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Communicating Normality

A Simple Step Forward in Repairing the Interface

ARC Guide Level 1
Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.

Photo by Marta Wave

Relative Normal

How we live our day to day lives communicates our normality to others; the things we are used to doing, saying and being on a regular everyday basis–at least in the context we are most usually found. The same can be said of our environment. What we find to be normal we make no effort to change, even if it makes us miserable. Misery itself can be normal. Disease can be normal. Struggle can be normal. If you are like my 8, 3/4 year old, a messy room can be normal. Anger about not having a, ‘normal,’ sister can be normal. Stressful car journeys can be normal. But, thankfully, so also can an innate desire to refine our normal, be normal.

Cleaning House

I have started practicing meditation with my eldest daughter before bed. So far as I know the way we do it is unique to us as it was born out of necessity and so I want to describe it for you. Please someone tell us if we are practicing by accident some already codified practice.

We first prime the imagination by closing our eyes and thinking of a white circle in our minds and then change the colour from white to blue to green to purple and finally to yellow. Often she has to physically say, “white circle,” to imagine a white circle in her mind and the same for each colour after that, but increasingly she is getting faster at the priming stage without speaking.

After this we go through the rooms in the house where she spends most of her time. Tonight we did the living room, the kitchen and her bedroom. I give her a reference point and ask her to describe the room as she sees it in her mind. She will then describe in full detail what she sees as a clean room from each of the prompts I give her.

The Conversation

An interesting conversation took place after we “cleaned,” the living room and kitchen. I told her to open her eyes and she said,

A: “Daddy we did my room last night,”

Me: “Yes we did”.

A: “So why isn’t it clean? Does it happen automatically?”

Me: “No, honey, your room isn’t clean because you didn’t clean it. To you, this is normal.”

A: “No…”

Me: “Yes it is. If this wasn’t normal then you would have seen the state it is in and said to yourself, ‘this shouldn’t be like this,’ and done something about it. This is why we clean the house in our minds, so that we can change what is normal to us and so when we see that it is messy we will clean it.”

She paused for a moment and then asked,

A: “Can we meditate again but on this room (her bedroom)?”

And so we did, and again she knew exactly the details of her clean room in her mind and described them fully and without pause except to be prompted to move on to the next area.

The Work We Need to Do

It struck me later that we need to do an awful lot more, ‘house cleaning,’ in our minds if we want to change what is normal to us so that we do something about the messes in our lives. I could force my daughter to clean her room, incentivise her with an allowance and remove privileges from her if it isn’t done, but I would far rather have her change her vision of what is normal and so bring it about in real life. This is my daughter learning to repair the interface in her own life, and so must we all do the same.

Ammi Ruhama Community Christian Union

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