Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back in the Saddle

After a bit of a dry spell, I have decided to get back into writing. Not that I really stopped, but it’s been a little more free-form than what I post. You could say I have been lacking the inspiration to put myself out there.

As usual, I have been doing a lot of reading, and as usual I often read to make sense of my life and experience, but in the last number of months there has been a more intensive quality to the soul searching I have been doing. I have felt that my life is not mine to live. I have often wondered who I am and been quite alarmed that I really can’t answer that question. I have felt that this transition period is still a transition not because I am actually still in transition, but because I have not yet recognized what I need to in order to know that I am moving forward. I have felt helpless and useless, that for some reason I am not allowed to do what I want to do, and I have felt that my brain is somehow being rewired.

What does that mean, you may wonder? Well, it was an exhausting process of trying to concentrate on something practical and 45 minutes later finding that I had been staring into space…or actually falling ‘asleep‘. I would begin meditation and find that I had ‘slept’ for a 10 or 20 minutes and afterward feel, relieved, recharged or sometimes as though I had been visited by people whose faces were still vivid in my mind’s eye and who crammed my brain with more information than I could handle. I refer to ‘sleep’ because it is a state of mind/consciousness that I experienced is not one that I am not familiar with. I can best equate it to that nap-like light sleep the brain slips into before you go into a deep sleep, but not. Perhaps I will have more to say on this at a later date, as I continue to search for an accurate description.

Anyway, I was learning a new level of patience when it just stopped. It was a Friday morning not long ago; I got up and began to struggle through my day as usual, and a little after lunch I felt lighter. By dinner, I thought ‘I feel different now’, and the next day I tentatively recognized that it was over. Say tentatively, because I waited to see if, perhaps it was a hormonal shift, then I looked at the weather to see if I had recovered from a mild form of seasonal affective disorder, and then I looked for some other mood altering shift in my life. After a few weeks I accepted that the months of rewiring were finished.

Now that things feel relatively stable, I am left to sort out who I am and what I want. The task feels daunting.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Getting back to Now

Focus is all about right now, whether I am in meditation or concentrating on what I need to learn. I know I’m ‘doing it right’ when I have sense of peace and I lose track of time; it’s a feeling of doing the right thing at the right time where things flow, and I find the energy and insight to complete my task well.

I say ’doing it right’ because when I’m in the zone everything feels right, but in reality there is no right and wrong; there is, however, easy and hard. This would be an instance of ’easy’. ’Hard’ occurs when things don’t flow so well - when there are a lot of distractions that creep in and derail my efforts to accomplish something, be it a task or a state of mind. In this instance it’s a process of remembering what my intention is and returning to the task at hand…and sometimes not getting swept away in frustration. On these days success is measured by the number of times I return to the task, not necessarily in what I accomplish.

Getting back to now, it has not always been easy to see. I found myself wound up in my past and my future almost all of the time and had quite a challenge really understanding what now is. Even recently my perception changed again and I understand it in a way I didn't before. The implications of now run
very deep, and keep everything very simple.

Past and future only exist in the now through thoughts and memories. As I have realized the truth of this, I have also been able to see now expand from a fraction of an instant between past and future, to the space between breaths where life begins anew, and to the moment before thought where, from the infinite chaos of purest potential, a thought arises and is realized. In that moment before thought, we choose.  

Life is awe inspiring.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mindfulness in action

I wrote this a year ago, today.  Clearly I was sending a message to a future self -  a self that really needs this right now.  It's funny how that happens.


To start, I don't think what I am going to say replaces the mindfulness practice that takes place when
when you are sitting and paying attention to your breath and what is. Theres a certain quality to that approach that separates the self from body, thought, aches, pains and other distractions, that I am not sure the mindfulness-in-action approach does. Having that awareness is invaluable, and I am quite sure I have not finished discovering how much so. There is something there that I need again, that I have not really had since I gave it up(the formal practice), so I am trying to figure out what I need to do to get back into it. In my attempts I have been able to access both a comfortable and an uncomfortable familiarity, and I have begun to realize that I am going to need to make a lifestyle change. I am not sure what it will involve, but I sense that it will be considerable and is best done gradually. So, one step at a time.but I digress.

I understand the frustration of feeling unfocussed, of my mind racing, of riding the wave of a thought, ending up somewhere else and saying, Shit. I did it again. I know what it feels like to be at the beginning (again) and to question the value, to wonder if it is worth the effort, pain and frustration, but I can recognize that they are just thoughts. I have a knowledge that runs deeper than that, experience of how it goes and how much is not real. Its almost impossible to remember when I am tired, my knees hurt, I have defeated myself by slouching, but I know that there is no failure in trying and that the success is actually in the realization of Shit, I did it again. It is really not about how many times I get lost in thought; what is important is how many times I return to the point of focus. More is better. Its skill development, which cant happen if I dont make mistakes. It can be frustrating, but its easier when I shift my attention to whats important - whatever I have selected as my point of focus, instead of dwelling on the mistakes. Oh, there it is again works much better than Shit!. Sometimes I do okay, and sometimes its just another stupid thing to be mindful of.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Resistance is futile

I am reading journal entries from last summer, around the time I really started to accept that there were some things about my life that I could no longer deny, and around the time I got some help in dealing with my experience so I could come to terms with my self.

The themes so far are

1. Feeling okay and like I have things under control
2. Feeling like crap and as though I have no control
3. Feeling pretty good about my commitment and action to get things under control
4. Something happens to indicate that I have no control over what is happening
5. Feeling directionless, lost, generally quite useless, and feeling as though I am just taking up space on the planet.

I had spent a long time training myself and successfully practicing that life is what you make it and that thoughts manifest. I had a good life that started to fall to shit (in some respects) and I thought I could stop it. 6 months later I am knee-deep and only just realizing that I have no control over a good part of my life at this time. Every time I think I have control, I realize I have none. Perhaps it is time to accept that I have none. Perhaps I am being propelled down a path because I must go down the path.

I am clearly in a transition, a big one. I am struggling with a sense of urgency to do something and at the same time, I don't really know what to do. So, while I struggle wth focus and a sense of direction,
I am also spending a lot of energy trying to stay neutral until I figure out what I want. Transitions are times of pure potential; it’s mind-boggling, but it is time to unboggle the mind. What’s the best way to maximize pure potential? Set goals! I set some. I set a bunch. I managed a few…the ones that only involved me…fitness goals and whatnot; others? Not even close, despite taking the steps, fruition never occurred. The only explanation I have is that they were not goals in sync with something about me. It seems to me that sometimes the plan is bigger than I can see and, when that is the case, resistance is futile.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My two selves

I have two lives. One takes place in a realm of consciousness where everything is normal. I look for work that I like and is fulfilling, I earn a living, I buy stuff, go out with friends, drink, eat, look for more stuff to buy, work harder to earn more money, and then I spend more time coveting my stuff because I have worked so hard to obtain it…but it’s good stuff, I have good people and I am basically happy.

In my other life, I don’t care about work, I don’t care about stuff, I am convinced that the practicalities of urban life will be taken care of (my other self thinks this self is delusional), I don’t drink because I don’t like how it makes me feel, I have good friends, and all I want is to be more connected to myself and others. I want to understand who I am and how, at times, I slip into unity consciousness, and how to make that process even more fluid and grounded than it has been.

The common element in both is my relationships. This is the link. These two lives are sometimes at odds with each other but are always connected through the people. The me that is grounded in concrete material life wonders if we are all connected to something greater than ourselves, while the me that is sometimes lost in experience wonders if the 'greater is that we are connected to each other.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life is… a highway…a box of chocolates….a classroom…or whatever you make it.

I watched some of Oprah’s Life Class. Though it is often affirming, I don’t usually feel as though I am missing anything by not watching it. However, occasionally, she says something that helps me think about things a little differently; today it was the loss of my job. She mentioned getting fired and how it was the best thing that could have happened to her because that event pushed her in a different direction - direction she probably would not otherwise have gone.

Maybe my job loss is doing the same thing. It was my job; I was assured and reassured, and then I was out. Not only is it possible that it was a push, it is also possible that I caused it as surely as I created that job for myself in the first place. A few months before my surprising departure (due to budget constraints), I had decided that I would find a way to live an emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced life, that I would no longer deny my experience of the world as energetically interconnected and that I would actually explore it. I am sure that I could have done what I am doing now while working, but not as quickly. I wonder if there’s something I need to be ready for.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The distance from here to there

I recently realized (again. I keep forgetting and realizing) that trying to get from point A to point B does not work. I think I am not where I am supposed to be or I have this impression that I am progressing toward something.  It's not so much 'progressing' as 'realizing' what is.  The fact is that there is no distance between where I am and where I think I need to go. I am both here and there, and at the same time there is no here and no there; there is only here and there is only now. The old adage “there is no time like the present’ is actually inaccurate. There is no time but the present…or to take it one step further, there is no time. Everything exists in its fullness.