“I feel like I need to wake up,” she said, and smiled at me. “But I don’t know what from. Or to.”
—Wildlife by Richard Ford
We put a new sign on the dishwasher. One side says Clean and the other says Dirty. A magnet from a floor drain/sewer servicer holds the page-day-calendar sized paper, which we laminated with packing tape.
Not knowing the status of the dishwasher is a frequently used excuse by children to not load their dirty dishes.
Of course, now we have to remember to use the sign! We do maybe 50% of the time. And often well after the dishwasher has run or well after we’ve unloaded it.
Of course a change takes time to incorporate. The dishwasher is low, the sign even lower. It’s not intuitive.
There is value in noticing. Even after the fact. Like when we notice we’re not mad anymore. Or we’re not in a delusion anymore. We had been lost in anger or in unreality. It’s valuable to know when it’s over.
Change the sign to Clean.
We often imagine being wronged. And we get upset. Then the delusion may take on its own life: we feel emotions and have tense body sensations. When we notice, we can sometimes ground ourselves into what is really happening.
This is important because we are often safe in reality.
We’re starting to notice that our judgment is not reliable! We see danger and malintent where it may not necessarily exist. It’s hard to know. To trust our perceptions.
People hurt us. Sexual abuse. Violent bullying. And in the same year, we had to be rushed to the hospital and into an operating room to stop blood and then we were in a fire.
Do you see how it’s hard to expect peace or calm and easy to expect treason and natural disaster and badness?
I feel like I need to wake up. But I don’t know what from. Or to.
Wake up from delusion. From memory. Wake up to what is real: breath, temperature, metta phrases, a specific place in a fleeting now.
Let go of what isn’t real. And let go of what is. They all should be allowed to pass.
Is it some trick of the mind that sour memories and delusions don’t pass? Habit probably.
Notice now. Flip the sign to Real. It will take awhile to get into a new habit.