A portion of what we think of as being human are effects of beliefs. It is the portion that has to do with a rigid view, reactive emotions and behaviors, and a more closed heart.
How do we relate to this part of our humanness?
Often, we defend it. We find reasons why it is right and even good. Or we may be ashamed, unable to change it much even as we see it unfold. We may blindly be in the grips of it, experiencing it and also living it out in ways we sometimes regret afterwards. We may distract ourselves from it as much as possible. We may try to stuff it, holding it back, resisting the experience or living from it.
Or we may work with it more consciously.
We can allow these parts their voice and insights, through Process Work, Voice Dialog or the Big Mind process. We can step into their perspective, and see what they have to say to our human self, what they ask of us, what their contributions are, what gifts they offer, and how our human self can relate to them in a more constructive way, and how they can help our human self in a more constructive way.
We can allow the experience fully. We can fully allow the anger, sadness, pain, frustration, or whatever it may be. Just by releasing identification with the resistance to it, a lot changes. There is a release of identification with the dynamic as a whole (whatever arises and the resistance to it), which gives a sense of freedom from it, and even an opportunity of a more conscious choice in how to relate to it and express it.
We can use it as a pointer or invitation to explore more in detail what is going on. For instance, what is the belief behind the reactiveness? Is it true? What happens when I believe that thought? Who would I be without it? What are the grain of truths in its turnarounds?
So for instance, I am concerned about cracks in the foundation of our house, and especially seeing it getting worse during the rainy season. And I am frustrated because the retaining walls we are putting in are taking much longer than I planned and hoped for, and will most likely not be done before the rain sets in. (Lots of more specific frustrations here, including interpersonal ones.)
I can explore the voice of anger:
- What do you do?
I help P. experience anger, and it helps him focus on things important to him, and get things done. In this case, it helps him get the wall done.
- How does he relate to you?
He is sometimes ashamed, feeling that he should be beyond me. Other times, acting from me in a more reactive (although still mostly polite, being who he is) way. And other times, when he connects with me consciously, he uses me to get things done. He finds the energy in me, and channel it into actions.
- How can he relate to you in a more constructive way?
He can connect with me consciously more often. Listen to what I have to tell him. Use me for actions. That way, it doesn’t have to be reactive, which I know he appreciates. I get to be used, which I want. And he gets what he wants as well.
In fully experiencing the anger, frustration, worry and everything else, I notice…
- Before shifting, a sense of jitteriness. Wanting to get away. To be somewhere else. For the situation to be different. A sense of something being closed off. Of narrowness. Constriction. Not being at home. Discomfort. Something being off. In my behavior, I find reasons to think about and do something else than dealing with the house situation.
- A fear just before allowing it all fully.
- Then a shift. And a sense of release. Of fullness. Rounded. Nurturing. Clarity. Nothing left out, knocking on the door. A sense of coming home. Of being more myself, allowing it all. Not having, or wanting, to escape.
- I also notice a shift into to wanting to engage with the trigger situation more fully, including in my actions. There is a shift into looking forward to do something about it, to be more fully engaged, to shift the situation with the house forward in an effective way.
What is the belief behind the initial reaction?
The house should be in good and stable condition. Also, the retaining walls should be done by now.
The house should be in good and stable condition.
- True? No, the house lives its own life. It is thirty years old, so some problems are to be expected. We knew that before buying, and were willing to live with it then.
- What happens when I believe that thought? I feel frustrated. Jittery. Annoyed by the guy helping us, that he is not more available and doesn’t consistently make better decisions. I sometimes escape the whole thing, in my mind and actions, even when I could work on it.
- Who am I without the thought? Clear. Doing what needs to be done. Dealing with whatever comes up next. Taking it one step at a time, within the overall plan. Getting the help I need. Taking breaks in a more conscious way.
- The house should not be in a good and stable condition. It is living its own life, as anything else. It is its job to deteriorate. To age. It is just following nature as a whole here. Also, it gives me an opportunity to learn more about construction and maintenance, which is what I want. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, when a project is done. Also, all houses deteriorate, and we are taking care of this one, which will be good when/if we sell it.
- I should be in good and stable condition. In this situation, and in how I deal with it, I should be in good and stable condition. It helps me get things done, with less frustration. It helps me be more effective and even to enjoy it more.
- I should not be in good and stable condition. Well, as the house, this reactiveness is living its own life within me. It is following its own path and dynamics. It is what it is. And it helps me become more conscious of this dynamic within me. It invites me to get to know it more. To even find the gifts within it.
The retaining walls should be done by now.
- True? No. They are not. It is the exact product of the work gone into it, and the process that has unfolded. It is expressing the process perfectly and beautifully.
- What happens when I believe that thought? I get frustrated. I find people and situations to blame, such as the time it took to find someone to help us with the construction. The mistakes he has made. Him not being available. Other help not being available as much as we have wanted. Myself, not putting more hours into it.
- Who would I be without the thought? Dealing with the situation as it is. Doing the next thing. Clear. Receptive to what is next. Instead of seeing setbacks at mistakes, I now see them as part of the process, each one bringing us one step closer to finishing.
- The retaining walls should not be done by now. They are living their own life, too, perfectly expressing whatever happens to them from the hands of humans and nature. They are beautiful expressions of infinite causes acting on them. Perfect local expressions of the dynamics of the universe as a whole. Who am I to argue?
- I should be done by now. If I don’t like what is happening, the best is to be done with the war against the situation as it is. I should explore what is going in, in the ways I am doing here and more.
- I should not be done by now. I too am expressing perfectly the dynamics unfolding within me, which are the effects of innumerable causes. It is not personal. It is just happening. As the impulse to explore it this way is happening.