Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sleepwalking

In Buddhism, there is the idea that most people are sleepwalking through life and the purpose is to awaken. While it may seem that you are often awake in your life, it may be less so than you think.

When coaching people, I often ask them to describe exactly what happened with a difficult or troubling situation. This activity is different than telling the "story" of what happened (e.g. "this person doesn't respect me"). "
Tell me what words were said. Describe the actions that took place." This practice can help someone to awaken by calling upon the ability to observe carefully.

Sometimes, at a specific point in the situation, a person is unable to clearly remember what was said or done. "I don't remember exactly what happened next." This can be an illuminating point to determine where an underlying issue, overwhelming feeling, or trigger reaction came into being and where the person fell asleep, so to speak. Then, I ask the person to take time to recollect carefully or to watch for the same moment in a future situation and record what happens the next time. When these moments are seen clearly for what they are, often the solution or clarity of what's next comes naturally.

If you observe, describe, and become more aware of exactly what happens in a challenging situation, what can be revealed?

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