“True observation begins when devoid of set patterns; freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond system.”
– Bruce Lee
Today, let's decern the difference between acting out of presence or acting out of a pattern.
We are the way we are because complex patterns of reactions have developed into the structures of our personality. Patterns are completely mechanical processes that interact and evolve on their own, eleborating themselves on the basis of emotional imperatives that have formed around unreleased feelings or experiences. The result of pattern-based living is suffering.
The key to telling when we're acting out of presence or pattern is to look at the intention and result.
- intention is to serve the conditioned agendas of ourselves or others.
- results in actions that are consistently contrary to our intentions.
- results in consistently experiencing unfulfilled expectations.
- results in tension and pain in the body.
- results in the decay of attention, presence, and awareness.
- intention is to serve the present moment situation.
- results in actions being aligned with our intentions.
- results in new dimensions of freedom and transformation of behavior.
- results in healthy flow within in the body.
- results in increased attention, presence, and awareness.
The function of patterns are always to transform the present situation into reaction so that the emotional core of the experience never arises in awareness—which runs regardless of its appropriateness to the situation that triggered the pattern. Unless of course, we notice a pattern and cut it with attention.
The practice of observing actions and their results eventually leads us to recognize patterns.
Observation means bringing attention again and again to the pattern. Repeated practice results in a higher level of attention that penetrates what the pattern obscures. Most patterns have been in place for a long time. So the key to cutting into a pattern and dismantling it's habitual conditioning is consistency. Notice and cut it with attention … again and again and again.
Take a pattern you have observed and work through the four steps to freedom:
- recognize the pattern – notice shifts in the body, emotional states, familiar automatic behaviors, etc.
- disidentify with the pattern – see the pattern as a process that operates independently of your intention.
- interrupt the pattern – stop the pattern from playing out and return the energy to active attention.
- cut the pattern – practice bringing attention to the pattern, again and again and again and again and poof … no more pattern.
I am guided by my self-awareness.
In Sanskrit: Om Supra Niti Swaha.
I identify with the natural state of balance within.
I may forget the truth of who I am, but I can return again and again to this place as many times as I need to.
I can return to stillness as soon as I notice that I have drifted away from it.
Awareness is my friend and even if I leave it, it will never leave me.
It will always guide me home again.
What practice helps you notice and disrupt conditioned patterns of behavior?
We'd love to hear in the comments.