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Maybe if I really paid attention to my life I’d notice that I don’t know what’s going to happen this afternoon and I can’t be fully confident that I’m competent to deal with it. Maybe we’re willing to let in that thought. It has some reasonableness to it, I can’t exactly know, but chances are, possibilities are, it’s not going to be much different that what I’ve usually experienced and I’ll do just fine, so we close up that unsettling possibility with a reasonable response. The practice of awareness takes us below the reasonableness that we’d like to think we live with and then we start to see something quite fascinating, which is the drama of our inner dialogue, of the stories that go through our heart, and we start to see in this territory it isn’t so neat and orderly and, dare I say it, safe or reasonable. So in the practice of awareness, which has gone on for centuries after centuries and millennium after millennium, human beings have asked themselves, Hmmmm, how do I engage this awareness in a way that I don’t become too frightened by what it might unfold or too complacent by avoiding it? This is the delicate work of awareness. (…)

The practice of awareness says don’t grasp it too tightly, don’t be too convinced. And in that simpler way of being, it’s okay to sometimes experience not knowing what to do next, to run into a barrier. It’s okay to realize that life has a mysterious quality to it, it has an element of uncertainty, it’s okay to realize that we do need help, that calling out for help is a very generous act because it allows others to help us and it allows us to be helped. Sometimes we’re calling out for help. Sometimes we’re offering help, and then this hostile world becomes a very different place. It is a world where there is help being received and help being given, and in such a world this compelling determined world according to me loses some of its urgency and desperation. It’s not so necessary in a generous world, in a world where help is available, to be so adamant about the world according to me.

From A Field Guide To Getting Lost

listening while reading: Jill Baylon – Wouldn’t It Be Nice

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