The experiences we’ve been having recently are simply correlated to greater safety and therefore a more fulfilling, connected, productive, or easier time. Being at home generally seems a safer place than being in the office, so the voice of the ‘me’ goes quiet. There isn’t (usually) a thought of threat at home like it imagines and expects it will get at work. Being at home isn’t in its box marked ‘danger’.
AND in an unprecedented experience of ‘no rule book’ the me also sees safety. Brilliant! I can’t get it wrong! We’re all in the same boat. Phew! So this gets correlated to the ‘safe’ box too and the me quiets down, and we get brilliant!
So the idea of me goes quiet when it correlates an experience to being a safe one — and then we experience our innate brilliance.
From that, we could say, ‘right, so now we need to create a psychologically safe working environment. We need to make sure people feel safe the vast majority of the time and then we’ll get their brilliance more of the time.’
But this creates a psychological game of tiptoe. Not daring to sneeze — or maybe cough — in the wrong direction for fear it creates danger for someone and jumps their ‘me’ back into the game. This is what happens for people with anxiety. Knocking experiences off the list of ‘things I can do’ until there’s very little left and their ‘safe zone’ has become their house. And even that doesn’t look so safe.
How do we really disappear the me then?
First off, most people don’t entirely disappear the me — and we don’t need to — because everyone has the capacity to see it for what it really is and change their relationship to it — and this changes everything!
Instead, notice the word ‘correlates’. The me doesn’t know anything about the outside world. It’s an idea in thought that takes information and tidies it up. It thinks its job is to keep us safe and to do that efficiently. It’s not — we have an in-built alarm system for that— but in the absence of knowing that, it very efficiently sees incoming information, checks what it looks like — oh, it’s a bit like this — and tidies it away into the box with ‘other things that look like this’. Safe — dangerous. Towards — away from. Like — don’t like.
All done without any idea of what’s actually going on. And trying to be so efficient in its task that it glosses over distinctions, nuances, and differences to make it fit a pre-existing box. Much more efficient that way.
The more we see that the me is an activity of thought, playing a game of guess-and-match, and not one of insightful assessment, the more it starts to lose its appeal.
The moment we shift our understanding of how it’s all working, our behaviours and habits automatically shift — and always in the direction of more humanity.
As we poke and prod at its boxes, we see them collapse before our eyes. No longer the definite, fixed truth we thought they were. In fact no truth to them at all.
And box after box, we do this and we find no truth, no truth, no truth.
With each box that disappears a little more of the idea of me looks less compelling, and with each bit of the idea of me that looks less compelling, more of our brilliance emerges. The same innate brilliance that has made lockdown-working a success. The brilliance that is decision making in the now, connecting with other humans in a real way, being compassionate in difficult times, dropping daft ideas of competition, and being better than another.
All available the moment I’m not in the picture.
And do you want to know something even better?
We don’t even have to look at all the boxes.
As we look and poke and prod and as some boxes begin to go — the mind naturally starts to cotton on to this trick of the light we’ve been hoodwinked into all these years, and life starts dissolving the boxes for us. We don’t even notice it happening until we come to do ‘that’ activity again and — oh, that was different and easier, and more effective. Brilliant!
And then more, and more, and more. I’ll leave you with some Wei Wu Wei.
Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9% of everything you think and everything you do is for yourself; and there isn’t one.
With love, Helen