After we have identified our desire and surveyed the options available in the environment we move to action.
This means we intereact with something that we think will meet our desire – from a drink of water for our thirst to a life partner for our loneliness. We focus on the part of the environment that we have chosen.
In the first phase of action we get to know what we focus on.
We begin to check it out, get a better idea of what it is and what we can do.
This stage ends when we begin to use what we are interacting with to meet our desire.
This stage is focussed on the ‘thing’ we are interacting with. Though this “thing” may be a person, relationship or very abstract idea – if we were trying to solve a maths problem for instance.
When we are doing this there is very little self-consciousness, we are in a state of ‘self-forgetfulness’.
This is sometimes called ‘bare awareness’ – we are unconcerned with ourselves and instead focussed simply on ‘what is’.
This is the state we most often experience in play – child-like play, not ‘playing to beat your opponent’. When we are in this state we experience a timeless quality.
As the saying has it: time flies when you’re having fun.
These are the times when we have been fascinated by something and realise we have been unconscious of how long we have spent focussed on something.
At this stage self-interest and egotism get in the way. They distract us from what is; and so lead to poor understanding and then clumsy and inappropriate action. In my experience it doesn’t help to criticise ourselves for being egotistical or not disciplined enough or even just that we are generally ‘bad’. There are more helpful approaches:
- consider whether we have spent enough time focussed on this and that it is time to move on to something else.
- just return to our consideration of what we are focussed on.
- forget about labels and focus on the qualities of what we are focussed on: whatever they may be (eg.it’s size, shape, taste, stickiness, beauty,
coherence . . .)
- consider taking a break and coming back later.
- Do you remember losing the sense of time when doing something?
Are there things you do when this often happens?
- How do you experience these times?
Refreshing? Tedious? With impatience?
The other articles in this series are:
- Do you know when these experiences come to an end?
- How do you find these times affect how you act?