"When I see a man hanging from a tree, with that look on his face, I recognized it" I recognize the look, as pure awareness. It's not a hard thing to achieve as it is hard to maintain. That's where the self sacrifice comes in.
When I lived in Portland Oregon, I was among other things a Horse and Carriage driver. It was the perfect job for a country Pagan working in the big city for the first time.
While working with horses I learned about a device called a twitch, I looks like a sort of nut cracker but longer. You grip the horses lip between the handles and twist, the purpose of course is to cause pain.
The reason for causing the pain is that a horse can only think about one thing at a time. So if you need to distract a few hundred pounds of animal instinct while your doing something to it like dressing a wound, you pinch his lip first.
Our problem with awareness is our perceptions or preconceptions. We're so busy thinking that we don't feel anything. Usually on purpose because many of us don't want to feel, it can be painful. So we apply our own little twitches, but don't actually get any work done behind the scenes.
Television is a big twitch. Don't want to do that thing your supposed to be doing, flip on the boob tube and twitch the channels. I realized that when eating, while watching TV, I consume up to three time more food and don't remember or taste a thing. I realized I have quite a few more twitched than I'd like to admit, the subject of these twitches is almost as embarrassing as the number of them.
So as a result, I performed the necessary ritual to establish a clear line of communication with what some would call their HGA. I wouldn't, and in fact don't, I avoid labeling as much as possible to avoid giving the nature of it away, as promised. But I digress.
So I sought counsel regarding my personal twitches and made plans to terminate certain spiritual practices because I felt they were causing the twitch. The response was *no, don't turn it off, turn it up, full blast and tear the knob off. The only way out is through. Commitment.*
So in the spirit of the Hanged Man, I began fasting. Nothing but water for over two days, then small portions of rice, raw vegetables and fruits. Slowly leading up to small portions of fish or chicken. In addition to what I eat, how I eat is equally important. One meal a day is a sacred meal.
The meal is usually rice, kemshi, and an egg or chicken and a glass of water. What makes it sacred is eating it. The water is blessed, the grain is blessed then set to cook. there is purposeful grace in the minor preparations. I set my place outside in the yard. My ritual tools are a wooden bowl, and a utensil set my mom sent me, made out of bamboo. I rolled my eyes when I got it, but as always, she knew, she always knows, welcome to my childhood. There is some intangible quality to eating with earthy wares.
So the Army trains you how to shoot, kill, blow things up and eat fast. Really fast. If you want to survive basic training you learn to eat fast and efficiently or you starve. I never starved. But undoing the military training has been a difficult and ongoing process. Eating slow is HARD.
Dan Millman is author of *Way of the Peaceful Warrior: a book that changes lives* and it was just that, a book that changed my life. In it he writes about eating with grace, like a moving meditation, Thai Che of dining.
Perfect posture, breathe, smell, bite, chew, slowly. Pause. Enjoy. Repeat. Remain focused and conscious of the food in your mouth. Pure Awareness. Without the Twitch. Try it, I dare you.
This is an act of Communion.
I have returned to the philosophy and practice of *sacrificing daily indulgences, to provide a service* and the signals are already coming in clearer.