In Pathwork, the spiritual framework I follow and teach, there’s something called “The Now Point.” What this means is noticing what’s happening right now. Not in the future, not in the past, but right now. The Buddhists call it “the present moment.” In any moment when we stop and notice what’s happening there’s a very high likelihood everything is fine.
If we hold the question in the moment – Am I safe? – most likely the answer will be yes. And if we consciously engage our senses – sight smells, sounds, taste and touch, most likely we’ll find something in the environment that’s beautiful, interesting, soothing, or curious and enjoyable in some way – pleasure by another name.
Safety is a serious pre-occupation for us humans. You can say our very survival depends on it. But it’s mostly an unconscious preoccupation. Quietly working in the background – our senses are instinctually attuned to the environment, scanning for potential threats.
If that threat happens to be a bus coming in our direction and we need to get out of the way, or some other real danger confronting us – then this surveillance system keeps us safe. It’s what it was designed to do.
Unfortunately, most of what we deem a threat now is of an emotional nature – Will I be criticised or rejected? Will I lose in some exchange? Will I get what I want or will hurt or disappointment be the outcome? Will I get everything done on my to-do list today? We probably don’t want these experiences, but they are not of a life-threatening proportion. One of my colleagues call them - just “inconvenient feelings” - such as frustration, anger, sadness, or hurt pride.
But the constant “being on guard for threats” robs us of the band width to notice and take in pleasure. It seems our psyche can’t hold concerns for safety and pleasure at the same time. A focus on pleasure helps us mediate the stressors of the threat response. So, issues of safety and pleasure are interactive.
Tune into The Now Point
If you read my past couple of posts on the negative bias of the brain, a lot of this ancient brain wiring was designed for more physically dangerous times than we live in now. We allow the habitual firing of fear to cloud the reality of what’s actually happening in the moment. When we stop and tune into The Now Point – holding the question – am I safe in this moment? it helps to re-wire our brains to safety, relaxation, ease and the pleasure available in the moment. This pleasure focus builds resiliency so that when a real threat arises, we have more capacity to meet it effectively.
Life is indeed good
I invite you to bring awareness to those moments when you feel stressed, on edge, or perhaps just rather wired. If you tune in you may notice a sense of urgency or fear. Take time to then check out The Now Point asking the question - Am I safe? When you find the answer to be yes, really take that in. Notice just how incredibly safe and, even more, the goodness that surrounds you. Slowly by slowly it helps to imprint a positive perception that life is indeed good.
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“Forefront Psychotherapy had Madeline present a morning workshop called Unlock Pleasure for our counselling centre’s open house. Her presentation was innovative and captivating. She brought forward the information in a way that appealed to new and seasoned therapists alike. Her presentation style put the audience at ease and she kept each one of us captivated for the duration of her talk. We would highly recommend Madeline to any group looking for a speaker.”