Presence guides us to a healthy sense of self-restraint and self-sacrifice, enabling us to play with our attachments, to confront our own prison. We may learn to slip out of the stranglehold of egoism, which is based in desire and in the thoughts generated by desire. In being present ot the play of desire we can diminish the ego’s power over our inner being. (Helminski, Living Presence, p. 25)
For years now I’ve been encouraging my clients to BE CURIOUS as opposed to the typical state of mind of persons who come in to my office, which is BE JUDGMENTAL. This truly a reliable way to assess your spiritual mindset in any given situation. When people begin to reach a new level of spiritual maturity, they stop beating themselves up, and begin to accept grace. They begin, to ask themselves, “Why did I behave that way?” rather than stating, “I’m such an idiot.”
I like the way Helminski adds the word “play” to this picture.
My recent forays into the ACT therapy model (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) has offered some ideas about our tendency to beat ourselves up. ACT therapy claims that the very mind that has proven brilliant in solving external challenges creates an absolute mess when turned on internal challenges. The mind does an outstanding job of dealing with, “I’m really hungry and need to find food,” but only makes things worse when trying to address, “What if my spouse stops loving me?”
External challenges are solved through trial and error, but as ACT, Helminski, and host of mystics assert, addressing our inner challenges begins with Presence. And Presence can lead to curiosity, even playfulness, all in the midst of our anxiety.
What’s keeping you from curiosity?