One of my intentions for 2009 has been to slow down, to savor, to see and feel who I am and where I am at in the moment. I tend to be quick and fast and smart by default, though I find my deepest pleasures very often when I am doing the opposite! Going slow and experiencing life through the beginner’s mind. You know it, that sense of awe at learning something new – especially when it has been sitting there right in front of me!
My friend and inspiration Lola Jones likes to say, “the mind is a wrong seeking missile.” I know what she means by that – as when I start to speed up or feel stressed with too much on my plate, my old tendency was to think my way out of the situation. I consider this an improvement over “panicing” my way out of the situation, which I also used to do! However I am now revisiting my emotions from a slow, conscious place instead.
And instead of thinking rationally about my emotions, I go to the beginner’s mind and simply describe the feeling from a very fundamental, vibrational, physical perspective. What I mean by the vibration is this:
- Where in my body do I feel it?
- What is the tonal quality I am feeling? High or low pitch, heavy or light, pointed or diffuse, etc.
- How is the intensity? Mild, moderate, consuming my attention, etc.
Then I breathe for pleasure into my body, into my emotions, into my mind. This part is almost effortless. It does not have the heaviness that I associate with “perseverance.”
Then the stuff shifts. And I remind myself that this is exactly how enlightenment works.
There is this confusion in the group consciousness I have observed and experienced for so long. Practices offer promises for nirvana. We variously feel improvements (or not) as we pursue changes in our lives and explore different teachers and teachings. Yet I, like many of us, have had this childlike notion that once we arrive we will no longer have dips. Yet this is false. Seth Godin has written an entire book on understanding dips.
This aspect of life is pretty straightforward:
The more challenges we take on, the more old baggage we uncover and the more roadblocks we get to clear in reaching these new destinations. This is the good news, not the bad news. Though trust me, I do feel the discomfort when I am cleaning out the pipes to make room for more flow! But it’s like cleaning the toilet. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I love the result!
I do believe that these challenges – though they can feel difficult – do not need to be mentally defeating once we learn how the process of enlightenment works. This is where the mind can really help us – by reminding us of the mechanics of change.
I think of every difficult emotion now as the gateway to more enlightenment. I used to attempt to mentally affirm myself out of it, or what Lola calls a “spiritual bypass.” I now prefer to dive in to the vibration of it and thank it for shining a light of consciousness on this new gift that has arrived at my doorstep.
Yes, this takes time. Yesterday I chose to take 2 hours each day for a while to be in silence from other people and with myself and the Divine. I realized that for now, I want this level of support for and from myself, to make room for the pleasure and the awareness that I enjoy so much and love sharing with others. This is using my mind to remember what I know – that I do and feel better in my life when I choose consciousness over automatic pilot. When I choose to trust the Divine enough to slow down and be here now. When I trust that whatever I do I am fine – so why not do the things that are moving me in the direction my soul is calling to me from?