- & Self-transformation
And while we progress along these in a somewhat linear way, until we come to the end we don’t outgrow any of them. We begin at the beginning, with observation and acceptance, and continue observing and accepting as long as we want to keep on the path.
Call it mindfulness, call it witness-consciousness — self-observation is the act of becoming aware of our thoughts and processes, our drives and hang ups.
And when we start to really see what’s inside, it can be pretty damn uncomfortable. It might be disappointing, disheartening, or downright scary. You may, as I did, realize a depth of mental illness that seems unrecoverable. You may find violence and dread; antipathy, weakness, disease; resentment, jealousy, or maybe systemic resignation.
Regardless of what you find, the next step is acceptance.
No matter what we find when we turn within, that is where we are. To deny it or berate ourselves because of it is not the way forward; acceptance and compassion are.
“Authentic presence is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and one another. It becomes the hallmark of a more integrated person who can be with self and other, shadow and light, struggle and grace authentically.”
“We literally enter a zone of transformational possibility at the level of the brain when we are in meditative states. We can be mindful in many different ways, but being mindful in relations to our bodies brings together a set of brain functions that make insight, compassion and integration possible in powerful ways.”
And it begins with compassionate acceptance of the darkness within.