Don’t Alter the Falter

Don't Alter the Falter

Faltering can be fascinating provided you don't too heavily identify with it and are able to maintain some degree of grand perspective. For a start it's inevitable on some sort of cyclical basis – the faltering that edges towards failing... or the next phase of succeeding. So there's a suspense element to give faltering an edge. And there's the disproportionate reaction – the gripping belly, the swift down-swoop of the internal narrative into the netherworld of abject gloom, the instantaneous severe loss of self-confidence and faith in the path, your Tao (Tao translates literally as 'path' or 'way').

Fascinating, because it takes such a relatively long while – often whole minutes, for some (depending on the nature and depth of the falter), hours, days, even lifetimes – to settle the mind and alight upon a viable counter-narrative.

The counter-narrative is that the flow of events doesn't proceed in linear mode, but according to the yin yang cycle, the eternal multidimensional dance of opposites – it goes up, goes down, goes up, goes in, goes out, goes in, goes light, goes dark, goes light, goes easy, goes difficult, goes easy, goes day, goes night, goes day, and so on – and that by the time one phase is just starting to reach its zenith, the seed of its opposite number has already started sprouting, so that by the time the zenith is reached, its complete opposite is inevitably about to grow into the fullness of its being and will soon be in the ascendant.

Hence, that when you falter, as long as you don't fall all the way over with it, it presages your next stage of success.

And if you do fall all the way over with it, as horrible a prospect as that is, you will emerge out the other side stronger wiser and more realized in every way – it'll just take a bit longer and be a bit messier along the way – but longer's only longer and messier only messier.

Faltering is therefore beautiful in the sense of providing a proper real-life visceral feeling that lets you know you're alive, as opposed to any set-piece social-media light-and-hugs virtual feeling that numbs your soul – beautiful as long as you place yourself in such a way you're able to field the tumult of the experience rather than be dragged into it.

And this notion of the beauty of faltering doesn't just apply to you individually, but to the collective as well – because in exactly the same way we each individually falter in various ways at different times, so does humanity collectively. One obvious indicator of this is the global economy just now, itself faltering due to various factors, such as unsustainable global debt levels, the burgeoning mayhem of Brexit, and the effect of Trump's negotiating tactics in 'finessing' US trade deals with the rest of the world, to name but three.

But on a personal level, especially with so many planets in retrograde simultaneously (in actuality meaning all on one side of the sun, the cause incidentally for the increase of earthquake action over the past few weeks), it's fairly standard to find yourself falter in your capacity for conducting harmonious relations, to find your clarity, focus, and strength of will faltering, and so on.

But while your superficial (surface) self may well be compulsively transfixed on the worst-case scenario, there is a deeper aspect to you, the aspect the Taoists and others in the know say goes on forever – the soul, the subconscious, the immortal spirit, call it what you will – it's the witness-bearer, the aspect of your conscious-awareness that bears witness to life unfolding for you, bears witness to the cycle of yin and yang, and does so with absolute equanimity all the while.

And if you can access that aspect and identify with it, you too will be able to bear witness with absolute equilibrium, thus wasting far, far less energy worrying for nothing, and being far, far more able to summon up and agree to the positive-outcome version of the narrative, according to the Barefoot-Taoist 'everything works to my advantage' approach.

And you can access and identify with that aspect of self, you can.

If you're familiar with my work, you'll know what I'm about to say - which is, that the portal to this deep self state lies within you. Draw an imaginary line between your two earholes. Everywhere forwards of that line is your front sector, everywhere rear of the line is your rear sector.

Shift your weight into your back, so your back feels solid and your front now feels empty and light - inside your brain the weight is also sunk into the back of the skull.

Practice sitting back here for a few seconds twice or thrice a day, and do it whenever you're beset by pressure and are feeling the strain – note how it instantly grants a moment's respite.

Practice this for three weeks and it'll start becoming your default mode.

And once it is, the motion of the yin yang will become a wonderful source of entertainment – watching it turn and wondering how things will resolve without stress – better than any TV program. And it wouldn't happen, or you'd not have a need for it were you never again to falter.

In short, don't alter the falter, love it.

That way the yin yang turns faster and you emerge fresher and lighter on your feet for it than had you resisted and tried to alter the falter.

But don't take my word for it. Use it yourself and see what happens.

Learn to sit in your back more of the time – focus on breathing into your back to help you remember where it is.

Bear witness to the path unfolding from there.

And when you falter, rather than worry about it, embrace it and ride it with wild abandon, singing in full voice, “I no longer seek to alter my falter, for just like the Straights of Gibraltar constrict the sea just before it becomes a full-blown ocean, my falter brings to me my next success with the most elegant style and motion.”

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