I meet a woman in practice. For the sake of convenience I call her Silvia. 
A conversation unfolds. Silvia indicates that in her life she always has a tendency to be 20 steps further than she is now. She finds it difficult to live in the here and now. She actually lives from one dot on the horizon to the next dot on the horizon. And this doesn't only take place in the field of her work (the next step on the career ladder), but also in relation to relationships. 

She says: "I just can't stop it ..., I am always busy with the next step, I constantly make pictures in my head about my work and about a new relationship that started some time ago. My coaching question is how I can be in the here and now."

I invite her to share more. She talks about a new relationship. From the start they went straight into the depths: a totally new experience for her. She indicates that she wants him to come closer, but that she is also afraid of it. Like him. He has let her know that he has fear of commitment through an earlier stifling relationship in his life. At some point she jokingly invites him to join her family on a family weekend. She knows in advance the answer he will give, so she says: "I don't ask you, but I share with you that my brother joked around that this weekend is perhaps the moment to get to know each other." The invitation from the brother of Silvia immediately triggers a feeling of suffocation in Silvia's friend: there is tension on his throat, he feels pressured. "You really don't have to come along, says Silvia to him, I didn't ask you anyway..., I just shared what my brother have said." 

After this meeting, she notices that she is in the grip of her mind. All sorts of thoughts haunted her mind, which makes her doubt whether she should continue the relationship with this man: "Is there a future for us? Not only does he keep the relationship at a distance, me too." 

I ask Silvia what her pictures (thoughts) are: bring them all into the light, what is haunting through you? "Well, Silvia says, first and foremost, I imagine what this fear of intimity  means for our relationship in the nearby future..." Then I think: "Gee, this man is very damaged..., and I don't want to be his therapist..., but we do have deep exchanges, that is very nice..., and it also comes to me well that he has a form of fear of commitment..., then I don't have to cross the bridge myself..., and... if I'm very honest..., it feels safe that he keeps distance, then it can't go wrong..., because there is a strong thought in me that it will go wrong again." 

She continues: "Yes, I see that the thinking machine is going on, I see that I am completely absorbed by all those pictures, all those thoughts, but I can't resist, the mind just goes on. I would love to live in the here and now. Actually, I myself break what is there now (nice exchanges) by constantly anticipating the nearby future."

"Yes, I say, I feel your energy..., it lacks confidence..., I feel that you want guidance, certainty, clarity... and that isn't possible, because the situation is as it is. And besides that..., life itself is also insecure by nature: you don't know what the next moment brings, so no answer is possible." 

It resonates: there is no trust. She bursts out crying: "If I start to trust now, I'm so afraid to get the lid on my nose." She is crying. I give her the time to feel her grief. After some time I ask her what she means when she says she is so afraid to get the lid on her nose. "That I can be hurt," says Silvia. What does that look like? What are you afraid of? I ask. "I'm afraid he'll pull out the plug." What would be his story to pull out the plug? "Well, I am afraid that he thinks that I am not good enough, that I am not worthy of his love." And then? What are you afraid of? "That I'll stay behind alone." Yes, that's what I feel, I say, you closed your heart at some point in your life, like him, you are so afraid of being hurt..., I feel that you are led by a conviction: love is not there for me, no one who really wants me, I just stay behind.

This remark triggers a flood of grief. I feel compassion for her and invite her to fully allow the old pain. After a while I ask: "Do you realize this is child pain? It seems that in your childhood you picked up the message from your parents that they didn't really love you, which you have translated into: I am not good enough, I am not worth it." 

Again she bursts out crying. She says: "It resonates 100%. As a child I sometimes thought that I had been adopted, despite my birth pictures as proof." Stay with your grief, I say, feel where it is in your body, bring all your attention to this pain and let it melt, don't go to your head, to stories. After the necessary shocks of intense grief, it is quiet again in Silvia. 

Yes, I say, this is the pain you have been carrying with you for a lifetime. And where you act from. This pain has never fully seen the light. And existence is very gracious to you, by bringing this man on your path, giving you the opportunity to melt the pain of the child you were. This pain makes you always take refuge to your head: there is no trust. At some point in your life you have closed yourself: you long for intimacy and openness, that is your heart. Everyone's heart longs for connection, for proximity and contact, but the pain of not being loved is still there." 

I will now return to the question you came in with: "How can I be in the here and now?" There are several ways. First of all: let this pain melt, which has become clear today. Every time when fear and doubt is triggered and a compulsive tendency arises to make pictures (thoughts) about this relationship, turn inside and feel the pain that lies beneath the pictures: everything is uncertain (that's right: life is uncertain), I don't know what to do (that is true, you can't know, the flow of life is not predictable), shall I go on with this relationship (that will naturally become clear in time), I am so afraid that it goes wrong, that no one will be there for me, that I stay behind (the pain of the child and existential pain: a deep sense of loneliness). When you have felt the pain to the root, it evaporates. Then the tendency to make pictures (the thinking machine) can still be triggered, but you will no longer be held hostage by the mind, it is then possible to be present: you see what takes place in the mind. The Self (Consciousness) looks at the self (the mind). You see the story that takes place in your head. And then look total: view everything that is being performed by the mind, from the beginning to the end..., be present..., look at the whole movie that your mind produces..., realizing that you are not the story, but the lamp of awareness, who sees the story. By fully consciously observing the antics of the mind, the pattern is completely illuminated and at a certain moment it goes out. Is it a new situation that triggers you, a situation that you can't let go of (it keeps you busy): look, observe what happens, what do you say, do... and research on a quiet moment what is touched, what convictions (pictures) have been triggered. Don't concern yourself with what the other person did right or wrong. Don't concern yourself with what you did or didn't do well: that is not self-research, that is the mind, that wants to declare the other guilty and/or yourself. Don't go to psychological analysis and explanations. Simply bring everything into the light, that is self-inquiry: let the lamp of Conscious Being shine on the convictions and fears until you reach the pit, the pain point (see previous blog). 

Sometimes seeing through the trigger is enough to see reality as it is, sometimes more work is needed: feeling the original pain as it happened in you today. How does that pain feel? The pain of not being loved, the pain of loneliness. Don't go to statements and stories about your youth. Go to the pain that lies behind the thought that you often feel that you were adopted: no one who loves me, loneliness. Let that pain melt. And then your heart opens and it is possible to really enter into an intimate relationship. 

And realize the impact of your process on your partner: everything you clean up has a healing effect on him and on everyone you connect with. That is great, isn't it? 

Another way to get out of the head is: being present in the here and now. And I see/feel that the lamp of awareness is no longer completely veiled by identification with the mind: you see, you notice that you always take refuge in your head, to explanations, to doubts, distrust. Don't judge this tendency, it is not personal, it is collective, we have all been raised in this field of fear and shortage. And it's already a lot that you see the inclination. The majority of mankind doesn't realize that they live continuously from this field, from the mind: in the past or in the future, but not here and now. They are fully identified with the mind, with their thoughts and emotions, which they consider appropriate (my story). 

And change begins with seeing, with awareness. So great that you see the inclination. The exercise I want to give you is: return to the here and now. Every time you notice that you are in your head, bring attention to this moment. This is not easy, because it is a deeply ingrained groove: the head as a survival strategy to prevent hurt, the head that wants grip on a situation (relationship) to prevent disappointment and pain, the head that wants clarity and certainty what is impossible, because life is uncertain and open, so it is not predictable. 

And that reminds me of Nisargadatta, a spiritual teacher who died in 1981. Do you know him? No. He came to liberation by consistently applying a simple instruction from his master. Every time there was identification with the mind (I am the world, this personality, the body, my faith, culture, my thoughts etc.) he brought the attention back to the original principle, to the 'being' principle, the 'I am'. To that which is..., beyond the mind..., beyond all assumptions and beliefs that are claimed by the ego (I am so and so). If that falls away from us..., the identification with the mind..., what is left? That what is: I am. And after I am... it is quiet, no interpretation, no hold on anything: openness, no identification with the mind, that is Life. I am..., there is no more to say. Every time there is a tendency to go into a story, a story about yourself or about the other, a story about the past or about the future: return to I am, to Beingness, to just being. This ends the session. She is very grateful to me. "How is it possible that we came to the core in such a short time," she says. Yes... sometimes it goes like that..., you're a ripe apple. 



www.awarenesscoaching.online 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes