Playing out conditioning

 

Our human life and interactions is conditioning playing itself out.

A simple way to explore this is to take any view we have or activity we are doing, and then find a cause behind it, and then another, and then another. They are innumerable, and stretch back to beginning of time and out to the widest extent of the universe.

When we see this, there is a softening of identification with our identities, views, and actions. They are not personal. They are universal in the sense that they (a) belong to the universe as a whole, and (b) we and everything live out conditioning.

It’s also quite beautiful. It allows the universe – including us – to exist and function. It creates a great deal of diversity and richness. And it allows us to find ourselves as that which all this happens within and as.

In daily life, we can notice this whenever we interact with others. We each perceive and live from our conditioning, and it can be helpful to notice or guess some specifics about it. For instance, I prefer quiet over loudness. What may have lead to that preference?

I grew up in an educated middle class home in Norway, and quiet is valued in that subculture and culture. Being quiet equals being considerate and a good person and citizen.

I am used to quiet at home. I prefer it because it’s familiar.

I feel nervous and restless if it’s not quiet. It’s uncomfortable.

I have CFS and had PTSD, both of which makes me more sensitive to sound. Silence feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I am a mammal, and mammals tend to prefer silence or quiet. Silence or near silence is part of our evolutionary history, and it also allows us to detect danger more easily. It’s built into us to prefer silence.

And so on. I could probably always find one more possible reason, and then another.

Another person may not have this preference, and may even prefer loudness. What are some possible reasons?

They may have grown up in a lively and loud home. It feels familiar and comforting to them.

They may not have sound sensitivities. Their consititution may be more robust.

Their ancestors may have been very comfortable with loundness, and passed on those characteristics. Those traits can give a survival advantage in some situations.

They may use it to drown out uncomfortable sensations and thoughts. It can feel like an escape for them, a way to find a sense of safety.

When I see this, there is more understanding and compassion for both of us. I see that we are both playing out conditioning. And, really, we are both conditioning being played out. I still have my preferences, and I’ll still seek more silence, but the identifications around it have softened a bit.

These lists of possible causes are just that, a list of possible causes. They are questions. In this context, it doesn’t matter how accurate they are. They just serve as a reminder of innumerable causes.

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Misophonia

 

I have had misophonia since I was quite small.

I remember visiting my aunt and cousin, and having to eat at a separate table because I could stand listening to my cousin (whom I liked and like very much) eating with her mouth open….!

It’s only recently that I learned it even had a name, and I just downloaded Joey Lott’s book How I solved my Sound Sensitivity Problem. (Haven’t read it yet.)

Here are some things that I have found helped, and I am still exploring these…..

Using the Living Inquiries to see if I can find…..

A boundary between me and the sound (or the source of the sound). F.ex. look at the image of a boundary. Can it separate anything?  Feel the sensations associated with the boundary. Can those sensations separate anything? Are they a real boundary?

A threat. A threatened one.

Sound. Annoyance. Discomfort. Misophonia.

Also, with the help of inquiry, feel sensations as sensations, when they come up apparently triggered by a sound.

Find love for the part of me that’s distressed. Seeing it’s here to protect the imagined self. It comes from love.

Releasing tension around it through neurogenic tremors, while bringing stressful sound-related situations to mind. (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises.)

Peace and noise

 

This is again something very simple I keep noticing.

When I experience peace, I am perfectly happy with silence around me – just enjoying the sounds of the wind or rain, or people in the distance.

And when there is more inner turmoil, it’s easy to be drawn to creating “noise” around me as a distraction – often music.

So inner peace is often reflected in silence. And inner turmoil in sound.

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Nada Yoga

 

I went to the first evening of a nada yoga class last night. Apart from the obvious benefit of opening the voice, and also connecting with the chakras, releasing into spaciousness, and so on, it was interesting to notice parallels with other practices.

In koan practice, any tendency to being self-conscious and censoring oneself comes up and is seen, yet the direction of presenting the koan is in doing it wholeheartedly, and that was certainly the case here as well. In Breema, we use the principles of body comfortable, no extra, no force, and full participation, and all of those seem aligned with the nada yoga approach to using the voice: allowing the voice to rise fully and naturally, free from the force of holding back and pushing.

Earlier in the evening, I went to a kundalini yoga class where we practiced shunya listening, listening from emptiness, which – in a way – is a shortcut to what we arrive at through The Work. By allowing beliefs to unravel through inquiry, the natural spaciousness and clarity is revealed, free from attachment to any one particular idea and perspective and free to play with any idea and perspective.