Thursday, December 21, 2006

What would you do if you didn't have a job telling you what to do?

This is the thought that came to mind as I drove to work this morning: What would you do if you didn't have a job telling you what to do?

Like most of us I have fallen into this pattern where the corporation I work for determines what I do in my life. Working in Silicon Valley means living here, even though it's so expensive to buy a house I've never been able to get past sticker shock. Working in the job I have means performing the set of activities the boss wants me to do. For both there is the threat of being fired if I don't do what they say.

I feel highly motivated to do work that would affect the process of global warming and/or the political awareness of the fiascos brought to us by the Bush Administration. But working for a living in a full time job leaves little free time. And neither of those topics help the corporation I work for and therefore my boss would not appreciate if I spent work hours on those activities.

Then as I stayed with the statement another version formed in my thinking. What actions would you take if you were not in reactive mode?

In other words, I'm probably not alone in this, but the pattern I follow includes looking at the world around me and reacting to what I see. My life taught me to ignore the ideas flickering (or burning) inside me, and instead my life taught me to look at what others say or do, and then make sure that my statements and actions are compatible with my perception of what other people are doing and saying. It's a very subtle thing to notice and requires careful self-observation of the kind that meditators develop.

This, however, is like looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope. Rather than choosing my own destiny I've been letting others determine it for me. I know that I'm not alone in this predicament.

In Light Emerging: The Journey of Personal Healing Barbara Brennan discusses this predicament as one of the five character structures taught in the Reichian-inspired psychological theory she teaches. The Masochist learns in childhood to do anything they can to please other people, because one gets love and attention by doing as others say. The Masochist has poor self boundaries, and generally does not know their own essence. The Masochist also learned to stop the flow of their life.

Clearly as Barbara recommends in her book, the human need is to learn to be free to feel and express the self, and the spiritual need is to recognize ones core essence and to live it. The specific path she recommends is to first recognize those who use the Masochist character structure may well have a very complicated set of ideas to bring out. That it may take quite a while, several years perhaps, of carefully recording ideas and thoughts and piecing it together over time. She suggests writing ideas in a journal and to take ones time, that it might be two years or more.

I have found that idea, to journal and reflect over a long time, very helpful for myself. However I recently have been developing a practice which also helps one gain familiarity with their core essence. Inner Homeopathy is a meditative practice that helps one experience their divine self in an authentic fashion. It is a simple practice of breathing and calling from inside yourself the divine presence within you.