Getting in My Own Way

Sometimes I have plans to sit quietly at home in the evening and enjoy a meal without television, internet or a book.  I usually am completely unsuccessful in these attempts.  At one point I thought I was avoiding the loneliness of eating alone again, and maybe that was a small part of it, but there’s more to it.  I have a hard time sitting still.

As I begin to study more about spirituality (in tremendous contrast to religion) I find that I avoid, run from, am maybe even a little afraid of that which I seek after the most.  I want to connect to that which is bigger than I.  I want to know my own soul and hear its truth and its direction.  I want answers I know I already possess, but I’m afraid to sit and listen.  I am afraid to be still and know that I am God.  (Typing that last sentence freaked me out because, as a partial quote from the Bible, my use of it will surely be interpreted as blasphemous by many. )  But it’s true– the thought of sitting and contemplating my power and my connection to everything, the thought of quieting my thoughts to find what exists beyond them entices and scares me at the same time.

I don’t feel trepidation or anything.  I’m not shaking in my boots when I think about meditating or praying or just being still and quiet – but I avoid it.  Even this weekend, as quiet and peaceful as it was, I had my books.  My mind had to remain constantly engaged.  You may have read the list in the previous post.  I am addicted.  I thirst for knowledge and am addicted to ideas.  I am beginning to realize that my addiction to ideas is impeding true knowledge—the knowledge that only comes from going within.  I sound like some freaky mystic, but I know that what I say is true.  I am avoiding myself.  I’m afraid that I am more than I ever could have imagined and I’m not sure how I’ll handle that knowledge.

I want to hear from folks who have taken the journey within.  Share your stories with me.  How did you get past the fear of the silence?  How did you force yourself to be still?  Is it incremental?  A daily practice?  A month long retreat?  Please share.

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Creating the Life I Want

I have had a nearly perfect weekend. One reason it’s been great, that you’ll notice immediately, is that I have had time to blog. That’s always a good thing. Also, the fairies (read: cleaning service) came on Thursday, so all I had to do this weekend was buy groceries and cook. Both are activities I love almost as much as…breathing. They are especially enjoyable when someone else had already cleaned my kitchen and emptied the dishwasher. Amen.

Basically I have walked around the lake, eaten, read, relaxed, gotten my taxes done, drunk lots of water, done yoga, meditated, read some more and gone to Border’s to buy more books to read. And had sushi — that is an event unto itself. The only thing missing is having great sex. Any takers?

I have been thinking a lot about the subject of my last post, the password protected one. I really feel drawn to a much simpler lifestyle. Where I land may not be too much different than the lifestyle I’m currently living (which is pretty modest, don’t be fooled by the fairies), but it is in sharp contrast with the trajectory I started with this new job. Read all up in between those lines so I don’t have to password protect this post too. OK?

I am just convinced that this crazy hustle and bustle, trying to get ahead, dollar-chasing American lifestyle is not the one for which I am destined. I need time to be, to be still, to reflect, to read, to learn, to eat good homemade food sllllllooooooowwwwwwlllllllyyyyyyy. Do you know what I mean? I need time to walk in the park, hike in the mountains, learn to play my guitar so that I can hear my chords echo through those majestic mountains. I need time to cuddle with a doggie and play fetch with him by the lake. I need time to fall in love again and explore what it means to be in a relationship and be independent at the same time. I need time to be pregnant and experience the wonder of life growing inside of me — or not. I need time to decide if, instead of pregnancy, I want to love a child who’s already here and alone and longing to be chosen. I need time to enjoy my relationships with my parents who I can see getting older by the day. Why have we created lives for ourselves that don’t leave any time for — living?

I am having a great time reading a bunch of different perspectives on life and God and spirituality and why we’re here and where we’re going and such. The most enjoyable aspect of this journey has been noticing all of the points at which these ideas, philosophies, metaphors, institutions, religions, etc. intersect and say essentially the same things. I have so much I want to read. Here’s what I’m currently, simultaneously reading:

  • Philosophies of India, by Heinrich Zimmer
  • Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama
  • Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice, by Christy Turlington
  • Mama, by Terry McMillan
  • The Complete Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, by Neal Donald Walsch

And here’s what’s in the queue:

  • How to Know God, Deepak Chopra
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
  • In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
  • Perfect Health, Deepak Chopra
  • The Third Jesus, Deepak Chopra
  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  • Disappearing Acts, Terry McMillan
  • Snakes and Earrings, Hitomi Kanehara
  • The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Pilot’s Wife, Anita Shreve
  • Healing Love through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy, Mantak Chia

I’m too lazy today to link all of those to Amazon.com. Copy and paste as much as you want if you want to know about any of those.

Needless to say, I need more time to do the things in life I really want to do. I need to find a way to make that happen. And I will find it. So many spiritual perspectives in the world support the notion that we already know all we need to know, we just have to learn to settle ourselves and listen to the truth within us. Though they call this process different things, the idea is still the same: in the stillness and the silence we find wisdom and truth.

The thought of a month at an ashram in upstate New York, or some similar retreat in the Pacific Northwest sound really appealing right now. Such an experience, however, should not be a decision made by impulse. I’m trying to contain my impulses…but I’ve already priced out one of the options.

Have a good week, Lovelies.

…as long as you don’t answer yourself

I blog because I need to write.  I don’t  claim to be a particularly skilled writer, I just know that written words are the best way for me to see, hear, process what I’m thinking.  Many times, as with the previous post, I’m surprised by what comes out of me when I write.  The pages, these pages serve as a mirror to my Soul. 

I have been feeling drawn to go back and read my old journals from the period in my life when I was gaining strength to take a good look at myself and get honest and naked with myself for the first time.  This is also the period that led to my decision to leave my marriage and to begin this process of re-thinking who I am, what I believe and why I believe I am here.  I am afraid to go back and read these journals.  It wasn’t until two nights ago that I could really articulate why. 

At the risk of sounding like a freak, I journal in two voices.  One is my conscious voice to whomever (God, ex, family, friends) and the other voice speaks to my conscious self in the second person.  So, yeah, I write to myself.  I have always believed that these passages are God’s way of breaking through the distractions and speaking directly to me in black and white so that I can get it.  While those passages have always been deeply comforting and empowering to me, I’ve doubted them often.  “God wouldn’t say that,” I often tell myself.  I judge what I have written and struggle to make the words fit into the box I’d built around the concept I had of God at the time. 

Along this journey I have gotten to know a God who isn’t confined by a box and certainly not by a Bible.  I believe he resides in me and in you and in every created thing.  I still believe this is the voice that speaks to me as a write “to myself”.  I am afraid, though, that I’ll go back and read what I’ve written in the past and feel like something (then or now) is wrong.  I am afraid I will have to choose between that voice and the voice the comforts me today.  I am afraid to see where I was with the distance I have now and I’m not sure why.

(Big parentheses around this whole paragraph…

I really feel a merge of my blogs coming as I write this.  I haven’t said very much here or on Unpacking Faith lately about where this spiritual journey is taking me.  I plan to write about it more, and I will probably just do it here.  I can’t realistically separate myself into 3 divergent paths; after all, they really are one.  It’s almost like I inadvertently created a mind blog (this one), a body blog (Fine Tuning) and a spirit blog (Unpacking Faith).  God forbid I separate my mind from the other two!   

 …close parentheses).

So, I’m not sure why I am afraid to see where I was or who I was then.  I’m not sure what it will make me feel.  I know that it’s obviously something I need to do because the urge is so unrelenting.  I’m going to try to post after I read through them.  It may be stream of consciousness…wouldn’t that be fun!  At the very least, I’m sure it will remind me of parts of my story I’ve yet to tell. 

I’m not sure if You Know Who You Are still reads this, but if you do (and I know I still owe you an email response) I would love to hear you chime in on this one.   

Namaste!