…or Attitude is Everything
I’d like to share a spontaneous image from a meditation that would be valuable to talk about: In this image, I found myself in Poland during WWII in a drain pipe. I could hear the tanks going overhead. It’s all very dark. There are many people living in this dark place, and they are truly, for the first time, living. This is about learning to embrace being alive—the mere fact of being alive. Feeling joyous with nothing but the gripping understanding of what it means to be alive. In the realm of all possibilities, one can choose to look at it this way or one can choose to further remove oneself from life experiences by becoming absorbed in fear.
There are many levels this is speaking to: to those who are ill and beginning to face their own mortality, those who are confronting the fear of an unwanted change, and those who are simply trying to make it through another day. This could be a time of great joy if the perspective was to embrace the joy of being alive. I am experiencing this in an acutely intense way. It is the exhilaration one feels when the bomb has gone off on the seat beside you, and the dust has cleared, and you realize you still have all your body parts and you are alive. Nothing else in that moment matters or can compare with this sensation.
Few know how to take full advantage of this experience because there’s nothing to hold onto. Nothing to let go of. There’s just the moment and being aware of the moment. Instead, most allow themselves to be pulled by what appears to be other more pressing emotions.
Q: How can we let go of the fears and worries we have?
When you allow yourselves to fall back into old patterns, metaphorically speaking, you pull in your shutters against the blowing winds, rather than go out and fly kites.
Q: I feel that these so-called winds could fly me as well as the kite. My instinct for survival makes me want to go inside where it’s safe.
That’s only an illusion. You are no safer inside than outside. Closing yourself off from looking at danger doesn’t make the danger go away or prevent it from reaching you if that’s what it’s going to do. The way to get strong against buffeting winds is to step out of your “safe” house to meet this experience and learn from it before it has a chance to become truly dangerous.
Q: This would seem to provoke stress, rather than stimulate joy.
It is meant to stimulate feeling alive, rather than feeling exhausted or worried or self-protective. At this stage, it doesn’t matter if the feeling of being alive is triggered by stress or joy. By having the familiar temporarily removed, it forces you into your bodies and into the present. Otherwise old habits happily repeat themselves, with no plans or steps to avoid more repetition of the same.
This is not a scolding about what you are not doing, but an encouraging of what you could do to place yourself in a better position to see, to feel, to know, to experience. So many are so entrenched in pulling in.
Q: What causes people to pull in?
Most are experiencing much outside pressure from other people’s needs that can’t be easily supplied. There is a desire to remove oneself from this uncomfortable pressure. The favored method of doing so is to escape cerebrally through reading or watching television, rather than getting outside in the middle of nature, in the middle of the Now.
For instance, when you face a pervasive deflating energy, you must ask yourself, “What do I need to do to snap out of this deflating energy?” Otherwise there is no great anticipation of fun, hope, expectation, joy. There is just more of the plodding, trodding, treading water that you do.
Q: We do what we can. We have good friends, interests and hobbies. I don’t know what more we could do.
Movement from the spot would be most helpful now. Family day trips to different locations. Picnicking, walking. If you anticipate feeling tired before you start, you won’t start.
Q: I can’t imagine doing these things. I’d feel like I’d be making myself do these things, not because I feel an internal desire to do them.
It is not about doing, it is about going to different energy spots to rejuvenate run down energy fields. There is not some great goal or outcome to be looking for.
Q: Where would we find good energy spots?
You need to let the body seek them out. Being adventurous is not a conscious thing the mind can do. The body will just go until it finds a spot and then it will sit down and absorb. Seek out places of magnificent magnitude of nature, places of beauty that makes tears spring to the eyes, places that make you laugh out loud. These are all places that will rejuvenate you. But you set limits and discourage yourselves before you take the first step.
Q: What makes us do that?
You live out the experience in your mind first, and become weary of the logistics. It’s an acquired skill that few are naturally talented at. Because you start off with a bad attitude, you don’t even get out the door to begin developing this skill. It would not be ideal the first few times because you would not know how to go with the flow, how to enjoy. But you would get better at it. You could just go visit people you like for an hour, or for the day. See how different people live. There is so much fear around even discussing others’ and your own expectations. If you were to be open about your intent and share your experiences it would all be quite manageable. “Hello, we’d like to come and visit for about 35 minutes. And then we’d like to go. Is that all right? We’ll be there in a few hours.” The idea is to make the time frames manageable. Set the escape route before you even begin the journey. Then there is no fear.
Q; It’s easy be totally consumed by worries and fears, and get stuck in them.
When you have an empty space inside that you are allowing to be filled by these negative emotions, that’s the result. The absence of emotion is the absence of energy to plan for your future with enthusiasm and excitement. You have allowed the default mode to rule the day.
It’s not that any of this is wrong or right, it’s just the effect it holds over your emotional and spiritual being. And none of this seems to be making you feel any stronger. On the contrary, it makes you feel weak. So, what is it that you’re not looking at that you need to be looking at to get with the program? What is it that you really want to do, maybe still unspoken? What do you need to change to feel excited, rather than trapped? If you don’t take the time to find the answers to these questions, you won’t learn anything from these experiences and so will have set the course for yourself to repeat them.
Q: Are you saying that we should be doing something different with our lives and the problem is that we’re just doing more of the same?
No, that’s not the problem. The problem is your attitude about it all. You are defeating yourself before you’re even started. It’s because you are not making a positive energy bloom. You could choose to do anything. The point is what you do doesn’t matter, your attitude towards it is everything.
There is a huge tendency when the rubber band is stretched, to have it snap back and cause pain. Rather than to just release itself forward.
Attending a workshop could be quite rejuvenating if it was the appropriate subject. Throw a dart on a map and go and see what’s there. Make it a scavenger hunt where you must find these items before you can return home. The items would have to do with meeting people, learning particular things about different people, why they’re choosing to live where they live, make the decisions they make, value the things they value.
Q: When confronting a difficult ending with people, is it ever appropriate to let oneself quietly fade away?
No, there is great benefit in confronting them all directly. Fading away is an unnecessarily painful demise. It allows no one a chance to finish their feelings. Remember, all stress is an unfinished thought, feeling, or action. Don’t add more stress to yourself or to the world. Finish, don’t fade. Tell all what you think of them, and how you appreciate them. Don’t be afraid of anger, sadness, or love. Expect these outpourings. But then when it’s over it will be over.
You would find great benefit in reading more positive material for continued support through your changes. There is a difference between soothing your mind and numbing your mind.
You have a habitual way of being that’s an accumulation of other people’s perceptions and needs of you. You are about to experience a rebirth into yourself with a capital S, who you really are. Always a tricky navigation.
Q: Who am I that I have not yet become?
Q: Yes, okay. (Laughter.) How will I know my real self?
Because it will know you. The fears, worries, and guilt will stop. You will feel right in your own being. And your mind will be at peace.