Dimensions of practice: who and what we are

 

Another important dimension of practice is who and what we are. Do we practice to help who we are, this human self? Or do we practice to notice what we are?

Again, if we are stuck in one or the other, the drawbacks of each tends to come to the foreground.

If we only focus on who we are, this human self, we can work on it until we die and never find complete satisfaction. There will always be a sense of something missing. We never get to see what we really are, and we know, somewhere, that we are missing out of that.

If we only focus on what we are, discovering ourselves as Big Mind, we can too easily ignore who we are. The wounds of our human self may stay around and wreak havoc with its life in the world, and even with the project of discovering what we are. We may also end up discouraged, feeling we are wasting our time on something that is not working for us.

Yet, tempered by each other, we can see each in a more realistic perspective.

We find that exploring who we are offers a new sense of wholeness to our human self, a wider embrace of all of what it is, and a richer life in the world. At the same time, we know it won’t give us any ultimate answers or satisfaction.

Exploring what we are becomes something we do for its own sake, not for any imagined benefit in our human life. When I look, what do I find? Am I content of experience, specifically this human self? Am I that which this content happens within, to and as?

And in terms of tools, it may be helpful to emphasize those that work on both areas. The ones that makes it easier to be this human self in the world, and also invites what we are to notice itself.

Some tools work about equally at both areas, including The Work, the Big Mind process, and allowing/being with experience.

Others work mainly at the what question, although helps who we are as well, such as headless experiments and exploring sense fields.

Stability practice makes it easier to do any of the other practices, and also any activity in daily life.

And some practices at the who level not only helps who we are directly, but often also makes it easier to do any of the other practices, such as psychological and relationship work, and physical exercise.

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