When you are driving, you pick up on all kinds of signs informing you of what you should be doing or what you can expect up ahead. When we are first learning to drive, we need to spend some time getting to know the various signs and what they mean. Learning to recognize and respond to signs is what makes us a good driver.
As we become grounded in the Inner Work, we discover the natural composure of open presence. As we transition to the Outer Work, we need to learn how to carry that composure out into the world.
In order to do that, we need to recognize the signs of losing our composure.
As you are going about your day, notice when you have a diminished presence, when you are feeling agitated or searching for something to hold onto in your experience. Notice fear, notice shutting down or turning away. Notice the overwhelm, being stuck in your head, the yearning for control or power.
These are all signs of losing composure. Recognizing the signs, you need to do the hard work of responding to them and acting on them. It is hard work because it is not easy, and you are never done. The process of being present and responsive is continuously unfolding, not a static state you achieve.
Take a breath. Notice your ground- the still center amidst the dance of your experience.
This is the work that you are committing to in the Outer Work. It is not the details of what to do, what you should learn or work on. It is the how-to of everything that we engage with.
Maintaining our composure in our daily life deepens our understanding of who we are and what we are here to do. We start to see how we actually act and start to learn how we can contribute meaningfully to the world around us. Much of the unresolved aspects of ourselves are seen clearly in the Outer Work- our relationship to power, control, money, sex, authority, our appearance and intimate relationships. Seeing what trips us up, we take that insight back to the Inner Work to be worked on and resolved.
Resolution doesn't mean that those aspects of ourselves are eliminated, but that they are free in their own place. The unresolved aspects of who we are no longer dominate our life, they can have a presence in our life but not dictate the course of our life.
This is the basis for freedom. The freedom to act, to choose, and to be who we are in the world.