You know how at the start of each episode of Lost there was the floating title and the dramatic voice over saying ‘Previously on Lost…’ and a recap of the highlights to date.
Well for people who are starting to see the inside out nature of their experience more clearly the voice over would say ‘Previously on…’ and it would show a fast paced montage of:
annoying people doing annoying things making us annoyed
nasty people doing nasty things and making us feel bad
stressful jobs and too much to do making us stressed
scary things making us scared
nice things making us happy
sexy things making us feel sexy
fun things making us excited
That was the whole ‘Previously on…’ of our lives. Looking outside at the annoying, stressful, scary, nice, fun stuff and reacting accordingly as any normal human would.
Then we see a glimpse of something more truthful. We have our first insight that we are reacting, not to ourselves or the outside world, as we previously believed, but to thought.
And Season Two begins.
The camera pans in on us, standing there, with a look of total confusion on our face. And what is going on in our head is that we are… not sure now if those annoying people are really annoying or those stressful events are really stressful or those scary events are really scary or is it all just our state of mind and what to do now because it all still looks annoying and stressful and scary and what is real anyway and how do we decide whether we want to leave the bastard or ditch the crap job because it can’t be just us when it looks so much like it is them and maybe we have to stay anyway because homelessness isn’t an illusion and what the hell is going on now…
Lost Season Two can seem far harder work than all the ‘Previously on…’s put together.
This is where I almost baled out. If I am going to lose a client I lose them here. When the world still looks crap most of the time but now it looks like not only is it crap but it seems I am telling them it is their fault it is crap. ‘Thanks for that Clare. No really I think I’ll stop there. Honestly nothing to do with you or the coaching…’
And this is awful because I know that this ‘their fault / my fault’, this confusion, this disoriented hard work, this place of no direction is still just part of the Lost series. It has nothing to do with the reality of engagement, clarity, purpose and ease that is their birthright.
So how do we get through this season and all the other many seasons of Lost that come after it? How on earth do we find where we are and where we want to go and how to get there in a world that we are creating from the inside ?
Let’s start with what we don’t use as a guide:
The state of the world, the size of our problems, what we have to think about, what is stressful and worrying, working out what we think of other people and what they think of us, our flaws and imperfections
That’s all gone forever as an apparent source of information. Because we’ve realised that everything we think about the world, about other people, about ourself – good, bad, kind, cruel, dangerous, safe – all that changes according to our state of mind.
A big evil world? A world full of helpful people? A nasty so and so out to get me? Someone who is trying their best with what they have? Insurmountable problems? Nothing I can’t handle? I’m a hopeless loser? I seem to be OK? Which is it?
None of it and all of it.
Whatever we believe in or take seriously in any moment is the reality we are in. Amazing. Mind-blowing. A work of mesmerising creative genius. And providing as much navigational aid for our life as a six season block-buster set.
That is previously where I got all my information from. I avoided the people I hated. I worried about my problems. I focused on what was stressful. I didn’t do what was scary. I acted according to what people would think. I spend decades trying to make myself a better person.
All of that can be left alone now.
What is left for us then? Do we just drift around? Sit on the meditation cushion while spiders build cobwebs in our hair? Wait for a flash of lightening and a big booming voice? Go back to bed?
Well the fabulous thing is that when we take our eyes of the tv series playing in front of us, there is no end of rock solid, infallible, high information indicators that are constantly available to us that show us exactly where we are and what to do next.
Our feelings are superbly useful. They tell us without fail what our thinking is doing in any given moment. Feeling stressed means we are thinking stressful thoughts. Feeling scared means we are thinking scary thoughts. It is that simple and that life-transformingly useful. Always listen in to your feelings, always value them, they are telling you about the movie going on in your head.
The beautiful part of this is that when we really see the universal principle of Thought we realise that all feelings are OK, all thoughts are OK. They are like clouds moving through. Out of our control, changing, impermanent. Nothing we need to do.
What we know and what we don’t know
George Pransky told me once about the black, white and grey.
The black is the stuff we know to do. We just know it and we do it or we put it off for a bit until we do it. We just know it makes sense. It is obvious and inevitable. When we listen in there is so much that we know.
The white is when we really don’t know. Should I leave my job, change country, have pasta for lunch, become an astronaut, walk on this side of the street? I don’t know. And we can be very very very fine with not knowing because in this we are open to reality. We know it is fine whether we know or not and in that knowledge we create the space for a new thought or fresh idea.
Then there is the grey – the rabbit warrens, the smudged, scribbled pencil lines, the eternal maze, the clanging wire coat hangers all caught up together, the ball of wool that the cat has been playing with. The grey is the crazed, convoluted, machinations of an exhausted mind trying to find an answer to a question that, if we paused for a moment, we would realise doesn’t exist.
Black is great. Lots in there for us.
White is great. Lots in there for us.
Grey we can notice and realise and laugh at and leave well alone. Nothing in there for us.
What we are doing already
Most of the time (always?) our thoughts create a picture of ourselves that is totally out of sync with what we are actually doing.
What we are doing right now is beautiful. What we are showing up for in the world already is perfect. The things that we are doing that keep ourselves and other people alive. Eating and drinking and getting dressed. Breathing, serving, helping, talking, laughing, sleeping, watching, listening, making cakes or mistakes… We forget how much we know to do, how much we easily do, how we experiment.
With our eyes on the horizon and our thoughts caught up in an imaginary future or an illusion of how we should be or how life should be, we miss all the stuff that is happening right now, the way our life is working right now.
As John Lennon said in his song ‘Beautiful Boy’ ‘Life is what happens while you are making plans.’ Underneath the drama of our thinking, our life is simply unfolding perfectly, calmly and steadily. We could still make the plans and then just fall into sync with this unfolding, noticing what is provided along the way, observing what we do, seeing where it takes us.
What we want others to do
What we want others to do, how we want others to change is very informative for us. Informative in the sense that it tells us nothing about what other people should do and everything about what our own soul yearns for. The stuff we don’t like in other people, the stuff we want to change? That is fabulous information about our own life, how we could live, the changes we can personally make .
I saw a small example of it the other day. A friend was complaining about his mother in law saying ‘She’s so judgemental’. I listened to him talk, pretending to be sympathetic but inside I was thinking ‘well you are judgemental calling her judgemental’ and then… I realised. Ah yes… It’s me. I’m the one doing the judging here. I can just stop that. This circle can stop with me. And in that realisation it did.
The change can only ever come from us. How can we expect others to change a belief or a behaviour that we haven’t yet seen through in ourselves? Everything can be different and because what we see outside is only ever the mirror of us, it can only start with us.
Our feelings, what we know or don’t know, what we are doing already, what we want others to do… All of this is an abundant supply of information, telling us what is really going on, showing us the answers, opening the doors, reconnecting us with the truth of our self, with others, with the reality of the world.
There were six seasons of Lost. For me these spread themselves out over about 40 years.
After Lost there is something else altogether. The opposite of Lost. What would that be?
Treasured. Regained. Found. Aware. Here. Certain. Alive.
For as many seasons as we want.