Sunday, July 20, 2008

Waking Up Out of Time, A Dialogue with Katie Davis

I am older and I have just come to these awareness/now writings. I have been searching for a long time, maybe looking to improve something about myself, but I have not done much about it. My family deals with depression and I came to your website to help find a way to help. I suggest to keep in the present. I would love to hear from you.

The older that the body seems to become, the more and more past there seems to be. Depending upon our experience of the past, there may be life situations that we wish would have been different. There is simply nothing that can change past circumstances to be other than they were. In therapy, we could spend years in discussion of those situations and improve our relationship with our memories and through forgiveness, we might improve our imagined relationship with the people who were involved with the circumstances.

However, the truth of the matter is those circumstances are no longer here. A past fixation actually only perpetuates the pain. Similar to a computer, we might be able to change the programming with better programs and relative happiness might improve somewhat. Alas, all we would have then is a relatively better psychological relationship with people and circumstances that are no longer. 

Plus which, that “relatively happier” feeling would still cycle back into relatively sadder and then over time once again cycle to relatively happier. We have lived a long time by now and we recognize the cycling back and forth seems to be endless and hopeless, which may cause chronic depression in cadence with our compulsive thinking.

Or perhaps there is a future fixation that is being worried about with great anxiety. We take the past and project more of the same into the future. “If only things had been different, then the future would be brighter." That future fixation only creates more pain. Just as the past is not here, the future can not be seen other than within our imagination. Some may imagine a pleasant future, still causing anxiety. Others imagine a problematic future, based on our past experience.

The extraordinary opportunity that is presenting itself to you right now is to wake up out of time. We have been compulsively thinking for a lifetime, but just like any other habit, we can free ourselves from it. We are free of time! Initially, our compulsive thinking totally obscures the present moment. We get carried away on a train of thought and we are no longer present with what is.

In the past, we used to think that outside circumstances caused our emotional state. If we can become present to our thinking, we realize that it is our own judgment of outside circumstances that causes our emotional reactions. Someone does something, we judge it (think) and then our body reacts with anger or sadness. Our own thoughts are causing the pain. In other words, the suffering is self-inflicted.

To be free of compulsive thinking, we do not try to stop thinking. Instead, we become very present and observe them. When we are in attention to thought, these thoughts cannot use us. The thoughts are actually harmless unless you identify with them. In identification with a thought, we suddenly become the thinker and we shift into a volume of problematic thinking that causes us to spiral down into negativity.

To be totally present, it is helpful to use our body and its sensing. The physical body is part of the content of the present moment. The body is never in the past and it virtually is never in the future. It is consistently and always here and now. So when you realize that you have been riding a train of thought. We stop and get off the train! We do this by attending the sensing.

Do you hear anything right now? Do you see something lovely? While you are walking outside, instead of compulsively thinking, how does it smell? What does the wind feel like as it brushes your face? You will notice that the instant that you shift out of time and thinking into sensing in the present moment, we regain a certain lightness.

Another good tool to shift out of thought and its time is to concentrate on breathing. Even right now as you are reading these words, how delicate is the air when it moves in and out of your nose. Just take a moment now to be with your breathing. No effort is required. It is happening by itself. You will also notice that while you are with your breathing, you cannot think. You have shifted out of time and its suffering to being present here and now as you breathe.

When you practice being present in this manner, slowly we become more and more present in a more and more consistent manner to the present moment. We become more alive! Our senses become more vibrant. We are centered in aliveness rather than the mind and all of its thinking.

Katie Davis Website:

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