The end of the war with what happened begins, and ends, with the mind.

So, it happened again.

OK, not the worst thing. Fine. Little exaggeration on the disappointment.

But not fun, not favorable, not what was initially wanted (if it went perfectly).

At least, that’s the way the mind’s commentary went.

It may be kind of dumb, when you hear it. It’s so small, in a way.

When I was first doing my webinar online retreat last Tuesday, the whole beginning 3 minutes was bizarre sound, tech failure, robot voice, nothing I was communicating was heard.

People were writing saying “I can’t hear anything” and “you sound like you’re from outer-space” and “I don’t understand anything”.

I’m sure some people turned off their computers immediately.

Funny, but on the internal level of feeling, I was honestly barely bothered. It was like “oh”. I stopped the recording, refreshed my internet connection, and voila, all was “normal”. I’m not even sure what went “wrong”.

And it so happened I remembered to start the recording again, even though we were about five slides into the beginning, so as a complete course recording there’s no intro or welcome.

The most important thing about this story, is simply that it’s a moment of stress. The mind says “this sucks”. (And it also says “again” like this same thing has happened a zillion times, even though that’s not true).

Things like this happen every day.

I want it to go like x, but it goes like y.

The volume on the stress gets turned up, the more and more you believe what you’re thinking is true, and it goes from technology whackiness, to something a little more threatening.

Like perhaps the way my mind might have gone (which it’s done before)….turning it into “I can’t do tech. This never works out. I shouldn’t even try. Who am I to think I can run a business?”

A little seed grows into a gigantic mushroom in 5 seconds, internally. We see images of it getting worse.

Examples:

We think someone said something really bitter or mean or critical to us. We feel cut off, or separated. Life is hard.

We fall down the stairs. Or someone we love does. The world is a dangerous place.

The air and sky is filled with forest fire smoke, and we start thinking about global warming and the end of the world. We are doomed.

The line is too long, the lobby is crowded, the freeway is filled with traffic, the clerk didn’t give us the correct change, we left our bag at school, our water bottle seems to have disappeared, we bang into the edge of the table, the keys are not where they should be.

Huff. Sad. Deflate. Rage.

It’s like there’s a small collapse on the inside (or a big one).

Something that says “NOOOOOOO!”

“This shouldn’t be happening”.

Is it true?

Yes, you can do this work with anything.

You really can ask if it’s absolutely true that what is happening, shouldn’t be. Are you sure?

One of the barriers to self-inquiry I talk about in the online retreat that apparently did mostly happen on Tuesday (and will happen for the final time today at 4 pm PT) is believing about a situation of concern: THIS IS REAL.

In other words, no inquiry or wondering or open-mindedness can occur in THIS situation. It’s REAL. It’s a THREAT. It’s BAD NEWS. It’s SERIOUS.

We’ll think if we even question this thought, then we’ll be passive and fake-ish and pollyanna. How could you not think that having a tech failure where no one can even hear you during an online course is NOT a bad thing?

How can you think getting sick is NOT a bad thing? How can you think forest fires are NOT a bad thing?

Of course they are! Jeez!

With these extremely serious experiences we humans have…how could we not be upset?

For me, inquiry is not about suppressing being upset, or being fake. It is never about flipping into some kind of weird positive or false thinking about things not being bad that really do seem bad.

Self-inquiry is actually the complete opposite.

It’s turning and facing reality as it is with a head-on look. It’s responding, responsive, responsible. I am able to respond, without freaking out and making it bigger than it is. I am able to work with reality as an equal and not thinking it shouldn’t exist the way it’s existing.

I might decide to do something pretty big, pretty bold, pretty loving because I’ve questioned “this shouldn’t be happening”.

Maybe the thing should be happening because I’m being called to wake up, pay attention, take action in a new and different way. Or let go, stop paying so much attention, and stop taking action.

I’ll know where the movement goes, with loving kindness, as I question my thinking.

But I have to actually follow the simple directions, and answer the four questions, and wonder about my answers.

Who would I be without my story that x shouldn’t be happening, whether a weird tech glitch in my online webinar retreat, or the death of someone really close (which I’ve experienced twice this year)?

Turning the thought around: it should be happening.

Could this be just as true? Are there any reasons it should happen that actually work for me? Even if they are tiny?

*I saw how many people so kindly shared with me they couldn’t hear–they truly cared

*I got to remember how I used to freak out on the inside, and noticed how something was completely untriggered, in a good way–progress in reaction

*I didn’t feel bad after the whole thing was over, I felt happy about all the volume of information gathered for the program

*A bunch of people have still signed up for Year of Inquiry anyway, where we continue the adventure pretty soon starting in September

And I can continue the list for other things that have happened, that I initially thought shouldn’t have happened.

Even aging, sickness, separation and death–the big ones.

Turning it around again: my thinking shouldn’t have happened in that situation. It got a riled up, over something unimportant, or something I have zero control over. Life went on.

My thinking about the horrors is what shouldn’t have happened. Even the death of people I love and adore, and miss today, brought many other humans together and made my heart fill with connection and breaking with the love and learning involved.

Who would we be without the belief it shouldn’t have happened?

Alive, connected, sharing, carrying on, rising up, grateful, heart-broken, OK, peaceful.

“The end of war with the mind, is the end of war.”

“Everything that you saw as a handicap, turns out to be the extreme opposite.”

~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

Register for Ten Barriers Retreat today right here.

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