• Jane Douglas

The Obvious

I have often been discussing a problem with a friend or sometimes a coach, when I have suddenly slapped my forehead with the obviousness of the situation!  You know, that moment when you suddenly realise what you’ve been missing, and everything becomes wonderfully clear?

But what I find really interesting about this is that after these ‘light bulb’ moments, there is usually a second or two of bewilderment where I mutter, ‘Why couldn’t I see that for myself, it is soooo obvious!’

As a coach, I know that the stock answer to this question is that you can’t see the answer for yourself because you are too close to the situation. You can’t see a problem if you are ‘in’ the problem. And this is true. One of the main reasons you fail to see the obvious is that you are looking at the problem from the inside, from the perspective of your inner world, and for most of us that is a messy, confused place with a whole heap of thoughts, emotions and feelings going on and getting in the way.

But there is another reason. When you attempt to work out the solution to a difficult or challenging situation you are attempting to find answers through the same patterns of thinking that created the problem in the first place. And even Einstein knew that

‘We cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.’

What is very likely to happen is that any conclusion you come to will simply re-enforce your conditioned patterns of thought and behaviour and make them even more entrenched. You need to take a step back and be able to look at the situation differently, from a distance rather than fully in it, otherwise you end up going around in circles.

My Map to Freedom is designed to develop objective awareness. Objective awareness is about being able to look at yourself without becoming entangled in your conditioned patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Much like a coach or friend, it allows you to see yourself from a distance, and at the risk of sounding a little like a horror movie it allows you to become detached from yourself!

When using the map, it is important that you observe in a non-judgmental way. Don’t criticize or judge what you see in anyway what-so-ever, and it is vital that you do not become attached to what you see. Once you attach, you are back in the problem and have lost your objectivity. You must observe whatever comes up as if it is the first time you have ever encountered this part of yourself.

It’s a simple process but it’s not always easy. Think back to the times when you have suddenly realised the truth about a situation. There will have been times when you have had ‘Aha!’ moments and times when they have been more ‘Ah cr*p!’ moments. Sometimes it can be painful to see things about yourself that you might not like and upsetting when you see the hurtful truth about somebody else.

But, in that moment of awareness there is a release of tension and a profound feeling of letting go. Objective awareness shines a light into the dark corners of your mind and reveals the truth. The merry-go-round of thoughts and feelings stops, and you can jump off. Finally free.

Jane Douglas

#Awareness #Freedom #SelfAwareness #Coaching

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