“Often it’s a stagnation in the body that can begin to create a stagnation emotionally and mentally. Or it starts in the mind and makes its way into the physical. The great part of yoga is that we are addressing our whole being…all of our different bodies: physically, emotional, energetic, mental”
I’ve been meditating twice a day since September. Ten months of disciplining myself to sit with consciousness for 40 minutes a day. Approximately 3% of my day is spent practicing Vedic meditation.
I have cultivated many benefits including patience, focus, compassion, and mindfulness.
…but those will be saved for another blog.
Today, I’m going to reflect on my experience with noticing superficial relationships in my life.
Since I’ve become a regular meditator, I’m noticed how shallow some of my friendships, erm… “friendships”…really are. I’ve become aware of this with a large group of friends and with my co-workers.
With this group of friends, common interests grew us together. It’s more like a friendship web than a circle. I’ve known from day one that some people I naturally resonate with on a deeper level. And others, well, we just say “Hello” to each other and make some small talk. I thought that I was being polite by acknowledging everyone, whether that be around town, in class, or at dinner.
Lately, I’m realizing that I was being superficial. I’ve noticed that I said “Hi” to them because I want them to be my friend. A part of me was a little jealous that they get more attention and more verbal recognition. (Soooo elementary school!)
Now I notice that less fucks are given. There is still an initial urge being drawn to this person, to try to stand out to them, and to be acknowledged by them. When I watch this, it fades quickly. Now, there is freedom in not having to be everyone’s “friend.”
I observe how superficial people can be here in the USA. I don’t think they are trying to be a superficial person…maybe they are just trying to seek recognition like I was.
Regular meditation (compared to sporadic meditation) has allowed me to cultivate an insane amount of depth in my daily life. I feel emotions and feelings more. I am capable of more intimate friendships. I am more self-aware. My senses are hella sharp. I frequently feel “high” even though I have pretty much eliminated cannabis from my life. I have gotten so sensitive to my reality that I can really hold a state of “presence” a lot longer than I ever could. My mind is more focused on the conservation on hand without drifting into daydreams and judgments.
Sometimes I’m feeling a little alone. Not because I don’t have people around, but because I am left feeling unfulfilled with an interaction, especially someone who I thought I was close with.
I used to think that laughing with someone or sharing smiles were signs of a true friendship or a real friendship, not necessarily someone who I am best friends with.
Now, I witness that people are willing to fake that laugh and force that smile to put on a facade. To make themselves more likable. People are fine with creating and cultivating shallow interactions with a friend or a coworker if it means that there is “harmony” between them. They may even talk bad about that person when they leave the room.
But guess what…
There is no depth to that “friendship.” No foundation. No sustenance.
I can’t text you for help if I’m considering ending my life. I can’t message you for advice on what I should do during a huge transition in my life.
Why do we fake being rainbows, sunshine, and unicorns with each other when there is SO much more we could explore together?
Life has so much to unfold for us when we have the dedication to show up and be real. And being real isn’t synonymous with being cool, popular, or liked.
Being real is being able to express from a place of purity. No expectations. No delusions. No drama.
Part of this purity comes from getting to the source of who you are. Who are you without the racing thoughts? The key to getting to the source of who you are is always in this moment.
Guess what! Being a daily meditator makes you metaphorically buff as hell when it comes to being present.
When you are able to experience this moment even more, a whole new world opens up. You will be able to pick up on more subtleties and hear more intuition. You will marvel are the closeness that you can feel with another person, Earth and yourself.
From this space, life literally begins to feel like a trip.
I have a couple close friends going through major transitions now. They don’t know what their lives look like in the next few months. New jobs? New cities? New relationships? I’ve hugged them as they cried on my shoulder and expressed all their worries and struggles.
Sometimes, “I’m here for you” or “Let me know how I can help” is the best I can share with a friend when I don’t know what else to say.
But what does that mean to reach out and ACCEPT that offered help when shit hits the fan?
(Side note: “shit hitting the fan” had a recent physical manifestation in my life when my cat got a massive dingleberry and created streaks all over my bedroom carpet trying to get it off. Ewwie)
I’m at a good place now. I am healthy, I have cool jobs with increasing opportunities in the near future, and I’m in a kick ass loving relationship.
So, right now at least, it’s easy for me to clearly see what has helped me in the past work through hard times. This blog is a reminder to my future struggling self, and to my cherished friends.
Here is my personal approach to flowing with life again.
Just for a few minutes, let thoughts and worries explode.
They will anyway, won’t they? Haha! Thoughts are like the lava that comes out of Earth, or the nasty, pus-y, whatever that comes out of a pimple.
And you know what? Wearing makeup or putting a slab of concrete over that inevitability will make it worse.
Whatever needs to come out, WILL come out. Almost always in a more messy way.
Approach meditation as more of a courageous, patient process and not some crazy metaphysical unachievable miracle.
Watch the thoughts. And the next one. And the next one…
Witness the emotions that surge up within you.
You will probably get swept up in whatever is there… But, again, come back to witness consciousness…the state of the mind where YOU are able to watch and hear and maybe even see that annoying purge happening.
This, my friends, is transcendence.
Observe where it takes you 😉
Now that you have a bit more clarity on how you are feeling, you can logically reflect on what’s going on in your life.
Noticing how you felt or reacted to a thought
Do problems still seem daunting? Do some problems seem to lose their troubling significance?
Are next steps more clear?
Reach out to those people who have already told you they would help. Your partner, your teacher, your sibling, your mom, your son, etc.
I often talk to a friend, sometimes I vent to my brother, other times I reach out to my meditation teacher or my Reiki teacher.
Someone else is being compassionate and offering space to you. Use it while it’s there!
Integrate and Evolve
While in a government office building today, there was a sign that said:
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
I had an Argumentation and Debate teacher who used to tell us that we could never “lose” a debate because we would just end up learning more about ourselves and our beliefs or communication styles in the process.
There is obviously a similar theme in these two quotes…
So, you’ve been frustrated or pissed or confused or upset.
And maybe you then got some really good insights about yourself or your situation, either from contemplating by yourself or by seeking help with someone else.
What good would any of this chaos have been up until now if you can’t learn some lessons out of it? Crappy!
Integrating what we learned from school, a conversation, a yoga class, a Ted Talk, or anything really is what begins to turn that generic knowledge into personal wisdom. We are more connected to the lesson.
Hopefully, by now you realize that we don’t have to keep on wallowing or stay stagnant in your life. There are definitely ebbs and flows, but each of these tendencies allows us to evolve over time.
Life always has shitstains and buttheads and other frustrating things…
…but there are also infinite opportunities for deep personal growth when we work with life.
Post meditation reflection:
When I work on slowing down in one facet of my life, the rest of my life slows down. When I speed up in another part of my life, the rest of my life picks up speed.
“Slowing down” comes in different ways for each person. For me, it’s my twice-a-day meditations, laying in my bedroom alone without doing anything, sitting outside listening to the natural ambience, or taking a short pause (after anything, really) before I continue to the next task. The more I practice slowing down, the more I observe it trickles into other parts of my life. How lovely.
Lately I’ve been actively pursuing creative endeavors: blogging more frequently, binge reading books, coloring mandalas, and creating music mixes. The last one requires me to spend long amounts of time on computer. When I am done for the day, I find myself buzzing. Hard. Thoughts are going 3836190 times faster than usual. I have songs stuck in my head into the night and thoughts repeating themselves that usually wouldn’t get repeated.
It’s harder to “come down” from this elevated, excited state. This contrasts obviously. For my baseline has been “calmness” for the last few months. Yet, I haven’t really been testing myself.
Could you imagine how tiring it would be to be riding a roller coaster all day long? But then again, it would be boring to never hop on (if you wanted to).
So I guess this is a checkpoint. A time to reflect on balance in my life.
A lot of times, I only share the “positive” pieces of a trip or experience:
I finished a Vedic Meditation course in Boulder.
I overcome a lot of emotional and mental challenges.
I am privileged to take a road trip across the Southwest from Northern California to Colorado…oh, the sights!
Pictures of beautiful people, places, and things
OMG my life is soooooooo wonderful.
But I rarely publicly share the challenging times to an adventure…
Just to name a few:
Driving 30 + hours just to get to my destination HURTS me a lot.
Physically, my spine is out of alignment, my eyes and face hurt from constantly focusing on the road, my shoulders and neck hurt from grabbing the steering wheel, my abdominal muscles are getting tight and knotted (that’s a thing?), and my hip flexors are outta whack from unevenly pumping on the gas, brake, and clutch.
Mentally, I feel utterly exhausted yet addicted to the driving. I have a hard time stopping when “…I’m just 2 hours away from the next city.”
It’s extremely cold to camp in Sierras in October. Especially without another human, a fluffy dog, and the legal ability to have a fire.
Airbnb is great in theory, but you never know what kind of person is going to become your temporary roommate. Even then, some places are next door to a nightclub, and others might be more smokey than a college campus on 420.
…and it’s expensive to spend $50+ a night for a hotel for a 1-2 week long road trip.
Needing to get four new tires. Two of them could have blown out under me at any time. Then learning that I might need to get my car an alignment service.
People can be mean and make me feel unsafe and gross.
This is a simple reminder that when I (or anyone) talks about an epic life and awesome adventures, it goes in both directions.
There are stories that I share with my journal and there are stories that I share with other people.
Though some things I will always keep within myself, I don’t want to portray a completely false representation of my life.
What ever happened to those hours I spent alone growing up, hanging out with myself?
Maybe I’d watch the neighbors drive past or planes migrate across the sky or find patterns in the wall texture.
My life was centered around imagination and wonder rather than mindless entertainment.
“The most important thing you own and can give away is your attention.”
—San Pedro / Aguacoya Shaman
You know, those ideas that you can’t quite put into words until you hear someone else says it? This was one of them. It resonated with me HARD…to the point of goosebumps truthbumps, a jawdrop, and staring off into the ethers for a little bit.
Being alive used to be an entire meditation, now I have to “make time” for it.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes each day
—unless you are too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour”
Even sillier, is thinking that it’s something that I have to “make time” to do.
Why am I thinking that meditation is a doable activity and not the seamless state of consciousness that it is?
Decluttering. Simplifying. Downsizing. Whatever resonates most with you.
It can be tough to let go of attachments, especially when they don’t just come in a physical form.
I once had a friend tell me that he gave away EVERYTHING he owned (besides what fit in his backpack) before he traveled the world.
Since I was a child, the only thing I have been 100% sure on is that I wanted traveling to make up the majority of my life.
His story got me thinking about what I actually needed ( in regards to physical possessions) in my life. Around the time I heard this, I was sleeping in a sports bra just so I could hold ChapStick close to me for literally 24 hours a day. It was time for a change.
Before I left for college, I lived in the same house for 12 years. I had lots of time (and space..I didn’t realize that walk-in closets were not a common thing in every bedroom) to accumulate crap.
Throughout the five years I spent at university, I moved at least once a year, totaling eight different residences.
I had a love/hate relationship with moving on a regular basis. I loathed packing up things (some that I didn’t even use once since arriving at that house) just to load them up again. Once I caught onto this pattern, I began to see it as a blessing. It made me realize how much CRAP I gave more meaning than it gave me.
I have a relationship with every single item that I own. Some relationships are healthier and more fulling than others. I have a plant sitting near my bed that brings me peace whenever I see it. Yet, I have books that haven’t been touched since I bought them. I’ll read that soon. I just need to finish this book I started first… 2 years later and I haven’t finished the first book.
I’m tired of having pointless stuff. I’m worn down from racing thoughts and emotional attachments to people and memories.
Are these connected?
I’ve experimented with a diverse amount of psycho-active plants and substances. The states of consciousness I’ve experienced spread out like wings.
However, a recent high I’ve bathed in is from taking a small carload of old crap to Goodwill.
The cycle goes something like this: I feel stressed/antsy about clutter. Then I get a surge of energy and work hard to organize the clutter into four different bags (more like sections of a room): recycle, donate, sell, or trash. I am incredibly focused during this time and will usually work for 3-4 hours straight before I realize how hungry/thirsty I am. After a small break, I relax down a bit then load the stuff into my car. On the way to the donation center, I feel a release. It’s similar to the feeling of “Yes! My paper/assignment is turned in!” On the way home, oh do I feel accomplished!
I am in a lucky situation right now. I just finished school and moved back to my parents’ house to dog-sit for them for 3 weeks. Everything that I own is finally in one spot, rather than spread between two towns in different parts of the state. I came back to everything in my room as well. Meaning, my parents were sick of me spreading my junk around the house. Mmmm, what a lesson when we can see ourselves clearly in others!
What matters though, is that love/hate relationships for me tend to be a blessing in disguise waiting patiently to be appreciated.
Eliminating the majority of my things is the first step to my life. I won’t be traveling for long if I still have a room at home that needs to be cleaned and emptied out. It is necessary for me to have the feeling of “Ahh…I’m all finished with that mess. Time to move on!”
I’ve been at home now for 3 days. On each of those days, I have been working full-time as a cleaner, self-cleansing that is. I’ve made daily trips to Goodwill in each of the days so far to drop off a carload of crap. I’ve been speaking more honestly with those I used to be more indirect with. I am also clearing out what’s no longer needed from my body, starting with not putting unnecessary crap in (Farewell chocolate covered pretzels, howdy gourmet taco salads! Okay, this one might take a few tries.)
Sometimes we can’t see the destination right away, or sometimes (if you’re like me) we cannot even see our paths clearly. Even taking a single step might be tough, but it’s the only thing that do in this moment.
I don’t know where I’ll be by 2016 (hopefully somewhere, my frequent flier miles expire in January haha), but for the next 3 weeks I will be eliminating my unfinished business.