What you thought of me was everything.
I had already eliminated most of my buffers – my addictions and distractions. There was nothing to numb the intensity of my anger, fear and anxiety. My thoughts just showed up as disembodied voices in my head – a play-by-play color commentary of everything that was happening in my life. There were the facts and there was my story about the facts.
I experienced my story as the truth.
Without a deliberate effort to question them, my thoughts ran my life. With help, I noticed that when I believed certain thoughts, I became confused and felt powerless. Prior to this insight, I assumed that the confusion and powerlessness was caused by circumstances in my life. Based on this assumption,
I tried to control my environment to avoid this state of confusion and powerlessness.
I saw that I had been living to survive. Each day presented a series of experiences to endure and tolerate. I became very good at anticipating and avoiding the pitfalls and dangers of life. Burdened by my false assumptions and theories which I designed to survive, I hadn’t had the conscious bandwidth to notice anything that I didn’t expect to see
I was vigilant for what was going to go wrong, how I would screw things up and who would see through my act.
I created a likable, acceptable and even admirable False Self to hide who I was afraid I really was; what I now call the Shame Self. All my energy and focus went into maintaining the False Self, making sure no one ever figured out the secret of who I thought I was. I saw myself as my abilities and my accomplishments or my failures and defects. Either way, I thought I was what others thought of me. I exhausted myself and those near me with Shame and Defense strategies.
What Changed? Looking inside gave me power.
Eventually, using a method of self-inquiry, I saw that my confusion disappeared when the actual cause of my powerlessness, my thinking was revealed. And paradoxically this insight left me feeling EMPOWERED.
Finally, I seemed to have my hands on the levers of my life!
For the first time ever, I had the power to choose how I would respond to life as it unfolded. After doing enough of self-inquiry, I realized that I was no longer the servant of my thoughts. I was mastering the art of thought stewardship.
Confusion and powerlessness were replaced by clarity and a thrilling sense of possibility.
My false sense of self began to disintegrate. What emerged in its place was Flow, Wisdom and sometimes Genius! It was and is thrilling when this happens. I have come to expect it but never fail to be amazed by it. I’ve come to realize that this is my natural state. It was hidden by my False Identities of Shame and Defense. I saw what I couldn’t previously see.