When we wake up each morning, we are in the midst of a transition between the states of sleep and dream, and the states of waking. When we shower off, we shift from sleepy to revived. When we coffee or tea up, we shift from irrelevant to enthusiastic. When we drive to work, we shift from home life to work life. We shift and we shift and we shift again.
Through it all, we respond to the various shifts with more shifts. A sudden driver cuts us off; we shift from safe to endangered, then we shift from content to offended. A co-worker doesn’t pull their weight; we shift from easy-going to time-pressured, then we shift from camaraderie to resentment. On and on it goes, all day and all night, and then we try and take 15 minutes to shift from “my life” to “meditation.”
I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.
We see advertisements that tell us we should be in control of ourselves, that we should permanently shift from chaos to discipline, from disease to fitness, from ignorant to woke. Peers reinforce this as much as the adversaries do. Everyone is telling everyone else they need to get their shift together, all as an attempt to put off getting their own handled.
While there is nothing wrong with the exploration in cultivating and maintaining states, the idea that there are some states we should only ever be in is nothing more than a hate crime of an idea against the whole being. Fortunately, we’d never pull it off anyway, as the soul will always rebel against such attempted tyranny. Rather than play that game of denial, bypass and diminished returns, instead, we can learn what we are after by exploring the states as they arise, turning towards them, acknowledging what is and inquiring into the mechanics of it all.
As we sit with our coming and going states, and learn through observation and self-honesty to create what might be called some “distance” between a given state and our intelligence (“distance” is not truly accurate here, for in doing this, we are actually becoming more intimate with it, but it illustrates the process well enough), we glean many benefits from that space. First and foremost, it can help generate some relief from a negative state’s mood. Digging deeper, it can reveal how and why a state arises, and how we get from one to another. This distance helps us to remember that we have far more choices at our disposal than a given state’s momentary ideology will imply.
There are many schools of thought on changing our states, but they almost all rely heavily on the tyranny of will. Instead, we must turn towards the honing of True Will, which is a more complete picture of our empowerment. It is both a doing and a not doing. It is both an acting and a waiting. It is an engaging and a releasing. Navigating states is the high art of hunting, and what we are hunting is ourselves.
It is no small feat to be totally upset by a circumstance and then choose to be okay with it. That choice may at first involve lots of tricks like breathwork and mantra and jumping jacks. Yet we often lose ourselves in the gross appearance of such situations and focus our energies on trying to get rid of something, such as an undesirable state. The problem with this is that we do so by invoking another undesirable state, the state of rejection.
Far more beneficial than jumping into the fray and trying to make things happen is to first notice that you are having an undesirable state, and then notice that you notice. Notice that you have an awareness in you that desires to change things. This is so easy to disregard, but this small inkling of an intention to change is a huge moment of transformation itself. Any glimpse of such an arising should be acknowledged and honored. Doing so is what gives it strength, and from it is where we get our empowerment for more graceful choices over time.
As we become more and more aware of our various states, a cartography of experiences begins to naturally arise. This lends itself to cultivating self-honesty and vulnerability, two essential moves in the state changer’s repertoire. Even more than one’s ability to see through the emotional light show of a given moment, though, is that we begin to see the sameness in the states. This breakthrough, this recognition that what all states have in common is that they are all experiences, points us to the field within which it is all taking place.
This unification process is, of course, not a process. It is a revealing of how things have always been. But it does reveal itself in strange cadences, different for each and all. Such revelations, such enlightening moments, are also no more than states which come and go. In the end, we can’t really choose any states, for a fabricated state is not the same as a naturally arising one. But we can learn to ride them, to navigate them, and to let them go again. When we do this well, we discover a stateless state behind it all, that is peace and joy itself.
Suggested Divination Meanings
Am I grasping at a given state rather than embracing what is?
How is my state seemingly limiting my choices, and is that true?
Am I responding from the ideology of a state, or am I choosing to respond from beyond a given experience?
Am I letting this state tell me what is real and what is not?
What state and I in and what state do I intend I be in?
What is the larger situation within which this state resides?
What responses of my own have helped bring about this state?
What am I letting go of and what am I becoming?
How can I be with and tend to the states which I prefer?