Surveillance Camera

Another word for "sanity" is "consciousness," and Sanity Islanders are continually working to expand their consciousness--no telling what all one can become aware of, and how interesting!

The main tool for this particular work is self-observation, without justification or condemnation. You just watch yourself throughout the day, interacting with others or alone; watching reactions without judging them, watching feelings, without justifying or condemning them.

It's sophisticated work, and not easy, especially the part about not judging. I know a lot of people who are very good at it, and have reaped untold rewards (visit a few of them in the Coffee Shop and you'll read about some of their experiences).

What few seem to realize, though, is it doesn't have to be only the deep emotional and interpersonal stuff--in fact, most people neglect the more obvious altogether, and here is a friendly reminder to them, and a place to start for newcomers: Do you watch your mannerisms? Your posture? Are you aware of the tone of your jaw in your usual "face"? How about the tone of your voice, its cadence, your speech patterns? Do you gesture a lot (or little) when you speak? How about conversational "fillers" such as "you know," "like," "uh"? Sighing, habitual inappropriate laughter?

A young man was here the other day who is doing quite a bit of work on self-observation, and was telling me some very sane things. However, he was completely unaware of the shrillness of his tone--someone listening who didn't speak English might even have thought he was hysterical. He speaks in this manner all the time. Another chap I've known for years, and who has had countless enlightenments from observing thoughts and emotions, has a nervous habit of clearing his throat every few seconds, completely unaware of it. A beautiful, loving, hard-working (in every sense of the word) woman I know whines. Even when she is "talking" exceptionally "grown-up."

We can work hard on knowing our interior selves, but if we don't watch the exterior as well, we have left a machine on auto-pilot... and probably don't want to do that.

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch.  At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: "Take only ONE.  God is watching."

 Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.  A child had written a note, "Take all you want.  God is watching the apples." [Thanx to Ann]


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