A - After Effect
This Weeks Video
In Part 1 of HALE- A Mindful Intervention, I explored the H in HALE, which was the first of a four- step mindfulness tool taught at The Centre for Western Mindfulness. As a reminder, here is the meaning of the acronym HALE.
H reminds you to HALT.
A asks you to consider what the AFTER EFFECT will be if you habitually react in that moment.
L invites you to consider a LOVING ALTERNATIVE, for you, for others, and the environment.
E suggests you take the EASY OPTION, which includes repeating your old habits.
Let’s look at A.
Having halted in the first instance, and having identified the facts, now you will take the time to observe some more facts. This is what is called observing the AFTER EFFECT. There is a very good chance that you have been down this path of disturbed stillness previously, and as such are very familiar with where this thought, feeling or behaviour will end up. Even if the form of what is playing out can be different to your previous experiences, the content of what is happening is something you have experienced previously. Using the example of the husband and wife in Part 1, the content that sat below the surface of their argument was the lack of respect of the husband for his wife. Another form of this ‘lack of respect’ content would be the husband failing to do the washing up after dinner, that had been prepared by his wife.
The AFTER EFFECT, being the wife’s frustration, is the same in both circumstances. The forms may vary, but the trigger, the content, is the lack of respect. Chances are that this lack of respect could take on many different forms. The husband might channel their financial resources into what he prioritises, ignoring what his wife sees as a priority. He might see his time commitments as being more important than hers. Maybe having his sexual needs met is more important than the consideration of meeting her sexual needs, i.e. taking the time to be romantic long before the sex happens.
In this scenario, let’s look at ‘A’ from the perspective of the wife. A situation has arisen where the husband once again demonstrates his lack of respect for his wife. She feels the frustration, the anger, the disappointment begin to arise, and being familiar with HALE she has HALTED. She has observed the facts of this situation. Now she will take the time to review the AFTER EFFECT that she has experienced in the past, and of which she is very familiar. Let’s assume that there have been two versions to this. In more recent times, being at her wits end, she has become more vocal, declaring what she wants her husband to do. Typically this results in an argument and discord, which has seen an increase in the distancing between the two of them. Previously, she internalised her frustration and anger, which meant he continued, ignorant of his disrespectful actions. But it also meant that her resentment was growing, compounding a significant diminishing of the intimacy that she feels for her husband.
These are the facts of the AFTER EFFECT to the situation that she finds herself in. She knows both scenarios intimately as there are many forms of this lack of respect that presents in their relationship each and every day. Taking the time to observe more deeply, she can also identify how this is impacting on her at a soul level. She interprets his lack of respect as a lack of love for her. Prior to observing the AFTER EFFECTS she may not have noticed feeling loveless or unlovable. She may have had the sense of it, but may not have fully observed it. Maybe the effect of feeling unloved and respected has resulted in her not taking care of her health and well-being. Or maybe she has resorted to distractions from her soul loss through an addiction. She may even be looking outside of her marriage to find the love that she feels she needs.
So as a part of her observing the after effect, she will be able to state the facts about how she is responding to the feeling of being loveless. Once again, it is important that there is no judgement about the after effect, whether it’s being overweight, or drinking too much alcohol, or being attracted to the neighbour for example. All she needs to do is to observe this extended after effect. It’s really important that she doesn’t use a comma, in other words that she doesn’t immerse herself in her judgements or emotions. It’s not about denying her emotions, because she can observe them as part of the after effect.
The observer doesn’t engage in feelings, it just observes them. Actually, being the observer in difficult times is quite magical. There is comfort there. The comfort is a result of the freedom from the grief, the anger, the anxiety, or any other experience that takes us out of our stillness. Funny to think you can have a feeling and still own it, but be free of the experience of it. That’s how being the observer works!
Having become the observer means that we get ourselves out of the way. So why is that important? When we get ourselves out of the way, Grace floods in! What is Grace? Grace is Divine love. It’s a love that never ceases, a love that only know abundance, peace, joy, and freedom. The only thing stopping it manifesting in our lives are the narratives we run, like the judgements and fears that constantly plague our lives. Our lack of ability to love ourselves authentically blocks our capacity to experience Grace.
In practical terms this sets us up for step three in HALE, L the LOVING ALTERNATIVE. In the next blog, I will be discussing the two options we have for identifying this loving alternative. Remember, this can only be effectively achieved if you have fulfilled the requirements of being the observer in both the contexts of HALT and AFTER EFFECT.
By the way, don’t forget the offer on The Centre for Western Mindfulness website to experience two free sessions from our Pathways to Mindfulness mentoring program. These are the primary steps to becoming the observer.
Read More From This Series