Your thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 31. [all material from the book appears in italics]:
Virgil: Since we are discussing orienting to yourself within your life, I want to give you two more practices to add to your practice of “not knowing.” Most people are incapable of learning because they are too invested in judging themselves. (Note: judging others is the same thing as judging yourself. We’ll work with this more later but for now assume that judgment in any form impedes learning.) When you contacted me you were incapable of learning because you were so full of self-judgment. Just as patterns and problems are dance partners, so, too, are learning and judgment. The goal is to help you see opportunity wherever you look. To have the eyes to see opportunity you must first be capable of learning at every moment. To develop this capability, you need two additional practices:
- Have experiences first and make meaning second. This is actually how your brain works. You have experiences, feel sensation, and then you make meaning of the experience. This process of meaning making is what I call story. Children have no problem with this practice. They live to try things and then they make sense of what they just experienced. Adults flip it over and therefore block themselves: they think they need to know before they act. Do you see why practicing “not knowing” is so vital? So, practice what every child knows: have the experience first (practice not knowing), ACT…and then make meaning from what you experience.
- Judgment is nothing more than a signal that you’ve left your comfort zone. It is a siren that says, “You’ve come to an edge!” For adults, all learning happens at the edges – because we’ve learned that it is uncomfortable to “not know.” The first thing that we do when we are uncomfortable is to judge ourselves and/or others. In that moment you have a choice: you can invest in the judgment or you can suspend your judgment and learn. That is the second practice: practice suspending your judgments so you can learn. When you do this, you become more capable of seeing your choices. At that point of choice, it is less important what you do as long as you recognize that you are choosing an action; nothing is happening to you, you are choosing.
It marries with our last lesson about the story you tell. Do you see?
Me: Yes. If I know that I am choosing then I cannot tell myself the story that things are happening to me. And, when I know that things aren’t happening to me, I’m capable of learning.
Virgil: Exactly. Learning and seeing are conjoined twins. When you can learn, you can see; when you can see, you can learn. For the next week, in addition to working with your two new practices, I have an assignment for you.
Me: Uh-oh. Last time you gave me an assignment I thought you were trying to trick me. 😉
Virgil: I had to earn your trust before I could start the tricks. Now that you trust me you have to watch out… Just kidding. There are no tricks or traps from me. Stepping beyond the known world is full of challenges and traps – but they all come from within you. Rooting out your traps is a necessary part of discovering your patterns of thinking. Here’s your assignment: Now that you know that you are telling yourself a story, I want you to pay attention to the many ways in which you ‘locate’ yourself within the story that you tell. We are constantly locating ourselves in our stories: both physically and in the roles we play. Study how you locate yourself in your story and what that reveals to you.
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