfectly logical because it is like turning on the television and then looking at the yourself sitting in front of the television rather than the drama chosen to watch. Yes, the program might be riveting and one can easily get so caught up in the drama that it is as if the drama is real. Focus attention on the watcher as often as you can remember to find out the meaning of the drama. The watcher is who you are and is the one directing your focus on the game.
In the center of your being is access to the truth. As the body pumps along to keep on dancing, the watcher knows the dance never ends. As the mind spins fantasies, goals, activities and opinions, the watcher knows all of it is a game that can be altered with a whim, with a change of view.
In therapy, we are taught to notice huge emotional reactions to everyday events because these reactions point to an issue. The issue is like a landmine waiting to be stepped upon by something or someone in life. The huge emotional reaction occurs, survival hormones pump and thoughts spin. Think of this part of the dance or game like a ride at an amusement park that spins in circles. It feels very difficult to understand, to escape or to handle. After all, this ride is actually from another time and is being projected onto current time making it disorienting. Plus to make matters worse, the mind and survival system begins to attack the trigger maybe ignoring that the emotional reaction does not match. The mind twists the triggering event or person into a present enemy and the game of the past is now the game of the present.
Huge emotional reactions are the perfect time to ask, “Who am I?” Find the watcher and ask, “What is this about?” If this life is about learning lessons, then triggers and huge emotional reactions are keys to what the lessons are teaching! Move attention away from the triggering person and event to shift all attention onto the watcher, the one who knows the lessons, the path and knows who and what we are.
The goal may always the same. Give up fear. Choose love. Doesn’t that sound too simple for all the amazing dramatic games and temptations that arise?
What if who you are or who you are supposed to be is love? If that were true, then all these lessons are teaching love no matter what fearful illusions appear! The ego almost always has many exceptions to the love rule! “ I can’t love that! I can’t tolerate this! I hate that!” Admittedly, the emotional pain of many lessons can feel unbearable! Choosing the high road, choosing love in the face of unbearable feeling lessons almost seems like a cruel school to attend! However, none of us really knows why everything is occurring the way it is or if we are in fact even really awake or dreaming these events. If this life is a dream then as soon as sleep is over the dream fades and no longer holds anyone hostage to a reality that never truly existed.
Especially when you are in pain, especially when you feel lost, especially when you face any kind of challenge, take a few minutes and breathe. Take all your attention away from your problems, from the dance or the game and talk to the watcher. It may feel like dragging wild horses but you can do it no matter what appears to be going on inside or on the outside. Talk to the observer inside and ask, “What is this lesson trying to teach me?” Ask for advice. Ask for the feelings and words to say to your self and to others. In that moment of breathing, asking and listening, a return to love will occur and suddenly everything will make sense again. Then, the ego may start whining and explaining how unfair or impossible or irritating the game appears to be again. Yes, the ego is correct. As long as you are alive the lessons keep on coming. Life is good. Life is bad. Life is mundane. Life is but an ever-changing dream. The lessons always teach a return to love and you can choose love right here, right now. All you have to lose is your fear and your attachment to the game.
Today the daily selection from Living a Life of Awareness – Meditations on the TOLTEC Path by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is titled “Rediscovering the Authentic Self” on page 31. This lesson is another example of how I sat down at the computer and wrote my portion of today’s talk and then began to type the words from the book. I wonder why I even still am so amazed when I discover that the article today is the same as the one I typed.
Ruiz said, “The Authentic Self is always present, and it is only our attachments that keep us from remembering who we really are…
“When we were born, our parents lifted us up and held us in their arms. They envisioned endless possibilities for us in their love for us. They saw the unlimited potential of our Authentic Self — the life force that could take any action in any direction that would lead to those possibilities.” The Five Levels of Attachment
“Practicing awareness takes discipline, a strengthening of our will that allows us to remain in a state of harmony with the world around us. Many religious and spiritual traditions in the world have created a discipline that foster this harmony, such as prayer, meditation, yoga, chanting, and dancing, among many others. This knowledge is an instrument of transformation, and experiencing it is the manifestation of the Authentic Self.
“I use to think that world’s greatest masters of every tradition were the best examples of the Authentic Self. Now I realize that everyone I know and see is a personification of the Authentic Self. We are all creating, producing, learning, engaging and loving life. We are all the personification of life; we are always the Authentic Self. We simply make the choice to see it in ourselves and others.”
Ruiz practice: “With awareness, remember that every person you see is a manifestation of the Authentic Self. Say to yourself: “Today, I choose to see the Authentic Self in me, and the Authentic Self in you. Today, I choose to see the Realized Master in me and Realized Master in you.”
Let’s practice: Close (or half-close) your eyes. Breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Relax more and more with each deep, exhaling breath. Place your attention on the center of your chest and sit down inside your heart space for a moment. Place your hands on the center of chest and relax. From this vantage point you can view your body, mind, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, reactions, and feelings as they come together in this game or dance called your life. Take a deep relaxing breath as you view your life today, especially if something is very challenging for you. Turn your attention a little deeper inside and ask your observing watcher to please help you with your life. Ask, “What do I need to learn? and “How can I best learn this lesson?” Sometimes the answer may seem impossible because sometimes we are asked to love the unlovable. Breathe deeply and relax. Choose to send love to every part of your life, especially to you bravely going through life meeting your challenges. Remember you always have this comforter inside you, waiting for you to ask for help. Exhale deeply again and remember love.