A few years ago, I was hosting a party at our home and found myself very wound up, so much so, that If someone had asked me where I was energetically (and if I could have stopped long enough to really check in with myself), I would’ve felt my energy very concentrated in the front of my head, in “little mind” (thoughts fraught with tension). Being so locked in mind, I was almost completely unaware of the larger dimension of myself, and only vaguely aware of anything or anyone else.
I was in “git er done” mode, and my mind was fast and furiously telling me what to do: “Take the cheese out one hour before everyone arrives.”, “Dress the salad, no wait, it might get soggy, let people put their own dressing on.”, “Make sure you clean the bath tub (in case someone pulls the shower curtain back to check).”, “Vacuum. No, let Jack vacuum”. “Hey where is Jack? He seems to disappear when I really need him!”, “I can’t stand doing this all alone.”, “I need help!”, “Jack never helps.”, “This is indicative of the larger problems in our relationship”, “We really aren’t partners at all.” …..”Our marriage is in trouble”, ……on and on and on.
The mind, when allowed to run the show (our lives), is like an insane ringleader trying to run the circus. I’ve dealt with it by staying completely captive of its demands and trying to fulfill each one to the letter (and ended up wiped out by the end), by deciding to detach myself; not do anything that brings up those feelings (with the resultant feeling that I was on the side-lines of life), and finally, by trying to stay present wherever I am, and whatever I am doing.
I used to be quite close to a woman who was very talented, creative, and also had this intense desire (like my own) to make things perfect. She chose to retreat almost completely from the world. …and I knew why. This “thing” that emerges when we take on an important project or event (that is very meaningful to us) can feel like a monster. We hate the way we feel when we’re in the grips of it, and we think it is the event (or people who our mind has told us are the cause of the current problem) so we want to get rid of the situation or straighten “them” out, and find ourselves saying things like, “Never again!”….and truthfully, it can feel easier to avoid it..and after a little while, we begin to believe that we’ve conquered it. But we just haven’t. It has just gone unchallenged. It is still there, and we think that it is the real us. And we fear it.
But it isn’t us. It is a part of sleeping humanity’s consciousness, and it is a part of our experience until we begin to wake up. And just becoming aware of it, it loses some of its power over us. The more we stay present (out of compulsive thought) during experiences that challenge us, the more we stay in touch with what is happening within us, the more we wake up to the real Self, our Divine Self. The Self that can be “In the world, but knows it is not of this world”. The part that is aware that we are something much greater than these flesh and bone bodies who eat, drink, talk, think, dance, sleep, and plan,…so we can eat, drink, talk, think, dance, sleep and plan in new and better ways. In ways that bring Light to everything we touch with our hands and with our minds.
“Sometimes say softly to yourself: ‘Now…now. What is happening to me now? This is now. What is coming to me now? this moment?‘ Then suddenly you begin to see the world as you had not seen it before, to hear people’s voices and not only what they are saying but what they are trying to say and you sense the whole truth about them. And you sense existence, not piecemeal–not this object and that–, but as a translucent whole.” pg 53, from “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” by Brenda Ueland (published in 1938)