Thursday, July 28, 2011
Ebb and flow
It all ebbs and flows - a recent subject of meditation lately. Also I see that I'm losing contact with the stillness and presence I relaxed into while camping at Craine Prairie.
It's so hard to stop the rushing forward once it gets started up. At Craine Prairie it was easy to be still and present, totally immersed in the moment. One reason for this is it was such a precious period of time. I wanted to savor every second. And yet isn't my entire life such a precious period of time?
What would it be like to regard it as such, fully and with daily commitment? Just like I did when we left for Bend on Friday. I held onto it through Wednesday, my first day back to work. By Thursday it was evaporating rapidly and then lost in entire chunks.
I want to bring that level of presence and appreciation for the preciousness of existence into my life continually, daily. So I will have to practice. Training with the challenging circumstances of life, from rude drivers to the illness of a loved one, until I find myself navigating the ebb and flow with more grace, presence, compassion and intention. This all sounds lovely and utopian however life is sweet and sour. No way around it.
There is great comfort in knowing that the practice of living mindfully comes with crests and falls. Call it moodiness or ebb and flow or simply conditions change, but don't call it failure. Feeling like shit sometimes isn't a failure. Recently I observed that irritation upon waking is becoming a (reemerging) habit. All the things I'm worried about or dissatisfied with come to mind and blossom into frustration and a small, tight simmering rage.
But I know this will pass and now that I've faced it squarely I have the upper hand. Still it sucks terribly.
I recently caught an insight about the darkness, doom and gloom that frequently hovers around (not to be confused with the simmering rage, although I'm sure the two are intimately related). I used to ignore it. Quiet it with unhealthy habits that only strengthened its next assertion. Recently I see it's fed by a sense that "it's all for naught". We will all die. The earth and our solar system will one day cease to exist as we know them - perhaps becoming entirely inhospitable to human life (yes I really do tend toward thinking of the future!). This has somehow come to set root in my heart and mind translated into meaninglessness and futility, tainting my perception and experience of life, limiting and inhibiting my ability to relax.
Seeing this belief was profound because immediately I knew I didn't believe this dark take on reality. There is meaning if only in my consciousness. In the context of my life and the lives of those I love, in the context of all beings and of existence itself, my life matters. All life matters.
So there, Grim Reaper.
Now how to apply this insight? Begin with trying to remember it when the darkness descends or begins edging in with its cold, greedy grip.