Know Thyself

Know Thyself”

A couple of things have arisen for me during lockdown which I wanted to share.

Because there can be a lot of confusion around terminology, I’m not sure how to refer to them. Insights? Realisations? The phrase that fits best for me right now is ‘direct seeing’, where the effect is that of a pair of curtains being pulled apart, allowing sight of something directly and clearly, without impediment. Then the curtains are drawn closed and I’m surrounded by the trappings of normal life again – here’s the chair I’ve just sat down on, here’s the cup of tea, still in my hand.

What I ‘saw’ into was a great fear that I have carried with me all my life. I say ‘saw’ but it felt more like a whole body experience where everything in an instant aligned itself and there was no separation between any aspects of my mind and body. In that moment, my whole life made sense – patterns of behaviour, why things turned out the way they did; how the fear can remain dormant as an underlying condition, informing or determining every decision. (None of this came from the intellect – I’m just using my intellect now to try to describe as closely as I can, my experience).

I felt filled with immense gratitude and relief. As if a deep acknowledgement had taken place. A deep part of me spoke out and told me something about myself. And was heard.

My second instance was again over a cup of tea. I had been ruminating over some slight when suddenly the curtains parted and I ‘saw’ my mind at work: the behaviour I was engaged in at that moment, switched off fear. It was a mechanism at work.

I felt humbled to have seen my mind doing what it thinks is its job. Protecting me. My mind isn’t my enemy after all. I don’t have to keep fighting myself.

I believe that as a result of my particular experience of lockdown, conditions arose that brought about opportunities to ‘see’: enforced isolation plus regular Zoom opportunities to meditate in a formal setting gave me the relaxation and quiet space for shifts to happen.

How has my life changed? I think it is too soon to say much. The consequences need to be lived out and that takes time. I have direct experience of how my mind works in certain circumstances, and knowledge is power. Some things that previously would have upset me no longer seem to: yesterday, a man shouted at me when I pointed out that he and his family were pushing their bikes the wrong way along a one-way (social distancing) pavement. It left no mark on me.

There is more to see.