I’ve always been an impatient person. I want what I want, and I WANT IT NOW. This impetuous attitude has led me to some remarkable achievements, as well as into some pretty bad debt (of joy, sanity, and of course, money). I woke up this morning having ‘one of those days’…The ebullience that has been permeating my life more and more over the past few months was nowhere to be found when I was rudely thrust into consciousness by a cacophonous assault from my alarm clock at 9am. Of course, I had to get even, and assaulted the device right back – vengefully crashing my hand upon the snooze button whilst uttering a few choice words. I cocooned myself into the covers, dreading the thought of having to face the day – or rather, of having to face my chitta vritti (mental chatter – a.k.a. all the bull sh*t that runs tirelessly through your mind, like a hamster on a squeaky wheel, driving you to madness/tears/anxiety – in short, anything but peace) as the day unfolded. Taking into account all that I have come to know about thought patterns, emotions, and their very real effect on the outcome of our day to day experiences, I know full well that whatever intention you set for yourself at the start of your day determines whether you get cut off by some useless bastard on your morning commute and spill your precious coffee all over yourself (and of course, you decided to wear a white shirt…) or whether you bask in the 5 minute walk to your building from the parking garage, enjoying the deliciousness of a cool breeze and a sweet serenade from the seasonal avian orchestra. Yet even armed with that awareness, I was unable to find any sentiment in my mind that resounded with joy, peace, or appreciation. And so, let the inner monologue of
[…It’s very easy to fall back into old patterns. The tapes we have been playing in our minds for years and years can be changed, but alas, it doesn’t generally happen overnight, and for an impatient person, the transitional period can be torturous if you don’t constantly work to keep things in right perspective… ]
I opened my morning routine by berating myself for my foul mood and the effects I knew it would have on my day, and then I moved up the scale of detrimental practices to my beloved frenemy, ANALYSIS. I began to attempt to dissect the inextricable mess of stuff ( – I won’t find a more eloquent adjective for it, because when it comes down to it, everything we let get in the way of our happiness is just inconsequential nonsense. Finding a place of peace and happiness without any contingencies is the only important matter out there – a simplistic view, but true nonetheless-) that I was allowing (see that? I took responsibility for my thoughts & emotions there…albeit begrudgingly…oh yes, I’m learning, haha) to sabotage my day. A word of advice from a fervid analyst, friends – ABANDON ANALYSIS! It doesn’t get you anywhere, and you usually end up twisting whatever mess you are trying to extricate into an even larger knot than you started with. Our minds are biased; we’ve trained them to see through glasses colored by our past experiences. We cannot attempt to know where someone else is coming from – and we cannot attempt to gain knowledge in this area by deep analysis of it – because we skew the data with our own fears, judgments, and perceived inadequacies. More often than not, something that you turn into an issue was never really an issue at all, had you just let go of it instead of trying to wrestle it to the ground and beat the crap out of it. Being present is the real key here. The longer we fixate on the cut we received yesterday or last year, the longer it takes that cut to heal.
Ok, so you may be thinking , ‘Well then, enlightened yogini – why the hell where you analyzing at all when you claim to KNOW that it’s a futile effort? Take your own advice!’ Again, I come back to the tapes…the self-limiting, self-destructive recordings are not dissolved overnight. Finding knowledge in theory and truly experiencing that knowledge in practice are on two very different ends of the transitional scale. I am working on accepting that for now, I am often wildly teetering between these two places. And therein lies where I found my little slice of peace for the day – ACCEPTANCE. Amidst my self-imposed morning beating, I took a breath – I fully embraced the fact that I was doing all the same sh*t that I always used to do that led to the feelings of misery and self-loathing that had become my norm for so long. And I could see its negative impact on my day already taking effect – every person I encountered in the short time I’d been awake was met with contempt –mirroring the feelings I had for myself and all the stuff that I was stewing in as the inexorable squeaking of the hamster wheel in my mind led me to madness and frustration…
…Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Most of us are trapped in a self-imposed state of insanity. We operate the same way day in and day out, often finding unsatisfying results, and never think to change the game plan. We’ve become so resigned to the notion that life here on earth is simply a trial we have to suffer through, that we never even entertain the idea that it could be something more; something joyous and light and easy. I, for one, am resolute in my newfound quest for sanity. And I know full well ‘it won’t be easy’ to change the miserable tune I’ve been playing for so many years, but then again, being miserable wasn’t too much of a cake walk either…so I think I’ll take the ‘struggle for happiness’ (and it really shouldn’t be a struggle, but we’ve made it that way, and now it’s our responsibility to undo it) over the struggle to endure a life trapped in despair…
‘Let go of it’ – I told myself. I positively noted that, although I had quickly fallen back into old patterns, I had just as quickly made myself aware of it, recognized that I didn’t particularly enjoy making myself feel like sh*t, and at least made an attempt to set myself back on course simply by making an honest effort to ‘Let go and Let God’ [a.k.a Love, Source, Light, etc etc whatever you want to call that Oneness that unites us all]. That’s progress. Is that the ‘I want to be happy-go-lucky, floating on a cloud, my entire life comes together in one big joyous bang’ progress that an impatient seeker such as myself yearns for? Nope. Not even close. But I am readily aware that one of my lessons along this journey of life is patience…patience with others, and even more so – PATIENCE WITH MYSELF. So, like many other things in my life right now, I’m workin’ on it. And I don’t think I’m doing too bad of a job thus far.
So the next time you find yourself in a knot over something, don’t sweat it. Doing so won’t make you feel any better, and I’m pretty sure if something is bothering you enough to be the impetus for that little mind-hamster’s running like the wind on his squeaky wheel, you feel
pretty damn bad already …so why make it worse? Just try to recognize and accept how you feel, and then breathe through it. We all have bad days, and we all have certain things that no matter what, will cut through our peace…but let the sting of that cut last for only an instant and slowly soften into letting it go, instead of constantly tonguing at your perceived wound and simmering in your suffering all day, week, etc. Easier said than done, for a world of tongue-ers and ruminators…and that’s where patience with the self comes in. As I say to those who join me on the mat at the start of every class: Honor Wherever You Are Today.