Time going fast, time going slow; time going in a straight line, time following a wavy line; time standing still, time disappearing; time being sequential, time offering ‘deja vue’ moments; time appearing to create order, time = Mc2…(?) Or was it ‘time = money?
What if, among all the other things created by the mind, we have on one level, all agreed to time as being sequential? What if this belief is not correct, not wrong necessarily, just not the only way of perceiving time? We are certainly creatures of habit conditioned by our relationship to ourselves and the manifesting world, so it is not hard to accept that possibility that one of the habits to which we subconsciously subscribe, is the nature of time.
Just throwing in a curve ball here, a few ‘what ifs’ to test beliefs. One thing that teaching this way of being has ‘taught’ me over the years, is that most people hold onto a belief or beliefs, handed down or picked up along the way, like drowning people hanging onto pieces of flotsam, the old ‘clutching at straws’ trick. Yet rarely do those people actually question, in a truly fundamental way, the basis of the belief. Perhaps this is the nature of faith. Something we gladly give our power away to in the hope that it, whatever ‘it’ may be, will save us, help us, deliver us from evil, whatever. Another thing I have learnt from the years teaching this is that we energise or create that which we give energy to. No belief is necessarily right, none wrong, they are just the product of the personality, which in turn is simply a collection of points of view that we, consciously or subconsciously, subscribe to.
The challenge in questioning points of view is that the questioner is held within a certain framework called the personality. The personality has been hard won, fought for, long established, built over many years of associating with, identifying with judgements, belief patterns and a whole host of other phenomena that arises in the awareness of the individual. So much have we identified with the thoughts and emotions that have arisen in our awareness that we have even developed the pathology of those thoughts and emotions, we have become our thoughts and feelings. From within this citadel of being, we look out at the world, and we judge it (and ourselves).
It is quite hard for us to imagine that this way of seeing the world is unique to us, and though we may hold beliefs (time is sequential!) That many others hold in common, we still have our own very special way of interpreting the world around us.
Trying then to question fundamental beliefs, from within this citadel is an almost impossible task. The tools with which we question the manifesting reality are all contained within the citadel of the self. The self, that diverse collection of ‘points of view’ does not find it easy to seriously examine itself. Examining the self would involve opening up a pandora’s box of shadows that quite possibly is the reason we choose faith over questioning. Faith here is not limited to religious beliefs, or time being sequential, or airy fairy phenomena. It includes those on the path of science, for that too is faith, faith of a different kind, one that questions, but, if we were to be honest, one that questions still from within the citadel of the self.
A rather obscure example: I believed, for a long time, that I could not drive a left hand drive car with a manual transmission. I was taught in a right hand drive car and we drove on the left hand side of the road. Living in the US I quickly adapted to driving on the right hand side of the road, but always in an automatic. Whenever I went to Europe and drove, it was always an automatic. I believed, for some unknown reason, a reason that I never really did question, that I could not drive a left hand drive vehicle with a gearshift. I would all the time joke about reaching for the door handle to change the gear. This was, for most of my life, not a problem, automatics were readily available and I gave little real thought to my belief, my ‘point of view’ about what I could and could not do.
A little over a year ago we had a workshop in a mountain resort in Switzerland. The owner of the resort picked me up from the railway station in her automatic Subaru. It was a half hour drive, partly on motorways, mostly up a very narrow, windy mountain road, no room for passing.
I knew others would be arriving later that afternoon and offered to go down and collect them myself, thinking I could easily handle the Subaru. “Wonderful” she said, “You can take the bus.” Bus, I thought, what bus, what about the Subaru. Arriving on the top of the mountain I saw the bus, a largish 4 wheel drive, high off the ground, and, of course, it was a manual. I easily noticed the feelings that arose as the image of the gearstick clashed with a long held point of view. I knew I still had a choice, I could say, sorry, I don’t know how to drive one of these, and backed down. Instead, I noticed the feeling and let it go. The feeling after all was only a chemical reaction to a point of view. I have been teaching we are not our point of view for a long time, now it was time to put my money where my mouth was, another opportunity to walk the talk.
The time of departure grew rapidly closer (a case of ‘time’ moving vary fast indeed) and on two occasions I noticed the feelings of uncertainty (and fear?) Arise, each time I acknowledged the feeling and let it go, moving my awareness onto other things. Remember, we energise that which we focus out awareness on. It would have been easy for me to fall into old patterns and build a good case to not drive this vehicle down the mountain. Not just any old mountain, but a car with a gear shift and on what was little more than a very narrow track winding down a mountain. Anxiety is an interesting thing which more often than not disables us completely.
The Moment of Truth!
At last the moment was upon me. I collected the keys, made sure I had my satellite navigation plugged in, and started the car. The doubt was just a fleeting thought now, and I went through the process of putting the car into gear and driving off down the mountain effortlessly. My main concern was that someone would be coming up the mountain while I was trying to get down it. But, no, no one appeared and the trip was not only uneventful, but a pleasure, and a great breakthrough for me personally. So much so that I repeated the drive twice more that day, once even at night.
What was all the fuss about?
This may all sound very silly and minor, and looking back, of course it was. But the hold that belief pattern had on me had ruled my life for many years. Where did it come from, what basis in ‘reality’ did it have…
When we consider that we are all unique collections of points of view, when we imagine that a point of view is sacred, that our point of view is the one and only ‘right’ point of view, it is easy to see how we limit ourselves, and how conflict can arise.
My conflict was internal, internalising conflict may not appear to harm anyone else but it can certainly harm the person who holds onto a pattern and internalises the results or consequences of that pattern. Mine, for example, was anxiety about driving a car with manual transmission on the other side of the road to that which I was accustomed. The anxiety that is created when that point of view is challenged is creating an healthy environment in my body, the chemicals released by the body when anxiety is personalised are, over a period of time, quite destructive.
To blame or not to blame?
I can run from that feeling by avoiding driving the car, this does not change my point of view, in fact it supports it, and I convince myself more and more that I cannot do this thing. I could blame the owner of the resort, or the car, for putting me in this uncomfortable situation. Crazy, yes indeed, but notice how, when your point of view is challenged and you are taken out of your ‘comfort zone’ you kick out, often at those closest to you. How you judge and blame the world and those in it for your own discomfort. A common enough response to the chemicals of anxiety. But if you blame another, or the neighbours dog, or the government, whatever, you are still reinforcing a point of view, which, really has no basis in who you truly are.
The trick then is to develop the ability to become a little more objective each day. To try and question the basis upon which you have built your world from within the citadel that created that world is difficult, if not impossible. But to begin to notice the feelings that arise around any point of view you may hold on to is not so difficult. This will allow for other possibilities, possibilities that will slowly free themselves from your past, allowing you to be more in the world and respond to the world on a moment by moment basis. Until you try stepping out from the shadow of the past you will not know just how much a victim to conditioning that had no basis in reality, you have been.