The infinite richness of working with just one habitual pattern

 

Here is an excellent idea: Try to stop complaining for 21 consecutive days, until you are able to do so. (At least in terms of the most obvious and external forms of complaints.)

There is an infinite richness even in such a simple practice.

The first thing I am likely to notice is how much I complain. I may even be shocked when I realize how much it happens.

I may also notice that complaining takes many forms. Sometimes it is verbal and in exchange with others. Other times, and probably more often, it is through self-talk. Sometimes it is obvious complaining. Other times, it is more subtle and disguised in other clothes.

I may notice how difficult – if not impossible – it is to try to change a habitual pattern through will. And I may notice what happens if I go to war with myself and reality, telling myself I shouldn’t while I still do, and the hopeless knot I then tie myself up in.

After going through this for a while, I may find a curiosity about what options there are when I stop myself from acting on the impulse to complain. Where else can that impulse go? How can it be used in a more honest and comfortable way? I can use the impulse to find more perspectives on the situations, and find the genuine validity of each. I may take action instead of just talking about it. I may shift focus from what others should do to something simple and practical I can do. I may take the advice for myself and apply it in my own life.

There is the possibility of a big shift here, as I recognize that complaining is my advice for others – for a person, situation, life, God or reality. If I maintain it as advice for others, there is contraction and discomfort and it often doesn’t go anywhere. But if I take the advice for myself, there is often a sense of relief and of coming home, and this may also lead to more clarity in how to act around this in the world.

I may also find a more friendly attitude towards this particular habit and whatever comes up for me around it. When I notice complaining or my reactions towards it, can I allow the experience as is, with kindness? What happens when I do?

Another way to work with this is to find the belief behind the complaint. What am I complaining about? What should the other person or reality do differently? Can I know it would be better if they did? What happens when I hold onto that belief? Who would I be without it? What are the genuine truths in the reversals of that should? How can I apply the most potent reversal in my own life? How would it be to live from it, here and now and in daily life?

And I can bring in an awareness of a sense of a separate I in all of this, of a doer and observer. Is that doer and observer content of awareness? If so, what is aware? What am I – or what is reality – really?

This campaign to stop complaining may at first glance seem a little naive, and the easy option for many is to be cynical about it. But as any tool, it all depends on how it is used, and as any pointer, it all depends on how sincerely it is investigated. As I explore it for myself, I find it yields a surprising wealth of practical insights and has the possibility of making me a little easier to be around, helping me find more pleasure and satisfaction in life, and also – with the addition of investigating the doer and observer of all of this – notice what I really am, that which all of this happens as and within.

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outline…

  • working w. complaints
    • mainly, notice that advice for others (life, God) is really advice for myself
      • and that it gives a sense of coming home when I take that advice and bringing it into my own life
    • an invitation to explore layers of dynamics around it (a question, invitation for inquiry)
      • notice how much we complain, verbally or in our self-talk, bring attention to it
      • notice the strength of habitual patterns + how change over time when attention is brought to it in a quiet and kind way
      • notice what happens when complain, and what happens when we take the advice for ourselves
      • notice what happens if we are at war with ourselves (try to stop it), and what happens when notice + allow whatever experience comes up around it with kindness
      • when block complaints, then invitation to explore other options. What else can I do with this impulse? Where else can it go? How can it be used in a more comfortable and useful way?
        • take the advice for myself, bring it into my own life
        • find more perspectives on the situation, and the genuine validity of each (go outside of habitual viewpoints)

I may notice what happens if I try to block complaints with force and will, and the hopeless knot I tie myself up in.

…………

Here is an excellent idea: Try to stop complaining for 21 days, until you are able to do so. (At least in terms of the most obvious and external forms of complaints.)

There is an infinite richness even in such a simple practice.

I may notice how much I complain, either verbally or in my self-talk. I may even be shocked when I realize how much it happens.

I may notice the strength of habitual patterns and how difficult or impossible it is to change them through will. And also, how they tend to soften and reorganize in their own time when they are brought into awareness as they are, and with some kindness.

I may notice the many forms complaints take, including how complaints may disguise themselves in many ways. I complain about something, and make it look like something else.

I may notice what happens when I complain. Is there a sense of self-righteousness? A sense of hardening? A sense of separation? If I am honest with myself, do I know I am on thin ice when I complain? Am I already aware of how they are mirrors for me, and how I do what I complain about in others?

I may notice what happens if I try to block complaints with force and will, and the hopeless knot I tie myself up in.

I may gently block the impulse to complain, and notice that as invitation to explore other options. What else can I do with that impulse? Where else can it go? How can it be used in a more comfortable and honest way? I may use the impulse to find more perspectives on the situation, and the genuine validity of each. I may use it to take action instead of just talking about it. I may shift focus from something abstract or something others should do, and into something that is more practical, something I can do something about in my own life. I may take the advice for myself and bring it into my own life.

I may notice that complaining is really advice for someone else (for people, situations, life, God, reality). What happens if I see it as what someone else should do? Is there a sense of discomfort and alienation? What happens if I take the advice for myself and live from it in daily life? Is there a sense of relief and of coming home?

……………..

draft…..

I may notice how much I complain, either verbally or in my self-talk. I may even be shocked when I realize how much it happens.

I may notice the strength of habitual patterns and how difficult or impossible it is to change them through will. And also, how they tend to soften and reorganize in their own time when they are brought into awareness as they are, and with some kindness.

I may notice the many forms complaints take, including how complaints may disguise themselves in many ways. I complain about something, and make it look like something else.

I may notice what happens when I complain. Is there a sense of self-righteousness? A sense of hardening? A sense of separation? If I am honest with myself, do I know I am on thin ice when I complain? Am I already aware of how they are mirrors for me, and how I do what I complain about in others.

I may notice what happens if I try to block complaints with force and will, and the hopeless knot I tie myself up in.

I may gently block the impulse to complain, and notice that as invitation to explore other options. What else can I do with that impulse? Where else can it go? How can it be used in a more comfortable and honest way? I may use the impulse to find more perspectives on the situation, and the genuine validity of each. I may use it to take action instead of just talking about it. I may shift focus from something abstract or something others should do, and into something that is more practical, something I can do something about in my own life. I may take the advice for myself and bring it into my own life.

I may notice that complaining is really advice for someone else (for people, situations, life, God, reality). What happens if I see it as what someone else should do? Is there a sense of discomfort and alienation? What happens if I take the advice for myself and live from it in daily life? Is there a sense of relief and of coming home?

I can find the belief behind complaints, and inquire into it.

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