Breaking patterns and mindfulness

I've become more aware of a phenomenon that I've begun to think of as "the gravity of patterns." (And when I say patterns I'm referring to the patterns of how we relate to ourselves and the world, which manifests in all sorts of "internal"- and "external"-facing behaviors.) There's a way in which we create the relationships and circumstances that we come to expect, or habituate ourselves to, and this is the force—gravity—that draws others in. And in a sense, makes others complicit in our views of reality.

To give a slightly more obvious example, in the past I've self-identified as being powerless and untrustworthy. This led to behaviors like bulldozing my own preferences and not setting boundaries, and also giving others the authority and power to "solve" my own problems. From the other side, this kind of pattern is very tricky, because its gravity pulls you towards giving the other person what they want, and yet what they want is not aligned with what is good in the long-term (if you believe in the value of sovereignty/other synonyms). Deep down, I don't want people to see me as weak and uncentered, but the way that I relate to myself—and behave in accord with that—creates the circumstances that actually perpetuate that way of seeing for both myself and others.

I think of mindfulness as the thing that allows us to hold our patterns instead of being trapped inside of them. In terms of truly helping someone else, it takes mindfulness to discern whether what is being asked for, either implicitly or explicitly, is really what would lead to the best/most wholesome/least suffering-y outcome. It's easy to get sucked into someone's worldview, and in fact, sometimes witnessing and understanding that is what's most compassionate, but 1) that's not always true and 2) can we really be acting out of compassion if we're blind to possibility?

To be continued in a later post: how this relates to the role of good friends and circling.


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