At the airport I saw a very short person in front of me in the security line. My instant gut feeling was one of difference, slight fear, and ‘not me.’ As an experiment I then switched the internal dialogue to the we voice. Still gazing on the same person in front of me, it became: “We are all human beings and we really do come in all sizes and shapes. Wonderful and amazing fact!” An immediate and significant shift in perspective and feeling tone from a simple pronoun shift in the internal dialogue.
On the plane the flight attendant started into her safety riff and my eyelids started drooping and I almost fell instantly asleep. An idea popped into awareness. Start moving those eyeballs in rapid eye movement (REM), left and right, up and down, round and round. Almost instantly free attention perked up and I was able to listen to the same presentation I have heard a thousand times, as if it were fresh. A good speculation is that the conscious addition of rapid eye movements forces the usual neural circuits that process the incoming auditory and visuals to operate differently. Interestingly, the moment I stopped the REM the drooping eyelids and boredom resumed. A temporary but not permanent pattern shift in this case.
No conclusions, but shifting internal dialogue and using REM can be implemented anywhere and anytime to get fresh perspectives and new takes on habitual responses.
I am holding the creative intention that this brain will find each day even more unexpected and delightful ways to change patterns for kinder, more effective, and happier living.
Most of the participants listed themselves as ‘Hybrid’ or had no designation (like me). Only some identified themselves as ‘Buddhist.’ All the several dozen participants I met and all the presenters were clearly active meditators and all could be described as, at minimum, ‘Buddhist Friendlies’ (my terminology).
Steven Batchelor, one of the key presenters, described ‘Do It Yourself Buddhism.’ In the well known metaphor, the dharma is the boat that helps a practitioner get over the river to reach enlightenment. Batchelor advocated using whatever is available to construct your own raft. He also advocated training in a specific tradition first, which I have not done and am not likely to do at this point. Nonetheless, I resonated with his description of the DIY process, and realized that this blog and its trail of ideas, techniques, and values represents my still evolving ‘Do It Yourself’ meditation practice.
I also realized from talking to several participants who have changed traditions that even a hard core traditional path follower is still a ‘DIY’ practitioner in two respects. Only the practitioner can do it, no one else can. And if one tradition doesn’t work out, at least in our culture, participants can and will switch to another, or start their own ‘DIY’ practice.
This wonderful group is lead by Vince Horn. He has done over 250 podcasts interviewing Buddhist teachers, writers, and researchers. For more information, go to buddhistgeeks.com. I already purchased a ticket for next year’s conference. This is a highly recommended resource for seekers of all backgrounds.