The Inner Work - Keeping You Airborne
This can also be called consciousness work, or consciousness efforting.
Here is the proposition for you.
I will use a very common speaking habit that many people use. It is the habit of saying “Like, You Know” and saying it a lot. Some people pepper their verbal expression with “Like, You Know” quite a bit. This exercise is not a judgment about saying that. Merely, that I am using a common habit of speaking as a tool to illustrate to you what inner consciousness work is, what it looks like, and how you do it.
Assuming you have this speaking habit, then, you make a deal with yourself to stop saying that speaking-habit and give yourself 90 days to do it. This exercise is not based on any judgment about whether this speaking-habit is wrong. You choose to play with this exercise and to stop saying “Like, You Know” even a little because it is an exercise of inner-consciousness-work... nothing more. Your exercise is to stop saying that expression altogether.
This is inner work. It has nothing to do with what other people think or say and you will not benefit at all from discussions with other people, or telling about it, or any social activity at all. This is inner work and is private to you.
You simply choose to work with this exercise because you want to learn something about how your inner consciousness actually works. Again, there is no judgment here. It is neither wrong nor right to use this expression one way or the other. It is about inner focus, inner control, thought-pattern control and you choose to exercise this control over your inner thought-pattern of saying “Like, You Know.”
And, you give yourself 90 days to complete the work and to actually stop saying “Like, You Know” even at all. The deal is with you. And you are the sole arbiter of how you do it, and whether you are successful or not. No one else should know about your inner-deal on this because introducing other people’s input, judgment, ideas, approvals, etc. will take you right off the topic.
The reason is simply this: your inner-deal requires focus, honesty with yourself, and commitment to learning something. It will take some time to accomplish and it will definitely require some “effort.” This is the first thing that is a part of the Learning-Experience and that is what “inner effort” actually is and how it works. Or, to say it another way: what inner consciousness work is and how you “work” it.
To stop saying “Like, You Know” will take effort.
First Hurdle –
Your first hurdle will come in the form of self-judgment. It will appear in all kinds of guises and will be very convincing:
- “This is stupid”
- “I have better things to do than this”
- “So what?”
- “This is not worth doing at all”
This inner judgment and refusal to continue is largely a part of your working an “inner consciousness muscle” that you have not used much before. The exercise of this “muscle” causes “protest” and that protest is almost exactly like the protest of your actual muscles when you exercise them at or near their comfort level… same idea.
Another way to say what this is: once a habit of thought is established, it is difficult to change it. The first line of refusal shows up as judgment, judgement about even doing it at all! So, you see how change is thwarted?
So, that is step one of learning about inner consciousness work: established patterns of thought are difficult to change. Not impossible, but difficult. It takes “effort” and that kind of “effort” is what is called consciousness-efforting.
Second Hurdle –
Focus of Your Attention On What You are Saying
If you get yourself past the first hurdle, and few people will, the next hurdle is the “hurdle of attention.” To succeed at stopping saying “Like, You Know” will require that you focus your attention on what you are saying and that focus is pretty much ALL THE TIME. You are not accustomed to paying this much attention to what you are saying. The attention you pay to what you are saying is two leveled:
- Being aware of what you just said
- Being aware of what you are about to say
The Steps 1 & 2 above mean that you have to be aware of what you are about to say and do that ALL THE TIME. A great many people are rarely ever this self-expression-aware at all. You catch yourself if you just said it, and you catch yourself before you are about to say it. You must start paying continual attention to everything that comes out of your mouth and everything that is about to come out of your mouth ALL THE TIME… no exceptions.
It is, after all, YOUR mouth! So, you are merely paying attention to what is coming and what is about to come out of it. Sounds easy?! Well, you'll see.
Paying this much attention to your self-expression is actually “work.” It takes an effort to do this and that “work” is in the doing of it and the continual doing of it.
In case you are wondering this whole thing does “go somewhere” but let me ease that in on you.
And, judgmental words will come up a lot: “This is stupid,” “This is dumb,” and other stuff. You have to ignore all the “stop this” statements because they will stop your experiment before it works. That is certainly a common effect of being judgmental… it stops change in its tracks.
You are exercising a consciousness-muscle that has not been used much before and that muscle is: self awareness before and after the expression. The before part means that you are aware 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds or so before your words emerge. And this awareness is what catches the “Like, You Know” expression taking form in your, let me call it: “pre-verbal state” just before the words emerge and the tongue and breath say it. Being THAT aware of what thoughts are preceding your verbal expression also means that you must, sort of, do some multi-tasking. Be aware of thoughts 5 to 20 seconds before expression and watching your expression happening means that you are aware of your self-expression while doing something else at the same time.
Another way to say it is: you are establishing control, or, choice into what has been a habitual speaking-pattern. Establishing this control/choice is the second muscle that has not been used much before.
#1 is “self awareness before and after expression” and, muscle:
#2 is “control/choice over the process.”
Your habitual speaking-pattern has become rigid or some may say “crystallized” in place and you are disrupting it with your control/choice. This is not hard work, but it IS work, or, efforting. It is consciousness-efforting.
And, I have to remind you that you have to drop all judgment on this matter as it will not help. It does not matter if you say “Like, You Know” a lot or not. There is no judgment about that. That is important because, if you succeed in stopping saying “Like, You Know” at all, it is only step one.
At some point you may wish to attempt this same control/choice over thought-patterns that ARE full of judgment. So, step one is to take a task that is inherently non-judgmental. Later, when you take on a task on a consciousness-thought-pattern that could be full of judgment (parents, church, social, work, money, sex, love, politics, peace & war, etc.) you will have previously established a pattern of success that can help a lot.
This may have been a simple exercise in awareness of self but, in truth, it is a significant step into something far bigger: control/choice over all thoughts and feelings. Now that was a very big leap, but, you can see where this could go. This simple speaking-pattern alteration through awareness and choice is actually a big deal. It is a big leap because you may not actually believe that YOU do have control/choice over your thoughts and feelings. You will not have to assume that my statement is right or not, you will “know” because you succeeded in doing it.
Then, of course, you expand it.
Like, you know, at some point in the future you may encounter, you know, some ideas that could work really well if, you know, you have established like you know some conscious control/choice over what you think, say and feel. It's, like, you know, awesome.