I sit here waiting for life to start a new flow and rhythm again. It has been some months now, and new year has come and gone. The old life has gone, and there is a big pause, as the inside processing of recent changes takes place. There is nothing I can do to speed this up. The organism is very busy inside making its adjustments and settling down with all the changes that have arrived. Shifts, no matter how small, takes time to assimilate. I have to wait. It is kind to myself to wait and allow and embrace this.
To the mind it can feel like rudderless drifting though. There is a temptation to allow the mind to analyse and to believe its interpretations. It can come up with all sorts of ideas like ‘there is something wrong with you’ or ‘you are lazy’ or ‘you are making excuses’ or ‘you are fooling yourself’ or ‘you are sabotaging your success’ or ‘you are depressed’. I try to remember to listen but not believe the thoughts, I let them pass. Welcome them at the front door, but don’t invite them to tea though. Instead gently show them the back door.
The mind has a favourite question, ‘what is wrong’ it asks. It is always looking for problems so that it can set about fixing things. That is its job and I thank it, and let the thoughts go. It is important on this path to have this tool in place, otherwise the mind can decide something is wrong when it is not. It is just a natural difficulty to be expected.
This path of seeing clearly is not easy, it is a ripping up of almost everything familiar, a removal of all props and comfortable illusions and an exploding of the concrete around the heart. We can easily feel we are in danger when we are not in danger at all. The ego, that part of us that thinks it is separate, is melting and IT feels in danger. TS Eliot talked of ‘the condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything’. Yes everything. This is an orthodox way to navigate through life. That is why many prefer to try and keep this path as a part time hobby.
Sometimes I do listen to the thoughts. I feel quite stressed when I do though too. I have this quite big business that I am running myself and I feel scared at times. My thoughts can say to me that I am neglecting it and not working as hard as I should, or worse that at any time I am capable of unconsciously sabotaging my new success.
However. I largely trust myself nowadays, and I remain very aware of the actions I take and my motivations for making decisions. I am especially vigilant when I feel fear or slight anxiety present. That is a warning to me to be careful. I do not want to make a decision to move towards an action or away from an action based on fear. It is a very poor advisor in my experience. It has been valuable to learn to recognise fear at work though, it can be quite subtle and sneak its way into our reasoning without us realising it.
I first needed to recognise fear in order to listen to the deeper promptings underneath. Fear tends to be quite loud and to shout a lot at us, and it makes it hard to hear what the heart really knows and how it wants to guide us. I have been learning the last few years how to go listen and how to go with the flow and observe to the Force at work. This can be frustrating to the mind which like reason and rationality. It is highly alarmed at my tendency to watch the signs and subtle indications that life presents. Sometimes the mind needs some help to calm down and quieten so that we can hear the deeper promptings.
So how to do this? Settle down for the long haul. Make myself comfy amid the discomfort. Embrace the discomfort by accepting it. There is loneliness sometimes. There can be strong desires which want to pull in a direction. Disorientated swimminess can arrive at times. The ego can whine and complain. I think of Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree and Mara throwing every fear and desire at him. He remains unmoved having perfected equanimity.
How to nourish resilience for the testing times? Become aware of what in life sustains me through the difficult times. First I accept what is happening, be kind in my attitude towards myself and remember to be appreciative for what I have which supports me. I often write lists of what I am grateful for. It helps to remind me that there is so much good in my life. This is especially important if I have been entertaining complaint thoughts about someone or a situation. I find that writing helps to ground me and orientate my mind when it is needing some soothing. Sitting in meditation helps so much. I use the guided meditations rather than sit in silence. Maybe one day i will sit in silence but for now the voice of an experienced guide is what works for me.
Going with the flow, trusting what presents itself as what we need, loving what is and observing the indications that show where life would like us to step next is how I have learned to live. It is not always easy since our culture doesn’t live like this. I have to support myself, take responsibility and be my own leader.