It is fascinating what occurs when you grab a hold of a tiny thread and begin to pull on it. If it was a sweater, you would eventually unravel it back to its humble beginnings as a ball of yarn.
The thread I am referring to is the journey of self-discovery. It can take decades to summon up the courage to grab the thread. We may start the process and take another decade or more to come back to it. Some will never do it at all, and some may do it all at once. I suppose I fall into the “start the process and take another decade” camp.
In 1980, I began my exploration of self by participating in a weekend-long workshop designed to impart the tools needed to heal myself and others through guided imagery and visualization. I have used some of the techniques over the years but it wasn’t enough. About a year ago, I had the good fortune to “stumble” (as if anything is accidental) upon vipassana (insight) meditation. It is the “letting go” rather than the “adding to” that visualization techniques offer. The right balance of these, at least in the moment (until I perhaps discover something else) seems to be helping me to clear out the last of the lingering old patterns and programs. I have worked on relieving myself of them for decades. The first step is to truly understand who you are, aside from the ego. It is helpful to know what the negative patterns are and how they got started in the first place. Somewhere between the “letting go” and allowing for clarity and insight, and deliberately adding imagery that replaces the old issue or attitude, one can begin to see results and positive changes to their experience. It is interesting how the old patterns created in our childhood and reinforced by the experiences we choose stay in our “mental closet” like cobwebs and shadows. We can’t notice them in the light of day and can even believe we have cleared them out completely. Then, in a moment, we feel the twinges and know we still have work to do.
My sincerest hope is that you begin to pull the thread, go back to your humble beginnings (for that is where the origin and truth lies) and enjoy all of the discoveries that go along with deliberate participation in this thing we call Life on Earth.