Deeply, I have believed for many years that it is safer to keep a low profile than it is to risk speaking up. It is something so deep that it is not something I have examined and would say I actually wholeheartedly disagreed with if actually asked. But if you examine my actions and being the world, it is clear that under the surface I have lived trying to avoid detection and scrutiny for much of my life. I do not rock the boat, I do not speak my mind. The other day at a museum I tried to control someone close to me because I thought they were speaking too loudly. On another recent occasion I cringed when I sat next to a friend who was speaking on controversial subjects in a loud voice on the train. "What if people judged me by association? "What if they thought less of me? "My mind is constantly spinning with the possibilities and calculations for how I am being perceived. It runs an algorithm to calculate where I stand and how safe I am in relation to others. The equation is weighted towards the past. It is weighted towards a model of security in absence; security in silence, security through being small and non-existent. It is easy to see why I was drawn to an orientation to the world that speaks of selflessness and the lack of a "self". To leave the analysis there however, is to miss the point. Real selflessness is actually beyond narrow conceptual logic. It is the recognition of the true lion's roar and that "I" am present in that which is much larger. It is all things, not simply quiet or risk averse or conflict averse or conversely the extraordinarily brave. It is simply true unto itself. It is not afraid of encountering another part of itself and therefore is beyond keeping profiles at all. Real selflessness sees that you are all of it. Sometimes "it" may move under the radar and sometimes it may move like a trumpeter. The key lies in getting out of its way. The key lies in unpacking the belief.
So let's take a look at some of the beliefs of that seem to be operating here:
1) Why would I believe that its ok to make myself small rather than own whatever was presenting itself in this form?
2) When may I have formulated this belief?
3) What does this belief protect me from?
4) What have I gained from holding this belief?
5) What do I lose by holding this belief?
6) What does this belief keep me from facing?
1) Speaking aloud for myself is not easy. I do not stand up for myself. Being small is easier because I think I will get hurt less if people don't know I am here. I do not claim my presence in the world and am more comfortable being the person on the side making things happen. There are a few places of interesting exceptions, for instance I laugh loudly and can be a performer. I have acted and I am not afraid of speaking to audiences. In those arenas, I am not afraid to be bold, but most of the time when I am in public I act as if I prefer not to be noticed.
1A) What is different about those situations and the others. I am certainly confident in those situations and the confidence comes from something internal. It feels as though I have been "asked" in those situations to carry out something specific. It is interesting to note that it does not feel like life is asking something specific in the situations in which I feel less confident, for that would be the source of the needed confidence.
2)When did you formulate this belief - I am not sure. Probably as a child. I probably had a fair share of circumstances in which it was not safe to speak up. There are probably also accidentals of early childhood, race, disposition, geography that contribute to sense of safety.
3) What does it protect me from now? It protects me from failing. It enables me to be loved by everyone or perhaps more accurately -- thought of fondly of by many. I suspect it is truly -loved by few because it diminshes the extent of real authenticity and subsequently "real" love. It keeps me from the discomfort of "not knowing" If you don't stick your head out, its not as likely to get chopped off. I have gained some degree of safety from this belief but traded away much.
4) What have I gained by holding this belief ?- the illusion of security. the illusion of safety. The false belief that things are OK if others validate your existence rather than knowing from the heart that existence itself gives us intrinsic meaning that needs no validation. It has enabled me to excel at many things but prevented me from trying many others for fear of failure.
4) What do I "lose" by holding this belief: Freedom, Authenticity, Happiness.
5) What does this belief keep me from facing ? My self . If I have a low profile then the shadowy parts don't have to get examined by me or by others. We can almost pretend they don't exist, but it also keeps me from facing my own power. I want to be liked. Being myself might mean not always being liked. My own power is simply authenticity. It is not something grandiose, it is simply whatever gifts this body/mind is meant to bring to the world. This belief keeps me from facing life in all its glory and misery. When I relate to the smallness I feel like I will break but when I relate from the largeness of it all then all of life is a grand adventure of discovery and hide and seek. Life seeking itself in every nook and cranny and celebrating all the while.
5A) What then is the power that is here? What is meant to come into the world through me? In many ways that is a question that is lived through the moment to moment life that is manifesting through me - it is not a question that is statically answered and put in the closet
5B) Who is "My Self" - Is it necessary to think in terms of boundaries - who I am is what is manifesting right now, right here in this space.
So much of my life I have spent shrinking myself, blending into the walls, quieting any aspects of myself that might be disturbing to others, but perhaps enlightenment is nothing more than full authenticity and wholeness.