I don’t know what is true. I can only describe what the experience is from here. All the following sentences should begin with, “It seems as if,” simply to get the what-is-true thing off the table.
There is this inquiry we’re calling the Compulsion inquiry (CI). Since undergoing and working on this inquiry with Scott Kiloby, there have been significant perceptual, physiological, behavioral, and psychological shifts.
Perceptually, there is more beauty in this world than ever realized. I seem to want to take a picture, or simply stare at, everything. It’s all intricate, fascinating, perfectly stunning. Even pond scum warranted a few moments of amazed appreciation. Can’t seem to find an ugly or a plain face.
Physiologically, tension seems a curious memory. A jaw that felt clenched for millennia has to be grasped with the hand to make sure it’s really there. I must say though, these contractions had to be felt, or brought to the fore, before relaxing. So a kind of tightness was experienced first, more than once, in places I had never thought about much.
Behaviorally, I still smoke an occasional cigarette, but the need, the frantic puffing and sucking is absent. If there are no cigarettes around, there’s about as much hurry to go buy more as I would hurry to buy bananas. I like bananas, but running out of them is not a problem. As a matter of fact, I saw that there were 2 cigarettes left in a pack sticking out of my purse as I was driving yesterday. I passed umpteen gas stations during that drive, and never stopped to buy another pack. I just enjoyed the drive, windows open to this glorious fall day. Perhaps only a fellow smoker would understand that kind of nonchalance in regard to cigarettes.
A couple of times recently, I made myself a drink—but then never drank the thing. When I walked passed the full glass wherever I had left it later, I ended up pouring it down the sink. That’s not to say I won’t ever drink. It’s just that the making-but-not-drinking is a peculiar thing to report. And I have ordered one at a restaurant, yet felt no compulsion to drink it. And curiouser and curiouser–I eat when hungry, and don’t have to finish what is in front of me. Snacking doesn’t happen, seemingly because there’s no edge, no gnawing need for more or something else.
Psychologically, up until very recently, there was this certainty, this oft regaled story of being overextended, coupled with the feeling of being exhausted. This thought was believed: “There isn’t enough time in the day, or enough energy, to do what needs to be done. One person can only do so much.” Now, it’s the seeing that there are things to be done. Some get done. Some don’t. My barely perceptible jaw drops at the simplicity of that realization, and the flood of relaxation and rejuvenation that follows. There is no such thing as “too much.” And any sense of personal agency is an error of perception.
Another amazing, and recent discovery is that annoyance is a totally unnecessary precursor to a movement away. When the word “choice” is replaced by “movement,” annoyance becomes an add-on to any experience. Try this on: people are neither inherently annoying or engaging, there is simply movement towards or away from, with seemingly no one choosing the flow, like colorful tropical fish swimming around the tank. Annoyance can still happen, but it’s now seen as an elective response.
And as a bonus, look to see if there is a command anywhere, in any thought, that says “follow me,” or “believe this.” Thoughts about ourselves, the situation, or the world, do not come with a mandate to be believed. If thoughts were trains coming and going through a station, let it be seen that there is no conductor shouting out “all aboard!” Not even thoughts about non duality, or shoulds, or declarations of love, or those pesky ones that tell us what is wrong with us, have a seal of approval stamped upon them, insuring their authenticity and reliability. They needn’t be the gold standard by which we live our lives.
So essentially, there is this overall sensation of being a relaxed, content, human being that alternately engages in movement and rest; adjectives optional. There’s very little conflict or tension, but both are allowed. The thing is, there is a sense of fun, of play, relief (!), and joy, in all of this. What am I missing? Oh, yeah—this kind of talk can be seriously annoying.
To whom is this all happening, or where is this experience occurring right now? Ha! That’s the kicker. Try and find me.