One last blog post for 2015- my 117th this year!

 The brick exercise was the least favorite in lifeguard class.

The brick exercise was the least favorite in lifeguard class.

When I was a lifeguard training, one of the tasks we had to do was dive down in the deep end and retrieve a yellow 20-pound brick at the bottom, as if to rescue a drowned victim who was already full of water.  Once we got to the surface, we had to swim 10 meters without the brick touching the water, and gently place it on the ledge of the pool without hitting the edge.  Not my strong suit, but I did it. 

I realized today that public speaking for me is like retrieving that yellow 20-pound brick at the bottom of the pool.  It only takes being around more than one person at once to get me anxious, and during a group conversation, I'm so caught up in my personality that to be present enough to think of something truly meant for that moment is like a long and laborious trip down to the bottom of the pool to retrieve the brick, when my personality just wants to stay at the surface.  I need to plan in advance of a conversation as often as possible, but then of course, planning for a conversation is like jumping to catch a train before it passes you by. 

So I realized today that instead of letting my life pass me by because I can't speak in public (I want to be a public speaker for a living), I'm just going to have to build up my muscles like a weight trainer.

So this afternoon, I wrote out a 12-point treatise on why inner inquiry is important-- riffing off a Sandra Maitri talk I just listened to-- while flutter-kicking my way back to presence after each sentence I "spoke".  (I know it wasn't real practice because I wasn't talking to people, but hey.)

1) Our personality isn't our true self.

2) There's more to us than our thinking and emoting patterns.

3) We limit ourselves with our perceptions.  Our personality confines us within a set of constricting ideas of what our reality is.  Those constricting ideas- the hologram of our personality- plays in front of our mind's eye like a movie being projected onto a screen in front of us.  The movie uses the raw material of life before around age 5 and plays over and over again throughout adulthood.

4) When we turn and look toward the light of the projector behind us, we see true reality, which is our true, essential nature.

5) The light is always available to turn towards.  The projector is always on, always playing the movie, but we can turn towards the light and move toward it. 

6) Being aware of how the movie is making us feel in our bodies helps us turn toward the light.  The light is always available to turn towards because it is our essential nature, which is always with us, accessible in its fullness in the present moment.  As long as we are in the present moment, we can access true nature.

7) We don't have to work to arrive at true nature.  Think of it as accepting an invitation to notice it, to enter into it.  You don't have to get a degree or get in better shape to access your true nature.

8) Again, we respond to the invitation by noticing the tension in our bodies.  The different personality types constellate around certain inner holding patterns. 

9) When we become aware of the tension, we relax and allow a story to unfold.  When we're present with the material, stuff comes up.

10)  Being with the tension clears our minds.  Things start to make sense, to integrate.  We access wisdom that wasn't available to us before.  We notice the truth of things quicker.

11)  This unfolding process may happen by accident over the course of our lives if we don't make a conscious choice to do inquiry on a regular basis, but it often does not.  We can speed up our healing process by doing regular inquiry. 

12)  The more you do inquiry, the more reality opens up to you, and you can move more freely in the world to do and get what you want out of life.  Moreover, you become a light to those around you.