The Ongoing Power of Being Still

So many of you enjoyed the post about my cat, Uma, and my self introspective journey during her absence last year that I decided to share my real life stories once a week on this blog. I am really enjoying connecting with all of you.

There are many sayings relevant to life when it gets tough. When the going gets tough the tough get going, when handed lemons make lemonade, life is not fair, life goes on, it will all work out, life's a bitch... we have heard them all.

Sometimes, this happens to us. We get hit with too much. But, do we? Or, do we choose to ingest this "too much" thing? When we take on others pain and suffering, get wrapped up in our schedules, meetings, and even goals we fry ourselves. And our goals can often be confused as ideals. It is important to decide what is truly a goal, an idea, or a fantasy.

I openly say I have had a lot of strong waves in my life recently.
1. horrible family crisis - the tsunami
2. evolution of business ideas (not a bad thing but a wave to ride - the lovely rippled waters with spontaneous surprise)
3. a two month ongoing discomfort from new food allergies - the whirlpool, sadly in my intestines... colonics are good

Thing is, I have been content all the way through until three days ago when you have one of those moments where all the thoughts come to a head and sprout. Watch out. The thoughts have sat and marinated and at that point have spread throughout the entire body like a virus. You know those days? Right? When you are spinning in all your thoughts. The mind is strong. It can carry us to places we never thought we could go, convince us things are not as they are truly are, pull us away from the true self, the kind nature in us, and promote ignorance of the self. If you sit and think too much you will become entangled in your thoughts. And, if your thoughts are rampant, impure, harmful, and blurred in doubt you will likely end up having a meltdown or chasing your own ass. I do not mean a huge ongoing meltdown. It could be one bad day where you have ingested too much of your own crap and others. Perhaps ate dead foods, watched too much TV, got little exercise, and paid zero attention to being still and quiet. My few days of the crap hitting the fan were simply brought on by being so busy I sat still less and received very saddening news three days in a row. What I know about myself and I feel is true with most is when you are faced with family crisis you can get socked. Why? We are incredibly attached to our loved ones. Only the most enlightened being can truly be still through family crisis and even once I heard a monk needs to process mourning. We are human. But, it is important to remember that we can move on with peace and understanding through challenge. The key is to be consistent with what brings you peace. If it is your bike ride, ride your bike everyday. If it is gardening, garden. When you stop, you break up your ongoing stream of calm.

During the recent past day of hitting my threshold I caught my mind and said, shut up! Slow down. However, it took quite a bit of stillness to sort out the noise. It happens. The noise happens. We have to catch it though as it can build and roll into a ball of flames. Knock us down, pollute us, and convince us we are too tired, too this too that. Then, the reactions come followed by the inaction of working out the reason the reaction started, the mind was a mess. It is like the dust that builds up and up on the things stored in a basement. When you dive in to fully clean out the basement it takes much time to clean it up. And, you get caught up in old photos, objects you forgot you had, and then start coughing because you are sitting in an environment that is full of muck. You have to do a lot of work to clean up. However, it must be done. Or, the muck will keep thickening and so will the illusions and fluctuations of the mind.

My meditation practice has been interesting recently. I often find myself in meditation when I am not trying to be or sitting down quiet without a plan. When I try really hard to set a time, I fail at it. My yoga practice has always been very organic. The physical side as well as the mental and spiritual side. I am not sure if it is because I was surrounded by ocean water as a child but something in me is obvious... I relate to the ocean and its minimal vastness of calm, its high crashing tides, and its low shallow waters with grainy sand that never ends. Its ability to build a huge wave to roll and its ability to be still and calm. Growing up, the ocean was my refuge. When I moved from Southern CT to upstate NY, completely lake based, I felt lost. I remember my first day as a new student moving into my dorm at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. I felt isolated, trapped, and closed in with no ocean liner. I looked for four years as a student to find that place again as a meditation spot but never found it. Now, I know I was simply attached to a place. It took a long time for me to adjust into stillness here. Adapting was always my strong point but I hit a rift with geography when I moved away from my safe spots.

I guess my point in all this verbiage is this... find how you are connected to stillness in times of noise. When the mind will not shut off. When it keeps talking you keep talking. What the hell are we all talking about anyway? Gossip will bring you so far down your energy will be depleted, rambling will just drive the listener nuts, snide comments will breed harm to others and ultimately you. So, during times of hardship, despair, commotion, and friction, aim to be still. The whole think before you speak thing never works if you cannot sit still before you think. Because what you are thinking will eventually come out in some form. It may be road rage, fatigue, quarrel, or a dumping of your crap on someone else. Own your crap. Own your thoughts. Be aware of your bad day and how it started. And, most importantly, remember, we all have them. But, can you move through life's obstacles with fierce grace? Yes. Can you be still anywhere? Yes. You do not need a beach.

My troublesome day passed and I am thankful I had it. It put things back in perspective. It was cause for another tune-up and update in my goals, intentions, and yogic practice.

Sri Yogi Dharma Mittra, who you will always hear me reference, says, "everything is perfect and nothing is permanent." On that note, I wish you much peace.