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Parade: seeing myself as others see me

This happened as I was about to fall asleep on the second day of the Breema retreat at Breitenbush (posted the Monday after)...

There is a parade of people in my life, one after another, and I see myself from their perspective. I see my appearance and actions, and experience in first person how this may have been experienced by the other. Then, I see myself as if with an x-ray vision, seeing the inner machinery (thoughts, emotion, confusion, motivations), and how this would have been experienced by the other if they had seen it. This happens for each person, one at the time, going from my current life to past and into childhood. Then, the same happens with animals in my life, including ants I tortured as a child (!)

There is an emphasis on the pain, confusion and suffering my behavior triggered in others, and there is a sense of a sweet openness to it all, taking it in, allowing it to sober me up and see myself more as I would see myself from another persons perspective. There is a sense of sweetness, painfulness, space, quiet receptivity, taking it all in, allowing it to work on me.

This parade was very similar to the parade of sinister characters from some weeks ago. Both happened as I was about to fall asleep, both were similar to a waking dream (happening on their own), and in both cases, there was an inside - first person - experience of each character. As with that one, this parade was very sobering.

I see the pain I inflicted on some animals as a child, seeing myself as a giant, powerful and as evil as they come. I see myself as completely oblivious to the pain I am indirectly inflicting on animals through some of my food choices, and the miserable conditions of laborers creating many of the things I use and wear. I experience the pain triggered by my behavior and words in those close to me, in innumerable situations, in many different ways. I see myself acting and behaving in patterns from my past, not corresponding to the current situation (including not living up to my potential in certain situations, just out of old habits.) And much more.

In each of these cases, I experience myself from the outside, as I would have experienced myself if I were in the other persons (or animal's) position. The whole parade lasted for maybe thirty or forty minutes, although it is difficult to say for certain.

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