Relax, don’t take yourself too seriously
This was exactly the thing I needed to read this morning. Yesterday, I spent the entire day on the couch, eating “food” I very rarely eat (completely outside of my normal diet), and playing video games. It was a day in the life of myself from years and years ago. I could have spent the day “better”. I could have gone to the gym, on a hike, cleaned my house, worked on some projects, meditated, blah blah blah. But, I needed a day where I could just chill. Just chill. So, I took one of those days. The guilt is there today, but it is minimal. I feel rested and have been wanting a reset lately. Today, back on track. I have an eye exam to get new glasses and contacts. Gym after that and yoga after that. I’m planning organic rolled oats for breakfast and a large amount of fresh salad for lunch. Fruit for snacks. Maybe I’ll end my day with a half hour of video game time if I accomplish everything I want to accomplish.
I love Alan Watts. This transcript is worth reading and the video is worth watching. One thing he mentions, and my deciding factor for making this my daily share, is how language (at the very least) points to our social world view. “Nature is wiggly” he says, but humans “think we understand things when we have translated into terms of straight lines and squares”. This reminded me of a book I read for my Senior Capstone class “Metaphores We Live By” (George Lackoff and Mark Johnson) which dives rather deeply into this concept. We don’t spend much time thinking about how we think; we just go through the day. But if we just take a few moments and listen to the words we use, we become aware of how our world view may not agree with how we want to feel.
We like to quantify and qualify and categorize and label everything. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative thing to do, but when our world view is strictly defined… there is little space for insight. It is beneficial to take a break from definition to simply experience phenomena for what it is (without making any semantic decisions about what it is… that is, without putting it into words). I watch the patterns of water flowing in the creek in my back yard. When my educated mind is active, I’m curious about how those patterns are caused; temperature, stream and depth (among others) are some factors that dictate how the water flows. But when my creative mind is engaged… the water just flows chaotically and from it a simple beauty emerges worthy of my gratitude. What I mean is that I can witness nature sustaining itself at any moment… and then realize that I am amongst it… a part of it. Then my life has a little perspective. I can see the chaos of flow in my life is how my life sustains itself. This is communion. I don’t have to describe, I just have to be.
p.s. I realize that this whole post is something akin to an Infernal Irony, but I wanted to share it anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.
This idea has been part of my morning meditation every day for several months. Actually, what I focus on is freeing myself from the walls I’ve built of fear, worry and insecurity. These walls keep me from spaciousness, or they fill the purity of spaciousness in life. Spaciousness is lack of judgment and expectation. Spaciousness is immediate and unconditional acceptance. I have momentary glimpses of this space in all areas of my life and in some areas, I dwell mainly in the space. The cool thing about spaciousness is that there is nothing in the way of possibilities. It is from spaciousness that possibilities arise… they need room to grow. So, I try every day to continue chipping away those walls that block my view, that imprison me.
Happiness — a State of Awareness
I LOVE this article. It summarizes part of a key principle in which I try to live my life: allow all parts of me to have its voice. For most of my life, I fought against what I judged to be negative emotional/mental states. I always thought those states were problems. The problem, though, was my resistance to them. It took falling down to the depths of darkness, thinking that under the circumstances, I should feel sad, angry and hurt. It was through this that I started to see that I was NOT in the “depths of darkness”. I gave voice to the sad. I gave voice to the anger. I did not judge them as good or bad. I simply felt what arose without reaction. When sad, I cried. When angry, I clenched my fists or screamed into a pillow. The MIRACLE that occurred during this was that I realized that my emotions served not to direct my choice of action/reaction, but as a pointer to the parts of me that needed mending (something only I am ever capable of doing). The other MIRACLE was that through these “negative” emotions, “positive” ones coexisted. If you ever sat with a friend in pain, you know the joy compassion can spark within. Being compassionate and non-judgmental to my own emotional/mental states also creates intense joy. Almost over night, I became much more in tune with my “emotional self” (I don’t like the word “self” but lack a better pointer) AND… my emotions no longer control me (re-read that last part… a couple times). Funny, really… when I stopped judging my emotions, I stopped trying to control them. When I tried to control them, they controlled me. Now I have learned that Happiness includes sad and afraid and angry. It is not opposite to them. It is honesty within and non-judgmental. It is not merely an emotion, but state of awareness.