Know Thyself – Tools for Self-Knowledge – Richard’s Commentary

As I was writing my “morning pages” today I realized after a couple of paragraphs that I was writing today’s post and commentary on Rosemary’s Exploration article. I began my pages, as I often do, writing about the passage of time; here’s my entry:

We are running out of Leo fast; and then August. Everyone seems to be noting how fast time is now passing.

Of course it is all perception – as everything is. One effect on our perception is the amount of information we are bombarded with moment to moment. 24-hour news, FaceBook, email, the never ending stream of websites and blogs is literally overwhelming. When we are overwhelmed we can go into a spin, a dive that seems endless, frightening and high-speed. Time melts away in the dive – it almost feels like a death-defying dive!

And it is all perception! The only reality is of our own making, our own perceiving. To change our reality all we need to do is change our perspective. And this is a matter of intention and attention.

It begins with intention: what is going on inside. If we feel we are in free-fall, take a breath, maybe two, deep cleansing breaths, and then put the brakes on. Stop the fall. Sink into the dantien (the lower abdomen area) and breathe there. It is possible to float here. And as we float we can get a sense of flow, of going with the flow. The current doesn’t have to be a raging rapids; it can be a slow, lazy summer river taking its time in search of the sea. It can take on any speed we give it because this is our reality. We can imagine it to be any rate of flow we desire!

It’s good to take time out of a busy life to slow the pace. There really is no place to go. There’s nothing to do. Oh, OK, there are chores of life, tasks we set for ourselves, responsibilities we sign up for and lessons to learn. But we can be and breathe through all of these.

The “being part” is the witness who rides above all of the rapid pace, the wild passage of time, the endless stream of information. Rise up to that level and watch it all. How serious does it all appear to be – how real? How important?

From that vantage the passage of time seems almost irrelevant. Yes, we have our lessons to work out, our karmic Lesson Plan. Here’s where attention comes in. There are external influences that come to play in our lives. We have other people’s perceptions to take into account and to process. When we pay attention we can see and learn the lessons these interactions hold for us. This is a matter of shifting our perspective from “encounter” to “classroom.” We shift from “other” to “mirror” – how is this person mirroring me, my interactions and my behavior?

Inner perspective, intention, and outer perspective, attention, are always relative, which means they are adaptable, transmutable. The simple technique of using breath to do the adapting is all that’s needed. One breath can stop the fall, gain a fresh perspective and shift reality.

I have moved now well into my birthday month, working on my 70th year! To many, and sometimes me, this sounds old! And from this perspective that time is speeding up, I may not have much time left! So, I take a breath and try this on: “70 is the new 50”! Ah, that’s better and about how I feel! And soon enough 100 will be the new 70!

Rosemary asks: Have you explored tools to help you understand where you are coming from? What about where others are coming from? Do you value the differences in how people approach learning, or life, or do you expect everyone to see things as you see them? To listen and to hear exactly what you hear? To feel the way you feel?

My answer, as it is for many things these days, is “I practice Qigong.” Breathe deeply and gain a new perspective on your “reality.”

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