It’s been an intense week. Lots of things happening around me, and I find myself getting drawn into this stream of external stimuli and events. Ironically this week was not just the week where I realized that there is time for everything. It’s also been the week where I skipped my morning ritual (writing and oil-pulling, meditating, a few sun salutations) a twice because I wanted to make time for other things.
I’m a person who loves/needs structure, planning ahead, to do lists. Deviating from my schedule usually scares me. I start worrying that making exceptions is just the beginning of a downward spiral into chaos. I told myself instead of writing and meditating before work, I could still fit that into the day somehow, which has proven true for writing more than meditating, although I try to remain/go back to being self-aware as much as I can. But I can still catch myself getting scared that that is a lie, and I’m just slacking off.
And that’s where the flipside of the coin becomes apparent:
When we’re abiding our schedule for fear of not being “good” otherwise, then it seems to me we’re kind of missing the point, and maybe we need to learn how to handle the “chaos” of not having a schedule and just going with our instincts?
This morning I sat in front of the fireplace for a few moments. That feeling that it somehow wasn’t right that I’d just get dressed and drive to work crept up on me. Interestingly, I thought I was being self-aware when I told myself:
“You know that that’s not true. Don’t let this thought take you over. Be in the present and you’ll see there is no problem.”
And I was fine. For about half a second. Then I thought:
“That’s weird, why is that feeling still there?”
In hindsight, my mistake is obvious: I was not taking measure to not let my thoughts steer – I was suppressing an emotion. Realizing this, I tried the opposite – going deep down into that feeling, allowing it to presenting its case, taking it all in, being interested in what it was.
“What if this is just a lame excuse? You said you could find time for everything, so why didn’t you get up earlier to make time for this? You’re slacking off, and this is the beginning of you neglecting the things that are important to you. Soon you’re days will be all work and no play, and you’ll be back to where you never wanted to be again! You’re on your way to the life you never wanted. Being a drone, working, eating, sleeping – nothing more until you die.”
All that sounds really dramatic and terrible – and the hardest exercise I find is not objecting to anything. But it’s like when your best friend is going through a rough time: she does not want you telling her that her feelings aren’t justified. She isn’t expecting you to fix her situation either. She just needs you to listen. It took me a long time to understand that when it comes to others. Seems like now is the time to learn to accept that the same applies to myself. Just allowing the feeling – however dramatic it is, which it always is because on some level it’s ultimately always about the fear of death – is all it takes.
Our feelings want one thing: to be acknowledged. If we fight them, they’ll just fight harder to get our attention. If we accept them and acknowledge their existence, they dissolve eventually.
It seems to be either the only thing we have, or the thing that doesn’t exist at all – or both. Either way, observing my own thinking more I noticed that a lot of stress for me comes from just this one thought:
I don’t have time for this.
„This“ can be both pleasant and annoying. I don’t have time for the things I really do want to do, and I don’t have time for things to go wrong. Whatever it is I feel I don’t have time for – me not having time invariably seems to become a fact as a result of the thought. Very stressful.
Magically – and luckily – it seems to work both ways: More and more frequently, when I’ve noticed myself get worked up over something, and thinking „I don’t have time for this“, I made a conscious effort to let go of that thought, relax, and think:
I do have time for this.
And there it was. By taking time – and I am talking allowing things to take the time they require instead of trying to rush them – I somehow made time. I still managed to do all the things that needed to be done, plus the things that I often don’t feel like I can afford to squeeze into the day.
I always thought it was somehow „unfair“ that I felt too tired at the end of a work day to do the things that I do just for the fun of it. Again, it was reading The Power of Now that steered me back towards the right track:
When we can feel the joy of simply being, it doesn’t matter what we do. That joy is always present, always there for us to choose.
I find this to be true.Whether I’m folding laundry, enjoying the company of a friend, sitting in a traffic jam or at work doesn’t matter when I am self-aware enough to choose to truly be connected to myself and thus the divine source. I find Eckhart Tolle’s metaphor of the sun and the candle very helpful, too:
The joy of being is like the sun light. It’s always there. When we don’t see that light, we can get exstatic over the comparatively small light of a candle. When that light goes out, we’re upset, frightened. When we have the sunlight in our life, we can still appreciate the beauty of the candle light – but it’s not as dramatic when it’s not there. Our happiness is not dependent on it.
I try to remind myself of this whenever I find myself stepping into that mind trap where I go through an episode of „fighting time“(or its lack). It’s as if I am fighting for the right to be unhappy with something. It is completely possible to do that, sure. But what does that really do for me in the long run?
The biggest difference for me when I manage to tell myself that there is time, is, that I am not as tired at the end of the day as I get when I live in a state of frustration over time running through my hands like sand through the hour glass.
It seems as though I might have accused „time“ somewhat hastily of being the villain in the drama of my life …