July 15, 2010

The Devil You Know

I read just about everything that Havi writes and often nod in agreement. Occasionally, I don't like what she's written and I have interesting conversations with myself about why.

Without ever having met me, she teaches me things about myself that I didn't know through her writing.

Her most recent posts on exiting the middle resonated with me.

For the few moments each day when I'm there, being conscious of the moment and acting where action makes sense (and only where action makes sense) is a blissful existence. Each day that goes by, I find myself more grounded and comfortable in the midst of chaos than I used to be. Incrementally, I'm a little bit more able to just act and breathe in the moment.

And yet, every day. I get pulled into drama. I dwell. I get upset. I work myself up.

And then, eventually, I observe this, and try not to judge, but just notice what I'm doing by asking myself questions and giving myself the freedom to be honest. Where am I? Why am I upset? What can I change? What can't I change? What do I want? Why do I want it? Is it a need? Is there something I can give myself to meet that need?

Havi's concept of the middle, where a post-beginner *struggles* to become advanced, or where the hero *struggles* to prevail, where one partner *struggles* to fix the relationship, where each of us *struggles* against the people in our lives we perceive to have harmed us, and most importantly, we *struggle* against who we think we should be -- it is a comfortable place for most of us. It is the devil we know.

Acceptance requires that we abandon the struggle and just act in response to the reality that exists, no matter how different from our ideas, annoying, terrible, unpleasant, distasteful, scary, or boring we may find it to be. If we cannot make the change we want to see, we make a different change, or perhaps accept that no change is available.

As I've written before, my yoga practice has evolved from one where I was seeking great teachers and amazing classes (against which I could struggle) into one where I find a great yoga experience in any class I take or any time I opt to practice, no matter how short it may be.

But unlike a studio-based yoga practice (which provides a supportive calm environment for growth and change) in the real world, actions based in acceptance are guaranteed to cause unpredictable, and potentially uncomfortable, changes.

Most humans, even if supremely unhappy, will always choose the devil they know. This explains why so many of us stay in, as Havi calls it, the "Middle."

How great to be reminded that to exit the middle is as simple as becoming conscious. This is not to say the exit is guaranteed to be pleasant -- it very well may be an unpleasant devil you don't know. But, at a minimum, it will be different, and you will not be *stuck* in the same *struggle*.

Fascinating stuff.

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