Coming Home to Yourself

“Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup, and looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat, made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
somebody spoke and I went into a dream, ah…”

from the lyrics of “A Day in the Life”
by John Lennon (1940-1980),
on the Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It's okay to be different

When a client rushes in, after she settles in her seat, often I’ll ask her to just stop, enjoy a deep breath, and come home to herself. It’s hard to do inner work when the mind is frenzied from the day’s activities.

Recently a client asked, “What does ‘Come home to yourself’ mean?” Wow! That was a reflection of how I take my understanding for granted. Where do I begin?

We begin with awakening in our beds each morning. Our minds are fresh, uncluttered, open. And then, we get out of bed. And the assault of the day’s activities begins. Shower, dressing, breakfast, traffic, work, meetings, reports, errands, meals, friends, kids, TV… ad infinitum.

As we go through our day, each sight pulls our awareness out of ourselves through our eyes. Each conversation whether personal or broadcast pulls us out of ourselves through our ears. Each object of awareness seduces our attention, and distracts us from also experiencing ourselves inwardly . We so focus on the outside, and in effect we forget our insides.

Can I make plain to you the subtlety with which this happens? You, who are giving your attention to reading these words, while reading them, have you so focused on reading that your body’s sensations, any feelings which might be present, and the inner sense that you exist have been lost to you? Moreover that is typically true of your activity throughout your day.

As we go throughout our days, the overwhelming onslaught of sensory input hypnotizes our attention. By day’s end, when we lay our heads again upon our restful pillows, we may have accomplished much, yes. But at what cost? Yes, we participated outwardly in our lives, but our inner lives were lost to us.

What happened to the feelings which were overridden? The concerns and dreams which beckon consideration? The aches and pains which are trying to inform consciousness? If we took as much a personal interest in ourselves as we do outwardly, we might reclaim our subjectivity and become more fully human.

Coming home to ourselves is stopping outwardly, and consciously redirecting our attention inwards in order to engage and know the ceaseless stream of our inner experience as it now occurs. It is directing our attention to become aware of the sensations in our body, feelings within our chest, stomach, and belly, and the thoughts occupying our present moment.

Coming home to ourselves reflects taking a personal interest in ourselves, as if we too mattered, not just our innumerable outer activities.

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