First, I have to say that up until yesterday I really did consider myself to be the most self-aware person on the planet.
ON THE PLANET!
Seriously. The need for me to get over myself is really just astounding.
So then I go to the Letting Go of Fear workshop at the Cambridge Meditation Center. We do a meditation, and then we go around and say who we are and why we’re there. I’m the second person and I’m like, “I’m Lyralen, and I had a gut feeling I was supposed to come to this, and then everything got cancelled without me doing anything, so I thought I’d come.”
Everyone else talks about anxiety and fear in their lives, and how there’s a legacy of these things in their families, illustrating clearly why they are drawn to this topic.
I’m sitting there, listening with interest, thinking, “Really? I don’t think anxiety is in my family.”
Did I mention I have a German mother? This becomes more relevant every minute.
Then there’s a lecture about fear and how it works and how we are aware of it and I am struck with profound narcolepsy so I surreptitiously lie down on the floor and go to sleep. And wake up. And go to sleep again.
When we do our second meditation I choose a position that’s usually kind of painful because I figure at least the pain will keep me awake. Which it does.
Michael Liebenson Grady talks about the attachment to self and how in the Western world, fear is always MY fear, or MY anxiety or I am a fearful person. In Buddhism it’s all, fear exists, it’s an energy, it’s here, it will pass. No ownership. No ego attachment.
I’m up for that. I like Michael a lot, by the way, though I am not in love with him as I am with the lovely Dr. Martinez, who I talked to on the phone on Friday.
Anyhow, so in the afternoon we go from doing calming meditation practices to doing investigative practices, which are the ones I truly love best. We put our awareness on physical sensations or emotions appearing as physical sensation in the body (which they always do, as far as I’m concerned). I had this huge point penetrating my heart with an anvil on top that spread through my chest and shoulders with pressure in my head.
Never let it be said that my inner experience is less than dramatic.
So, I sensed into it, and it was gloriously painful, and then it made me cry really hard for the requisite 2 minutes. First the point disappeared, then the anvil, and I was left with brain pressure, and then that went, too. I felt relief and utter, complete peace.
Of course, the back pain thing had been building all day, but according to Sarno I’m not supposed to sense into that, so I didn’t. Showing that I can be obedient, but only if the reward is very great and somewhat proven.
Anyhow, then we did another discussion, and Michael talked about how sensing into the physical sensation or emotion doesn’t necessarily or usually change them. And I’m like, “What?”
So I raise my hand and say, “I was really grateful when everyone was talking about their fear and the legacy of fear because it was new. I mean, well, in my family we don’t feel fear. We have back pain. We have chronic fatigue. But no fear.”
Of course, everyone is laughing. One woman is like, “I want to be part of your family.” (Which, if she had any idea, she would shoot herself before saying.)
I’m like, “Chronic back pain for ten years, yeah.” Then I told how it feels really good to go inside the pain and how it goes away. And Michael says, “I can see if you’ve been conditioned to always being in denial it would be a huge relief to feel the pain because then at least you’re not in denial any more.”
Me? In denial?
There goes the most self-aware woman on the planet image, sucked right out the window which I have conveniently opened right behind where I’m sitting.
And the back pain is getting really bad.
I am somehow self-aware enough to know that now not only do I have to become aware of unconscious rage, I also have to do fear, terror, anxiety and worry.
That makes me feel…like killing someone!
But, the back pain drives me through the rest of yesterday and I get up this morning and do an hour of work on the Sarno material, including writing about fear and PRESTO-CHANGEO, no more pain.
Really, when I think about my German mother, I don’t know what emotions she felt. Anger. But mostly she was tense. Really tense. Super anal and tense. Perfectionist and tense. The Irish side of the family had anger, humor and laughter, but then they drank a lot more.
How could I possibly think I had escaped all that repression? Why did I become an actor in the first place? Or a writer? I mean, really.
I am, apparently, not the most self-aware person on the planet.
Writing this blog is an exercise in humility.
Which, in between self-deprecating jokes and immense ego inflation, I probably need.
Metta for me. And for everyone else. Because truly, no one is that self-aware. We have un-evolved brains, remember? We are always constructing reality and not knowing it’s all just construction.
I am tempted to blow it all off and just go have a good time. Which might be the point.
PS-I think my German mother was terrified down to her very German toes. And my Irish father was probably worse.