Post written by Dean W.

What began as a simple aim for 2017, to self-remember when talking, has blossomed into a new level of understanding in the work I had not bargained for nor knew existed.

The aim still exists but it is now part of a greater aim aimed at accepting, moment by moment, chief feature: my vain friend Brainy Dingo (who thinks he knows it all), and who is really afraid and so I also call at times, Insecure Dingo.

It is difficult to piece together exactly how all this came about. January was a watershed month for the work, so much happened, and so fast, but it seemed to begin from the moment I had attempted to self-remember when talking, noting how difficult it was and how vulnerable I felt, and before I knew it I was piecing together fragments of my past and relating this simple observation to how I act when engaged in conversations with others.

Most notably is the observation that I am quite frankly, not interested in most conversations I become involved in, simply because I am only interested in my own views, opinions, and beliefs etc, not those of others. I don’t self-remember when I talk because I am identified, and I don’t listen when others talk, generally, because again, I am identified.

My chief feature was beginning to take shape at this point, but it began to take on a more serious shape right after I had scheduled a time to speak with Asaf. Almost immediately I began to observe that I was pre-empting questions and formulating ready-made answers. This was not a new observation for me, as I had observed in the past that not only do I do this but that this habit never works anyway – I always find that the questions I pre-empt never get asked, and the ones I think won’t get asked, do get asked!

When I noticed myself doing this I set an aim to stop it in its tracks and simply observe. It worked quite well as an alarm because it kept coming back. The more it happened, and the more I stopped and observed, the more I started to see, at first, a desire of my machine to create an image of wisdom, objectivity, coolness, being right etc, and not someone who comes across as emotional, or naïve. What I later realized was that I did not want to be identified when I spoke to Asaf, or at least not to appear as if I was.

Immediately upon seeing this I did, without realizing it at first, what had been suggested in the workshops, my chief feature began to set the aims and control the work. I set an aim not to allow myself to get passionate, emotional, or ‘swept-away’ in my answering of any questions Asaf may ask me. So not only was I stopping myself from pre-empting questions, I had set the aim to be the image my chief feature was trying to create, to be objective, cool, and calm (which I later realized was the image of not being identified).

When the time came to speak to Asaf, and upon Asaf asking me the sort of questions, with my recent aim fresh in my mind, I immediately clammed up. I could not answer them without getting caught up in them, and it became apparent immediately, and so I kept what I wanted to say to a bare minimum, at least this is how I remember it. I also remember after the call that I felt that I had failed in my aim and was quite down on myself, for days!

However, during this call, Asaf had also given me a task, which is what you are reading now. He asked me to superimpose on my work the following question “How can we use our deep rooted habits to keep the flame alive?”

At first I struggled somewhat with this because I couldn’t quite see yet how my chief feature was holding the axe, let alone how to use it beneficially; I was still under the impression that my habits needed to be eliminated.

Then when Asaf posted the February 2017 post, it all seemed to fall into place, at least theoretically. I could now see that it was my chief feature that set the aim not to be, or appear at least, identified when talking to Asaf. It gave a fresh new perspective to the question and created a feeling that I had reached a new level of understanding; I felt ready for new challenges and was eager to answer the question posed.

However, this positive feeling was short lived and the following day, as I have described in my video, my chief feature had ramped up all its efforts, causing me to doubt things and throwing me into a sea of self-pity and confusion for most of the day. It did this by continually bringing up the matter of non-expression vs acceptance – how can you be expected to accept things as they are, your warts and all, if the work is telling you not to express negative emotions, not to be in haste and so forth.

After struggling with this for hours and getting nowhere, and at the point of exhaustion, I asked myself why I had begun this work, and as if by divine intervention I separated from the struggle so to speak. It was here I realized that I was still using my chief feature to struggle against it, that unless I simply observe it, it will continue to create a vicious cycle.

This was the beginning of the acceptance. I soon thereafter realized several important elements of my chief feature which all give rise to accepting it:

1. That I need my chief feature to awaken and progress in the work. Nothing else will create the necessary fuel;
2. That by realizing I need it, I was then able to see that it re-asserts itself every breath, that each moment a new possibility to awaken and simply observe it arises;
3. That behind all the vanity is a deep seated fear of the dark unknown, and that for all its righteousness it is small and very afraid and is really crying out for help;
4. That without it and all its quirks, one is not able to play the role others, especially those close to us, are accustomed to seeing.

Since then I have had more recent and profound discoveries; that when I am being spoken to by my family members in particular, I have found that by naming my chief feature in action I can separate, and not only do I find I listen, I actually have found my moving center is animating for the speakers benefit also, i.e. acknowledging that I have actually heard in full what was said etc. - in contrast before, I would not only find it hard to listen, my body language would sometimes tell the other person I wasn't listening (although this last behaviour is usually only with family members or really close friends).

What is both fascinating and inspiring is that this behavior of the moving center was something I observed but seemed to be beyond my immediate control – it was attached or a manifestation so to speak to the observation of the chief feature.

Responses

  1. Rodney Collin

    “Weakness is also an individual’s opportunity, his way of understanding. At the service of personality, it is that which constantly leads him into the same troubles and difficulties; but at the service of aim… it is his gift, his way, his justification for being in the world.”

  2. Hannah K

    Thank you for this post Dean. It’s reassuring to read your experiences with observation of features. I too have been having the experience of gaining a degree of clarity, being able to see my features quite clearly and in a detached way and then losing that clarity completely and getting totally identified and confused by their myriad manifestations. But each time I gain clarity again, like you describe I see something new, a bit deeper into the tangled web that they weave. It’s almost like diving for pearls; one has to get submerged in the dark waters in order to surface again with a new pearl of wisdom and each one is a shock, not what I’d anticipated, not who I thought I was, an embarrassing truth that has to be accepted and assimilated.

  3. Dean Whittingham Post author

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Hannah, well said; it has been like peeling layers from an onion and if one is not careful, one finds the onion makes you cry!

    (incidentally, a trick I one learned in order to prevent crying when cutting onions was to breathe through the nose, which takes presence!)

    Has anyone else found what Hannah has found?

    I too am finding myself diving deeper into my machine only to find new fears, new shocks, new things to have to accept.

  4. Ravi Solanki

    Are you sure? I think it’s too general a thing to call your chief feature or fault. I was attracted to this post because I have exactly similar aim as to remember myself when talking with others. And my success has been almost zero. But excuse my opinion if you want since I have no idea what it will take to read such a lengthy post in a state of Self-remembering and I just got back from gym and also my chief fault seems to be half-assing. So i may not have read it properly.

  5. Aporia

    I have seen what Hannah describes. Just a glimpse and its almost as if its too bright like looking at the sun. I can’t help myself with identifying; becoming overwhelmed completely and losing sight. I am addicted to the confusing happiness and never knowing what comes next.

    Thank you for sharing your personal insights.