It takes real courage to look unflinchingly at who you're being at any
moment in time, and to say whether the way you're being is an authentic
who you really areright here and right now, or whether the way you're
being is a correction ie is a defensive response to a
situation or circumstance of the past which
you back then.
Consider this (not like it's "the truth" but rather like
it's something to try on for size): there are no
in the present except those which reactivate earlier
of the past. The first
in a chain of
starting in the past, is called the originating incident.
Whenever anyone comments on my handwriting, I'm instantly
back in the first grade. My teacher is telling me my handwriting is
untidy. She makes me practice writing a series of
over and over and over again in an attempt to force me to
write neatly. But there's not enough time for me to
neat cursive. The school years come and go before I can. Out of
that incident I seldom write in cursive. Instead I print,
cursive for everything except signing my name.
My first grade teacher said "Laurence your handwriting is untidy.". As
soon as I recalled it ie as soon as I distinguished it was
my first grade teacher who said that, I stopped reacting automatically,
defensively to all comments about my handwriting. Until then, any
comments about my handwriting
me ... and I didn't know why. My first grade teacher saying
"Laurence your handwriting is untidy" was the originating incident of
when people commented on my handwriting.
Until I recalled it, until I distinguished a girl I liked in high
school said "Laurence you're not listening", I reacted automatically,
defensively to all comments about my listening. Any comments about my
me. Again, I didn't know why. As soon as anyone told me I wasn't
listening, I was instantly back in high school with that girl, hearing
it as ridicule and criticism - as if there's a right way
to listen and a wrong way to listen, and I'm listening the
wrong way. The girl I liked in high school saying
"Laurence you're not listening" was the originating incident of
when people commented on my listening.
As soon as I asked myself the question "Who said that? Who said my
handwriting is untidy?", as soon as I asked myself the question "Who
said that? Who said I'm not listening", it started the
process of taking my power back.
But after I asked myself the question "Who said that?" when I
in which someone is saying "Laurence I'm disappointed in
you" and "Laurence I don't approve of what you're doing",
try as I might, I couldn't recall who said that to me, or when,
or under what circumstances. When I looked at who said that (it was
during a time when being disapproved of was running my life ie was
stopping me to one extent or another), all I came up with
was my own perplexity.
What perplexed me was I couldn't locate anyone in my past
who said "Laurence I'm disappointed in you" and "Laurence I
disapprove of what you're doing.". It vexed me. If I discovered who
said that, I could begin the process of becoming free of it. And yet I
couldn't locate who said that. It wasn't the girl in high school. It
wasn't my first grade teacher. It wasn't
Or my sister. Or my brother.
So if it wasn't any of them, then who said that? Who said that which
had now become an originating incident all of its own, the first
in a chain of
starting in the past. Who said that?
moment I saw it was me. I said that. I said
"Laurence I'm disappointed in you" about myself. I said
"Laurence I disapprove of what you're doing" about myself. There wasn't
anyone else involved.
This is the process of really being free: the answer to the question
"Who said that?" is "I said that.". And if the answer to
the question "Who said that?" is "So and so said that",
it's only interimly true. Ultimately the answer to the question "Who
said that?" is "I said so and so said that.".
I said that. This is who said that. This is who
really said that. This is taking my power back.