Imagine yourself looking out of a window. You see what is there, but you’re still here, sitting in your chair. Your chair is this present moment. You’re trying not to lose yourself in the imagination of what you see outside. When you do get lost, you decide that it’s ok to dance for a moment, as long as you remember to come back to your chair. You’re learning to dance with life while still remembering your chair. You’ve realized that life is a balancing act, dancing and sitting, dancing and sitting. Over and over you dance and sit until, through a flicker of insight, you grasp that when you’re dancing you’re really still sitting. You’re beginning to find the present moment in every moment. You’ve found peace, you are free.
“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
– Ram Dass
A few weekends ago, my girlfriend and I decided to grab breakfast at one of our favorite spots downtown. Across the street from the restaurant, a new building was in the process of being built. Chicago is known for its architecture, so we always enjoy seeing new construction. As we walked down the sidewalk, I looked up and noticed a construction worker about 30 floors up, seemingly unphased that he was eye level with pigeons as they flew between buildings. I couldn’t spot any signs saying what the building was going to be, so we headed in and ordered our food.
Afterwards, we strolled back to the car and drove around the corner to search for a sign. We finally found an advertisement, promoting “Mindful Rental Living”. I hopped on my phone later in the day and found that they plan to have a “meditation garden”, but other than that I didn’t find anything particularly mindful about the place. I’m no expert on mindfulness, but the point is, spirituality has become big business. Mindfulness is just one of the many spiritual buzzwords that have been absorbed by companies, thrown around in marketing departments and plastered on billboards.
For the individual in search for their own spiritual path, this can be troublesome. We get pulled in every direction and we start to search outside of ourselves for answers. Companies are experts in persuasion, so its up to us as individuals to truly be mindful and use our awareness to see what is really happening.
Take it from Ram Dass, our spiritual paths are uniquely personal. We must follow our own truths and read our own hearts to find peace. When our culture is based on consumerism, its hard to convince ourselves that we don’t have to solely rely on outside sources for answers.
Follow teachers or teachings that feel close to your heart. As you go through the experience of life and learning, pay close attention to what arises along the way. Outside sources can be very useful, but allow your inside source to be your supporting guide. Your inner guide is like the rudder of a boat. As you recognize what is useful and what isn’t, use your rudder to move toward usefulness and what feels true to you.
A wise teacher will tell you that his or her purpose is to teach you how to be your own teacher. So before you move on to trying something new, put down the books, turn off the TV, close your eyes, and read your heart.
Love is understanding. It’s the warmth that inspires to bare the cold when it seems that there’s nothing left. Love can never be taken once we remember that it comes from within. Lets try and understand each other and reintroduce each other to the flame of love that already burns deep within each of our hearts. If we come together, we can burn as bright as the sun.
I never looked in the mirror and said it out loud, but I was basically trying to force myself to get over it. I left my job to work full time on my own business. There was only one problem, my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted to make money and build something on my own, rather than pursue what I felt was close to my heart. Six months later I decided to go back to my old job and reevaluate my life.
Through the entire process, I never allowed myself the time to experience the fear, regret, frustration and guilt. I just wanted to get over it and move on. I thought getting over it would be more beneficial than actually facing the emotional whirlwind. Or maybe I felt better ignoring the fact that I had experienced what most would consider “failure“.
Since then, I’ve realized that getting over stuff never works. Life is like a puzzle and each experience is its own unique piece. You can’t see the entire picture without all the pieces. If we leave out the experiences we identify as negative or bad, then we never see the full picture. Together the negative and positive experiences are what makes us whole.
Thats why I’ve given up trying to get over things. Going through something is much more valuable. When we go through something, we come out on the other side with more wisdom. Wisdom that we can use to help free ourselves from the source of our stress and anxieties. When we force ourselves to get over things, we try to skip over our negative experiences without acknowledging our feelings and therefore getting nothing out of it. That leaves us vulnerable to running into the same challenges over and over, suppressing emotions that will sooner or later find their way out.
Emotions have gotten a bad wrap, let’s cherish them for all the lessons that they bring rather than treating them like a nuisance.
Growing up I created a blueprint. It was an attempt to design my life. Then as I went along, I tried to model my life based off of my design. A design that of course, I came up with based on what I thought I wanted or have been influenced to want. Now, I’ve decided to scrap the blueprint and start over with a sketch pad. I’d rather draw in my experience as I go. I’ve realized that behind my plans and designs are all the things that I’m truly reaching for.
If we keep life simple, we can meet it beyond the model, in a place where the possibilities are endless. Experience proves that our plans don’t always play out as we’d like. Life is fluid, it’s job is to erode away our model. The same way a stream flowing over rock, overtime creates a something as beautiful as a canyon. If we truly want to live beautifully, we have to let life work on us.
Meet your life right where it is at this very moment. If you’re looking for guidance then let go of your expectations. Meeting life beyond the model is about opening up and allowing for space. Space where answers can flow in and out freely. Space where things can happen, rather than be forced. Whatever is useful will be there and whatever is not will keep on flowing past.
Don’t impose so many restrictions on your life, just float freely through your experiences. And if you are going to make plans, hold them lightly.