Post written by Hannah K.

My aim for this month is to observe and pull against my identification with "doing". This came about as a result of observing haste in myself. Although I have had very little success at pulling against haste, I have, through observing myself in it, been able to identify the emotions that set it in motion and come to realise that my emotional centre is far too attached to the belief that finishing tasks successfully and quickly will bring me happiness, or a sense of fulfilment, or make me feel alive.

My first opportunity to practice this aim this year came with the task of taking down the Christmas decorations. This was a task that I had been unable to carry out because I'd been ill since Christmas. I really wanted to do it because I believed that once it was done, the sitting room would feel less cluttered, more spacious and would help me feel like I was starting afresh for the new year. This belief that the completion of this task would make me feel better set haste in motion; I wanted to complete the task as quickly as possible so I would experience those good feelings as soon as possible. I managed to catch myself thinking these thoughts and determined to stay in presence as long as possible throughout the task and pull against any haste. The experience really did feel like the tug of war in the picture of the Churning of the Milky Ocean. Sometimes the devas prevailed and I acted from a place of presence and sometimes the demons did and I started to hurry, drift off into imagination and so on.

During the moments of presence where I concentrated on performing each movement of the task consciously, staying aware of my environment and of my own presence, I was able to verify what I had previously suspected, that the belief that the completion of the task would bring me happiness is based on a faulty premise. The sense of aliveness that I am searching for is not gained by what I do but the consciousness with which I do it. For I experienced a deep sense of aliveness from carrying out the task in presence which I have never experienced from acting in sleep. The fulfilment came from being deeply present while I was performing the task, not from getting it finished.

Another phenomenon I observed during these moments of presence is an awareness of my own existence, of myself performing the task. This awareness of my Observing 'I' creates within my Machine a strange discomfort that I have experienced before; a kind of self-consciousness or pressure that the Machine does not like. Observing this has made me suspect that, on a deeper level, my obsession with 'doing' is a buffer or distraction against this sense of my own existence. However, I have verified that this profound sense of my existence is absolutely real whereas keeping myself busy with tasks is false, a substitute for that real sense of Being.

Now I want to tackle the emotions that set haste in motion during my work days. The big one here is fear; fear of not getting to work on time, fear of not being ready for my first patient, fear of not getting home in time to cook my husband supper. This then makes me start hurrying, sometimes really frantically. Although I have observed that often these anxious sets of 'I's are unfounded, that I actually have plenty of time, I still have not been able to convince them that I will be ready in time and that haste actually makes me more inefficient and thus more likely to be late or forget something. I still have to succeed at this.

Responses

  1. Marcella Berardi

    Dear Hannah, we are sister in work. I can say something very similar about the observation of the machine: it pulls always toward its own easier part. The verification that I’m not able to do what I planned shocked me with a sense of frustration. I think there are in me many ”Is” who want to work, but which work can be done without demons who pull against devas? At the moment I have to say that moments of consciousness are like pearls during dark days but they spread light inside and the memory of it lasts for long time. How to increase them? How to be unified? All what we learn in this school is precious and I bless my life, with all my many mistakes, that allowed me to find it, however the work is up to me, to each of us. I’m not scared of the efforts, I fear the wrong way, the lost of time. Looking at the graphic that depicts the “Theory of chief feature” showed by Asaf and Mario in the last workshop, I recognize mine mostly in the passive insatiable features: Naivete, vanity, fear, greed. Looking for my chief feature I asked for help to whom I work with many hours a day and I discovered what I already knew in my inner conscience. Some years ago I went in Africa for a photographic safari, and I saw a lion eating his prey. The lioness, wanting her part, was going near to him but the king of the animals, roaring, has sent her away. So am I. At the very first moment I refuse to give to the others their part, for an animal instinct. Just after the moment is gone, I’m able to recognize, with a more balanced eye, which is the best behaviour and I recover as soon as I see it. This is, I believe a childish feature. Like animals, also the children have such an instinct to keep for them whatever they think is their own. As this aspect of my personality is seen from the outer, I can confirm this is my chief feature which I can call “a roaring I”.

  2. Leslie "Melody" Scott

    This post and the comment both were great for me to read today. I have that task completion thing too. Great sharing thank you.

    My mom, at about 80 was being tested for dementia. The tester asked her to draw a clock face with hands showing 10 mins after 2:00. She dutifully drew the clock, got all the numbers on there but sort of crunched up together at the end. As she struggled to get the hands to show the time requested…. she finally gently laid her pencil down as sweetly said “I’m just not going to worry about it anymore.” Dispite the entanglements of it being dementia testing – I found that to be a profound lesson for me within my life. I often recall that experience as I am fussing with something and it “reminds” me to let it go and be aware of myself- a wonderful mental tool~

  3. UrsH.

    Hello Hannah,
    thanks for sharing your experience. Right now I’m looking for a job and have all day to fill with “empty doing” – it feels like hell. I’ve come to the conclusion that its “sense” is to buffer me from feeling doubts, fear, insuffieciency and so on. These emotions are far more uncomfortable than running around and doing random stuff that comes to my mind. I think this is just the mechanism of the “false personality” wich always likes the easy way…In my case these negative emotions are also part of my machine, but allowing myself to feel them by avoiding blind action gets me into a deeper presence, I guess because it’s done intentionally.
    I don’t think its possible to “tackle” fear (as I understand: make it go away) or convince any of my “I”s that fear is not necesarry and make it go away… atleast that’s my experience until now… I try to do the same as you described about conciosly taking down Christmas decoration with the action I’m doing while experiencing fear and try to conciosly experience fear at the same time without holding on to it. And because being afraid is so much fun 😉 I sometimes ask myself if there is some feeling of joy hidden somewhere and try to feel that too… that losens things up a lot if it works – and the more often I do it, the better it works.

    1. Hannah K Post author

      Thank you Urs for this angle,
      Yes I too have found that observing fear without identifying with it is the only way to transform it. I have yet to achieve that in this situation but learning about Chief Feature has given me a clue to why the fear of being late has such a grip on me. I still need to verify this.

  4. Orazio Sorgonà

    My haste is associated with fear. Actually, I came to see haste as an ‘affirmative’ fear, matching with the ‘negative’ fear we are accustomed to regard as such.
    This helped me much, just seeing it as a wakness, and not a ‘smart’ skill or action.

    At times however haste exausts me , mostly when it hides itself behind the lie of being job-proficient.
    But then I usher myself in the Moment, and /this7 is really , and only, proficient.
    “Now is always Lovable”

  5. John Poitras

    When I am asleep haste and wishing to complete a task quickly is often for me a denying force and can result in negative emotion(s) taking control as a response to any perceived obstacles getting in the way of completing the task.

    Ben Franklin said… “Make Haste Slowly”

    When I am awake enough to observe I am rushing to complete a task it has helped to use this I and enlist the king of spades to introduce some intentionality into my movements.

    This often has the perceived effect of slowing things down.

    Also if I am awake enough I have used a work I from the intellectual center that understands an octave contains two intervals wherein the universe requires a interruption in the full speed ahead momentum which comes with mechanical haste.
    No point in trying to force the universe to change an immutable law which haste does not recognize as reality and one overlooks in the push to complete a task. It is a exercise in futility.

    Keeping in mind the “do” that every completed octave sounds not the end of the story.. It is also the beginning of a “do” in a new octave which is something I will often forget in my attempt to complete the task as quickly as I can. The end result will then not result in an energy boost or the sense of becoming more aware that the completion of a task using forth way tools is meant to produce.
    I am then left with the feeling of something unfinished or undone (what did I forget) and it is often as Lewis Carroll said…

    “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

  6. Leslie "Melody" Scott

    I have been thinking about this thread for the past couple of days now. I too thought getting things done would bring an emotional sense of fulfillment. Now I am thinking about “what” I actually ‘DO’ I get out of rushing around doing things, filing things…? Asking the question starts the chain of reflection that can actually change the outcome. I am now doing my daily tasks with more awareness. I love this website, this group and the members.. where else can you go to interact a bit and come away with such a great mental “tool” to work with?!

    1. Mario Fantoni

      Yes, Myrto, you hit the nail on the head, so to speak. It reminds me something I heard about Gurdjieff: he often said to his followers “never hurry”. Once one of them asked him “So what should I do if my house is catching fire?” and Gurdjieff replied “Then you run, but never hurry.”

    2. Leslie "Melody" Scott

      Myrto.. thank you for this comment. I used to rush (as in walking super fast) to the extent my boss said “just slow down”… I was young but I reflect back on that at times. I realize I was making my body rush because my mind was already at the destination and my impatience was pushing my body to “catch up”. I ask myself “can I move quickly” and yet maintain the “sense of self-presence and stillness” – THAT WAS A GREAT THOUGHT! Thank you for that.