Under the Influence

I was at a social following the qualifiers for a Freeski competition in Nelson not long after i wrote my first post, so even if i wasn’t consciously looking for the Real, the idea of it was imbedded in my observations.

That night my sleep was continually imprinted with the word ‘influence’.  It’s a powerful, powerful word, tool, idea and action.  And one that needs the clarity of Real observation to even be recognized.  Because above all, i think influence is sneaky.

Personally, i find it very difficult to listen and observe without becoming influenced by the person, situation, weather, history or circumstances that i am engaged in.  Would i have liked Nelson better if the snow wasn’t grey with gravel, or if the recycled hippies didn’t seem so cliche to me?  Why did my feelings about Josh’s training change after listening to coaches from a different club? How can i truly look for Reality when i’m so easily influenced?  And how do i use influence to try to get people to see things my way?  There’s nothing that ego wants more than to be recognized, and even better, validated with agreement. So how have i learned to use influence to boost my ego?

Of course through observation, consideration and increased awareness, i may have come to the same conclusions.  But if i’m honest, that wasn’t the case in this situation.  As a friend says “fart, fart”.  I went the way of the wind for no better reason than that’s the way it was blowing.  Whether from the external conversation, or something from my past, i allowed myself to be influenced in my observations and conclusions.

So, in my quest for getting Real, i recognize now that i have to be vigilant about how i let myself be influenced.  It takes effort to release engrained habits.  In yoga we use the concept of Samskara to understand this.  They are the bumps in our lives that are made bigger every time we act unconsciously out of habit.  Influence is one of my bumps.  I’m going to work on wearing it down by redirecting my actions and conclusions when i become aware of being so easily blown by the wind.  I understand myself well enough to know that by writing this post i won’t stop myself from being influenced.  And I also know that, for me, this is the first step to recognizing when influence is coloring my observations and blowing my conclusions with the wind.

Here are some things i want to consider:

  • how much does my respect for the person talking influence how i hear what they are saying?
  • how much does the difference in the end result compared to the anticipated result influence how i feel about a situation?
  • how much do i let the past influence a decision i’m making today? (of course, memory is one of our greatest tools to create and initiate change. But only when used as such. Not as an excuse for being/acting a certain way…”nothing changes, if nothing changes”.  That’s the way to use memory with intelligence)
  • how do i use influence to get what i want or boost my ego?

By working to release influence – both in how it affects me and how i use it – i hope to wipe away some of the grunge that clouds my ability to see and experience Reality and make this particular Samskara groove smaller.  The process takes time, awareness and patience with myself.  Just yesterday i was fiercely blown about.  Influenced by my history of how i think i’m perceived.  It was a hurricane in my head and heart and it took some time to find my grounding.  Once i did, i could easily see how my thoughts were hijacked, and the letting go and rooting could take place to help me find my balance.  This, for me, is progress.  At times, my memory informs me, the storm would have lasted much longer.  So, even though i let myself be influenced, the time in which i stayed there changed.  And i recognized the root cause, rather than blaming it on the situation.  Progress…i may not have made the Samskara bump of influence smaller yesterday, but i didn’t add to it as much as i would have in the past.

It’s never where we are, it’s how far we come.  Is there movement? Do we recognize it?  I’m a trudger.  I’ll be on this path until the day i die, so i’m in no hurry.  And i take solace in the small things.

Deep Roots

Love, sam

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