How do We Change

My efforts to change negative thinking helped somewhat but the nagging feelings of not-good-enoughness persisted and often led to poor behavior.  The effort seemed great and the results slight.

 For the past decade or more I have been trying less and observing my thoughts more.  I notice that when I simply observe, the self-judgment lessens and the thoughts tend to stop.  This concept of simply observing comes from the teachings of Father Anthony DeMello, SJ and his book “Awareness-The Perils and Opportunities of Reality”, together with tapes that he made before his untimely death in the late eighties as well as a book of daily meditations, “Awakening-Conversations with the Masters” given to me by my good friend Eddie Rogers as a 60th birthday gift.  
 
DeMello repeats over and over that awareness cannot be taught and that there is no instruction
book to follow.  He says that awareness is awareness.  If you’re anything like me you want a blueprint or map or guide but there isn’t one.  Awareness is awareness and that’s it.  So off I go knowing that I want to be peaceful and authentic and I try this awareness thing but I really don’t know what it is or how to do it.  I know that I need to unlearn  the lies I’ve told myself over the years and somehow I feel that awareness will help but what is awareness?
 
One of the daily meditations from “Awakening” was helpful to me earlier this week.  It reads:
“The disciples never quite resigned themselves to the Master’s teaching that one had to “do”       nothing to change or to become enlightened”.  What can you do to dispel darkness?  Darkness is the absence of light, evil the absence of awareness.  What can one “do” to an absence?”
I loved it and yet I’m not sure what it means because I’m trying to think through it.  When I just read it and feel the joy it gives me my heart begins to understand……….I think.
 
I find that when I become aware of a negative or aggressive feeling and simply accept it, it goes away.  In the past, and sometimes still, when those kinds of feeling arose I didn’t notice them and they were most often accompanied by heavy self-condemnation which only lead to more of the same kind of thinking.  I’m finding that my heart is fuller and that I am much more often at peace and I believe that it’s awareness that has led me here.
 
Posted October 18, 2013

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