One of my life’s ongoing learning has been recognising that I’m in a phase, and it won’t last forever. The phases when I’m full of Yang, hot, active, “doing” energy, I tend to feel amazing. “Finally!” I think, “I’ve made it! I’m healthy, I have energy, I’m enacting my visions, and ready to do my work in the world!” But this too is a phase, and passes. Then I find myself internal, yin, disconnected from my visionary parts, more connected with my internal pain and apathy. “Oh no!” I mourn, “this is not me! What’s wrong? Should I drink more caffeine to force myself to exercise, or achieve outward signs of success?” Since this cycle has been taking place for most of my adult life, you might wonder why I still get caught up in at 38! I wonder that often.
The reality is, most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time connected with that part of us that can see the big picture. Most of the time we are caught up in the parts of us that are triggered by whatever is happening in that moment. When I’m tired and I need rest and recuperation, the parts of me that get activated are the parts that think I am lazy, I don’t achieve enough, I should be DOING things all the time. In fact these parts tell me that my very worthiness to exist is based on my level of tangible “achievements”. This particular voice in me, doesn’t have very much perspective. It doesn’t remember the whole cycle, that every time I really allow myself the time and space to go inward something new and unexpected emerges for me, and I can re-engage with life with new clarity. This particular voice doesn’t trust me and doesn’t trust my cycles.
And when I am full of vigorous energy and ready to take on the world? The voice that is activated doesn't see this state as problematic. While I’m in it I have such vision, I see how things can happen, I feel like I have found the ‘true me’. Standing back and taking in the whole pattern, this too is just one part, just one voice that doesn’t trust my cycles. This part says “you may crash again soon… so do EVERYTHING now! Start every project you can think of or you'll never get to them, quick quick quick!!!!” there is a frantic-ness in this part that encourages me to use up all my energy, while I still have access to it.
See the pattern here? None of these parts has the big picture, they only see from their limited perspective. They are scripts that my unconscious plays, to help me survive and succeed in the world. They have been formed from early childhood experiences, from copying parental behaviours and shaped by societal norms and pressures. My own internal parts and patterns, well they are mine, and no one else will have exactly the same as I do. However we all have them! And for most of us, they are running the show, most of the time, without the help of a manager, with a higher perspective.
Sometimes we can begin to see them during those times of neutrality, perhaps during a meditation practice, or a serene moment in nature, perhaps while we journal, or during a psychedelic experience. There are certainly times when we can see the different parts of us and even understand how they are controlling our behaviour with limited perspective. But how often can we actually catch them in the moment? How often can we bring in that higher perspective, when we are in the middle of running an old story?
The ability to notice a part of us during a triggered state, to “remember ourselves” (as spiritual philosopher Gurdjieff puts it) is a huge part of many forms of spiritual practice, of meditation, of therapy, and personal growth work.
What helps you to pause and notice when you are caught up in a particular state?
I’d love to hear about what works for you! Feel free to comment, or send me a message.