Remembering To Practice

I make a quick mental note to remember to do this more often because, up until today, I have only remembered to apply the technique once in a while. If I can discipline myself to be more aware of my interactions, I can increase my opportunities to apply the virtues to the small difficulties of life and prevent them from growing into major problems, like the crisis today.

As he reviews the day, our practitioner marvels at the difference in the outcomes of these events, compared to his previous defensive lifestyle. Despite all the problems he encountered today, he learned much from them and had the power to work through them with much less emotional turmoil. His energies weren’t drained and he feels “right” with himself. Not self-righteous, but aligned with a more genuine center of being than his ego-personality. He is now heart-centered and receiving the spiritual energy and guidance of the higher self in the form of the six heart virtues.

Realizing all this, he resolves to remember to apply the when-which-how technique more often. Remembering to practice is obviously vital to living from the heart. The problem is that we are so habituated to our emotional reactions that they have already occurred before we notice them—if we notice them at all. At least noticing these reactions is a good start.

So, we have come full circle in knowing when to initiate the practice.

First we have to be present in the moment, aware of what is happening around us.

Second, when we are present in the moment, we can observe our internal state and the external activities around us.

Third, our awareness and observation allow us to detect the absence or deficiency of the virtues. Clues to this can often be found in the presence of their opposites.

Fourth, we must then remember to apply the virtues to the situation. Thus, remembering to practice is a composite of awareness, observation, and sensitivity to an encounter.

We forget to engage the technique when we lose our self-awareness and become identified with the unfolding situation. It’s like being sleepy and telling yourself that you must remain awake. Several seconds, minutes, or even hours later you realize that you fell asleep and never knew it. Our entire life we have been asleep in relation to our higher self. Our encounter with Living from the Heart is like an alarm clock waking us up to our real world. Our difficulty stems from our sleep habit. We wake up for a second or two, but fall asleep without even knowing it has happened.

The crisis experienced by our practitioner is analogous to a family member shaking us out of our dreams and urging us to wake up because we are going to miss an important appointment. In order to improve our practice of when-which-how we must discover how to maintain wakefulness in our daily encounters. Experiment to find the best way for yourself. No matter what technique you use, the more you interrupt the ego’s sleep habit, the less influence it will exert in your day-to-day encounters.