Step Twenty-Nine

Touch drawing by Deborah Koff-Chapin

Step 29. I Will Observe Myself Today To Learn Of Knowledge.
On this special day of practice, observe yourself throughout the day, maintaining awareness of your thoughts and behavior as much as possible. To develop this quality of self-observation, you must be as free of judgment as possible, for judgment disables you from being observant. You must study yourself as if you were someone else with whom you can be far more objective.

We shall practice on the hour today. Each hour you will need to check in to see your thoughts and to observe your current behavior. This constant self-checking will enable you to become far more involved in your current experience and will allow your Knowledge to exercise its beneficial influence upon you to a far greater degree. Knowledge knows what you need and knows how to serve you, but you must learn how to receive. In time, you must learn how to give as well so that you may receive more. Your receiving is important because it enables you to give, and giving is the essence of fulfillment in this world. But you cannot give from an impoverished state. Therefore, your giving must be genuine, born of the overflowing receptivity that you have cultivated within yourself, within your relationships with others and with life.

Each practice period need only take several minutes but should be given your full attention. You need not close your eyes to do this, though if it is appropriate, it will be helpful. You may practice in the middle of a conversation with another. In fact, there are very few circumstances that will prevent this moment of introspection. In practice you simply ask yourself, “How do I feel?” and “What am I doing now?”That is all. Then feel if there is something you must do that you are not doing. If there are no corrections to be made, continue on with what you are doing. If there are corrections to be made, make them as expediently as possible. Allow your inner guidance to influence you, which it will do if you are not governed by impulses, fear or ambition. Observe yourself this day.

Practice 29:
Hourly practice.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

December 5, 2012 Round One: This has been an interesting practice, this hourly practice, since I have never done it before, it is a new practice for me. Self-observation is something I find very productive though and I have to say that it is not something new for me, since over the years I have incorporated it into my general way of being. I check my reactions, my emotions, how I am feeling throughout the day, take note mentally and adjust where necessary. When doing this Step, however, I also wrote down what I was doing and how I was feeling every hour, that helped to add substance.

July 29, 2014 Round Two: The hourly practices begin! I so appreciate how Steps eases the student gently into the practice agenda. A month has passed, enough time to begin getting the hang of putting aside time in the day for two or three practices, first of ten, then of fifteen, and then of thirty minutes. Now we begin the checking in every hour. I have to admit that I was very lackadaisical about this the first time around. I think this first step that calls for hourly practices is the only one I made any attempt to actually adhere to. This time I am setting an alarm to remind me every hour and taking a few minutes to check my state.

Today I have been feeling even and balanced, the hourly practice has caught me engaged in my usual activities in a good frame of mind – exercise in the woods, shopping for groceries, sharing New Message posts on the Internet, doing my professional translation work. This practice confirms for me once again that I engage in observing myself most of the time. It is a pretty much ingrained habit of mine. I am aware of my reactions to different things and immediately try to correct them if I feel they are not being guided by Knowledge. When feelings arise that disturb me, seem dissonant, and do not resonate with the general state of harmony I feel, I ask for guidance, ask to be shown the truth, and then I wait. An answer always comes.

July 16, 2018 Round Three: This is a special day of practice. The hourlies begin. No meditation today. Today Claire is 18 months clean and sober. She continues to do remarkably. She is rising to the lead position at Starbucks. She is changing. She is trying. She is coping despite the voices. She is making progress against all odds.

Today I am to practice self-observation, free of judgment. I am wont to judge myself. I judge myself for having negative thoughts about Volodya. I think I should be grateful (which I am to the bottom of my heart), but this does not mean I need to grovel before him and let him tread all over me, surely? He has intruded into my sacred space and it is a violation of my integrity.

I am feeling particular joy and freedom today in Volodya’s absence. I went freely about the garden this morning, picking cucumbers and zucchini flowers before 5.00. It was a beautiful morning. Warm, calm, perfect peace and quiet, the sun rising but still low in the east. I love the aromas of summer. I love the smell of the zucchini flowers. Inside I can smell the fireweed (rosebay willowherb in Britain) that Sasha has been drying - mellow, musky, marvelous.

On the hour, I am to ask myself how I feel and what I am doing.

At six, I had showered and was at the computer drinking my morning tea with turmeric and pepper. Masha and Sery have been fed and have now settled down for a nap. I am about to do Lumosity. Loaded pics onto Cloud. Feeling good and accomplished.

At seven, I was posting Step 197 on Facebook. I noticed my post about Hilary’s house in Greece had been accepted in the Real Estate in Europe group. So chuffed! Feeling a bit rushed this hour, since it took me ages to do Pet Detective and I still got a low score after several tries. I gave up and left the next two games until later. I managed to catch Diana and ask her about the translation she is supposed to edit and send to Kristina. It has been a couple of weeks since I proofread it for her. And Doug wanted a better translation of Bob Dylan’s “Why wait for the world to begin?” for Leonid. Feeling good, flowing on the whole. I like our Russian version of Steps.

At eight, I was feeling frustrated with the slow Internet and still trying to finish all my morning “duties” on the computer. I was writing this journal and finishing Lumosity. My BPI went down a point, now 1563. At one time it was 1613. I don’t fret though, I just do the best I can. On the whole, I am pleased with my efforts and never tire of it. I am feeling relieved that I got everything done before Sasha woke up and still have a little time to go.

At nine, I was eating breakfast with Sasha. Sergei arrived right on the dot of 9 to go with Sasha to the lumber mill for wood to make a new outside toilet. Sasha rushed to leave, without even drinking his coffee. I was pleased to have some time to start preparing our lunch of stuffed zucchini flowers.

10.00 - hot in the kitchen, it is above 30 Celsius today. I am listening to Clapton, dancing and making progress on the stuffed zucchini flower recipe Hilary sent me. Feeling joyous and in harmony with the world.
11.00 - stuffing the zucchini flowers after coming back from a dip. Sasha came home from the lumber yard aching to go for a swim. I dropped everything and jumped in the car. Now I feel refreshed and revitalized. It was a good decision.
12.00 - in the midst of salting cucumbers. I did three jars of marinated and two of regular salted. Listening to music, Schwarz and Funk and others on that disc. Feeling good, all going smoothly as planned. Claire called at 12.30 on her way to work at 5.30 am her time - working the early shift today.
1.00 - eating lunch of stuffed zucchini flowers with potatoes. Delicious! Feeling relaxed and accomplished.

14.00 - just returned from the store. Hot. Sasha resting, although he needs to make blueberry jam. I am feeling in the flow, doing all I need to do. Now I need to do some work for Shostakovich and send the “Volodya” email to Solange.
15.00 - just finishing up the corrections to the Shostakovich translation. Feeling like I need a power nap for 30 minutes. Sasha already got up and is doing the jam.
16.00 - didn’t take a nap. Sent email to Solange and pictures of the stuffed zucchini flowers to Hilary on Whatsapp. That perked me up. Went out to water in the garden. First in the greenhouse. Relaxed and happy.
17.00 - still watering. Sasha finished jam and came out to help. Going with the flow. Happy to be watering the thirsty plants and tying up the tomato plants that were bending under their weight.
18.00 - watering the beds in the garden. Everything is growing so well, especially the squash and zucchini. I also have two pumpkins underway. Feeling happy, in harmony with myself and my world. Always enjoying Volodya’s absence.
19.00 - finished watering, sitting on the steps of the guest house as the sun rides lower in the sky and talking to Hilary. I listened again to some of her recordings and responded to things I’d missed. Feeling the pure bliss of the beautiful evening - warm, clear blue sky, sun dripping its honey over everything. The end of another day in Paradise.
20.00 - finished having tea, dropping exhausted into bed. An absolutely blissful and perfect day. I am so grateful.


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