After observation of self comes stalking. Who do you stalk? Only yourself. What differentiates observation of self from stalking? In stalking, you set up the situation in order to engage without identification.
Stalking is done with intention. In order to be intentional, it is necessary to be unidentified. Ordinary human behaviour, from the shamanic point of view, is folly. It consists of unintended, automatic reactions to stimulus in the environment. The reactions are shaped by identification. Stalking is controlled folly…it explores the possibility of reacting differently or not reacting at all.
In ordinary life, we continually avoid real engagement. Our ordinary engagements are highly structured. We are careful not to offend, not to reveal ourselves, not to be uncomfortable, unless someone steps on our ‘corns’ as Gurdjieff would say, in which case we may feel justified when other less delightful automatic reactions take over. Our habitual conditioning is designed to make us comfortable.
We are unconsciously vain…always manoeuvring to avoid appearing to be stupid or ‘not in the know’. If we are caught out, we may slip into self-deprecating humour or anger as the case may be. This automatic behavior can be observed. It can also be stalked. Stalking involves taking the risk of entering into the unpredictable, which is inherently uncomfortable.
This is difficult to understand. Can you provide an example?
Let us say that I am drawn to having political exchanges with others, in person and through social media. I explain this by saying that my intent is to change the attitudes of others which I think are too emotional and biased. My exchanges are shaped by this agenda.
In fact, my desire to engage has many other unconscious benefits…it is energizing, requires attention, overcomes boredom and loneliness, challenges me to think independently and express myself clearly. These benefits are covered over by my agenda. Could the potential of this engagement be enhanced if the rationalization of changing the opinions of others were to be relinquished?
Removing the programming opens up the possibility of play…controlled folly…in which I do not have the protection of ‘doing the expected thing’. These engagements can take new and different directions without my habituated agenda. Now, having no goal, I can be more aware of the subtlety of the engagement. Do I have any tendency towards cruelty or rejection? What are my sensations during the engagement when I am no longer protected by my identification with a high-minded, superior aim? Do I have a clearer view of the other person?
Having disarmed myself of my secret mission, might the other participants also disarm? Perhaps, but that is not the aim. In this work, there is only the stalking of self.
This is one example. The principle is to observe how you compress the range of your experience to make yourself comfortable and then to act contrary to your habit.
Engagement has value in itself. Can you give up your roles and assumptions in order to see what is actually happening? The stalker knows the value of engagement and wishes to act outside his conditioning, for the sake of discovery.