Last summer I did a Zen Awareness coaching package to explore the process of getting tense and driven when I'm working. At the end of the sessions, my coach suggested that I make a poster to remind me about the lies I hear over and over from conditioning. I made a great poster, with lots of color and underlining, about "Any time I hear X, Y or Z, that's a lie. What's really true is…" I could see how helpful it was to have that laid out, all the familiar language conditioning uses to pull me into that suffering conversation, and how good it felt to connect with what's really true.
And I looked at that poster, and I had the very strong suspicion that if I put it up on the wall, sooner or later there would come a time when it became like wallpaper, something I'd actually notice and read about every couple of months. And that's when it dropped in – I'll record it! Not just once, but every day. So instead of putting it on the wall, I put it on my desk, and every morning since then, I read it into the recorder, along with whatever else I see about the process. It's a big poster, so I have to move it to get to my computer, which I have found to be a great help in remembering to do the recording.
I think it has also been helpful that it's a concrete and simple practice. It doesn't take long to read, so it's hard for conditioning to get me to fall for "I don't have time." It also short circuits the "you're not having any insights, so you have nothing to record about" excuse. If I don't have any new insights, I just read what's there, and that's great. All these months later, saying those words, "What's really true is…" takes me right back to the experience of relief and clarity.
It feels like using the poster and R/L together helps close off the exits for conditioning. Recording the poster every day assists me to keep what's on the poster at the front of my awareness, and the poster being there assists me in maintaining the daily R/L practice. And I am deeply grateful for all these practice tools that help turn each day from suffering to joy.