Friday, September 20, 2013

Honest Awareness

I love intense eagerness as well as eager anticipation (specially when it's intense). So, in response to Sree's comment...

In practice, there are three general responses to my assertion that someone is doing exactly what he wants to be doing.

1. That's completely wrong.
2. What do you mean?
3. Yeah, I know.

The first indicates a long road ahead, the second a shorter one and the third just a trip through the parking lot. In any case, I always start with a specific example provided by the unwanter. It never takes long to demonstrate the connections of wants and anti-wants. The main exception is when the unwanter decides to dig in her heels and defend her position in any way possible.

The most often used defense is non sequitur. Just a step or two away from conclusion, the unwanter introduces a perfectly true but completely irrelevant fact to takes us off course. Since I have no problem maintaining multiple conversational threads, I usually feign having fallen for the rouse and then, when the defender least expects it, bring the conversation back to the point of departure.

All that said, proving the point rarely results in change for someone who insists on being a victim of circumstance and forced to pursue activities he doesn't want to pursue. She'll seem overwhelmed by the potential responsibility of it. In those cases, I just back off (like way, way, way off).

For those who do want to take ownership of the coincidence of activity and wanting the activity, it comes down to the simple application of honest awareness.

Honest awareness is simple and straight forward. However, it can feel nearly impossible. The trick is to start with short, easy exercises and then to practice.

Before you can perform a task in the background without thinking about it, you have to learn to perform it in the foreground (often with great concentration.)  This is the case for awareness and honesty. Further, before you can perform a task in an ad hoc manner, it helps to perform it on a scheduled basis or in response to a specific trigger. To develop awareness, one starts by checking in with herself. Every hour, you ask yourself a set of questions, e.g, how am I feeling right now, or, am I talking too much, or, is what I'm doing right now in line with my goals for today.

The cool thing about pairing honesty with awareness is that you can focus your awareness exercises on being honest. Each time you say something or respond to a question, you can ask yourself, "How honest was my reply?"

The cool thing about this last exercise is that it doesn't take long for it to become a habit. Before you know it, you've become unavoidably aware of how honest you're being at any point in time.

Once this occurs, the rest becomes pretty easy. You move from being aware of your honesty to being aware of your wanting. What do I want right now? Am I doing that? If not, why am I doing it? What do I want that I'm getting by doing this?

You can routinize asking yourself questions by having your iPhone remind you or asking friends who see you to ask you questions whenever they do.  In any case, by routinizing the activity of questioning yourself, you begin to increase your awareness regarding the content of those questions.

That's pretty much it.

Happy Friday,

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