Every Little Thing She Does – Part 2

An Adult Aspergers Experience of Living in a Distracting World

I have long prided myself on my “open mind,” thinking myself both talented and practiced in such matters as “suspending assumptions,” “holding the question,” “surfing uncertainty,” “stepping outside of the culture,” “challenging the dominant paradigm,” “hanging out on the fringe,” “balancing paradox,” and “not collapsing the waveform of possibility into the hard matter of belief.”

I did seminars with Landmark Education, where I learned to make distinct the many stories, reactions, and assumptions that ruled my behavior, and where I trained in the art of living beyond those habits of thought, belief, and action.

I read, studied, re-read, and spoke about the fabulous novels of Daniel Quinn, who skillfully and artfully called to question the fundamental stories, urgings, promptings, and mandates enacted by the dominant global culture. So thoroughly did Quinn’s ideas become my own that I “became the message.” I am B.

I crawled into the rock tumblers of relationship – in two separate intentional communities, in two marriages, and in the raising of children – and slowly allowed my rough surfaces and sharp corners to be smoothed and polished by the grit of mistakes made and the sand of time passing.

I read Scott Peck on “community“, David Bohm on “formal dialogue“, Thomas Lewis on “the limbic brain“, and Daniel Kahneman on “cognitive biases” and “heuristics” and “thinking, fast and slow,” and I worked with Sally to create, facilitate, and participate in a series of “dialogue circles,” which sought to move participants beyond the confines of their own egoic viewpoints, and into a larger, shared group wisdom.

I sought, more and more, to walk the spiritual path of sanity and healing, seeking to relate, with ever growing clarity, to “what’s so as what’s so.”

I was on it. I had it under control. It was handled. I considered my ability to step beyond my assumptions, stories, beliefs, and habits to be one of my greatest assets. My superpower. My work in this world. My path to evolution, fulfillment, growth, learning, and purpose. It was my answer to the question: why am I here?

So imagine my surprise, when I demolished an inner wall I never even knew I had, to find, on the other side, that there’s a thick, hot cable of right-and-wrong judgment, habituated and unconscious need, and black-and-white thinking running directly through the core of my being.

I may have thought I was standing in Rumi’s field, but I still had one foot planted firmly in the land of rightdoing and wrongdoing.

Who knew?

(Read Part 3 Here)

(Read Part 1 Here)

5 Comments for “Every Little Thing She Does – Part 2”

Sally Erickson

says:

It is so important that you have been able to tease apart the realm of “open-mindedness” where you do have superpowers, from the realm of conditioned reactions where it can be so painful for each of us to confront our own attachments to how things “should” be. That “thick, hot cable” feels hard-wired in my own experience, regardless how silly or arbitrary the judgement may be. Over the course of our relationship I have been in awe of, and held deep appreciation for your ability to really walk the talk of open-mindedness in the second realm of conditioned reaction where it is literally painful to question and soften and open. It is what has made it a joy to work with our differences, to offer each other gentleness and truth, rather than to merely tolerate and with great grinding of teeth to buck up and “accept” one another.

Jill

says:

Hi Guys! It was via dialogue circles that I first grokked what it meant to “tell stories” about oneself. Now, when I hear myself thinking and believing something about how insightful or generally “evolved” (for shorthand) I am, or spouting off about how I am in the world, I know that’s the starting point for investigating what lies in the shadow of those attributes and that attachment to image (UGH – did I really just admit to being attached to anything?!). I’m STILL just beginning that self-inquiry. Thank you for the reminder to focus there. Being cued in to hearing “stories” in what others say about themselves has also allowed me to ask helpful questions in Conscious Conversation with friends and, more generally, to hear what people say about themselves differently than I used to.

I’m enjoying the serial format of these Every Little Thing . . . posts and look forward to making time to catch up on the others. Your writing feeds me in ways that few other things do, Tim. Thank you for sharing your contemplation and insights about yourself and our world!

Timothy Scott Bennett

says:

Hi Jill! Yeah, those Dialogue Circles have really stuck with me as well. Did you just tell the story of “it’s bad to be attached to things”? 🙂 I know that one. And then there’s the story of “it’s bad to tell the story of ‘it’s bad to be attached to things'”. Ain’t humans funny critters?

Re the “serial format,” I seem unable to read anybody else’s long posts or essays or articles these days, and am unwilling, or unable, to write my own. While Rumi’s Field currently clocks it at a whopping 263K words, it’s only in fiction that I can stand to string so many words together. When it comes to me, and unpacking, and teasing apart, and explaining, I have to take it in very small chunks. It doesn’t hurt that it builds suspense and keeps readers interested! 🙂

Looking forward to more connection here. Take care! T

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