no chance of rain

 

You know that rare, unexpected moment when you look around you and notice that there are no major crises swallowing up your attention? You know the kind of event that seemingly hijacks your life and derails even your daily plans?  None.

In that rare moment, even if you’re experiencing some confusion, minor loss, life dis-order or chronic busyness, the things you’re facing apparently do not qualify for the master list of significant life stressors so should be more or less manageable according to the creators of the master list.

Quite recently, I realized that over a few weeks surrounded by the unremarkable stress of being a living, breathing conscious person, I became increasingly agitated.   And as my general uber-vigilant disposition was not picking up any external signs of an intense struggle to engage or an insurmountable obstacle to overcome, it seemed that I needed to create some concrete struggle internally.

Suddenly my own arbitrary deadlines rose to commandment status with the added pressure of “someone will be waiting on me for this”.  In my own gospel, Never Leave Anyone Waiting is the second commandment after Do Everything Correctly and followed by Everything Matters. My inclination to set regular goals and write lists became a firm attachment to perfectly imagined outcomes followed by an out-of-balance disappointment when they were not realized. My growing acceptance of “this is the way life is” was recklessly abandoned on the meditation cushion with my settled breathing and mind. Slow, mindful movements were replaced with jittery legs and fidgety fingers. Sleep was rest-less and stillness disappeared.

Remember, there was no genuine crisis. Bounty was all around me.  Relationships, life’s work, passions and creative outlets were all within much more-than-rich and satisfying range. Life, as they say, was and is good.

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On a clear, breezy day with no clouds or chances of rain, am I addicted to the chaos of panic and pressure? Do I need to create drama where there is none in order to feel engaged, relevant and meaningful? Does dis-ease become my default position especially when things are going well?

I don’t know.  Now comes the sitting and listening with a curiosity for what comes up and with no predetermined outcome.  If panic asks to take over, I’ll re-read “the “3 steps to pacify the panic” blog I wrote a few years ago and get un-stuck (again!) from this familiar place.

May your summer be full of self-accepting moments where you never give up on the places where you get repeatedly stuck!

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “no chance of rain

  1. This is one of the fascinating things that I love to explore about the mind. It comes up with stuff when all seems well. To be able to notice this and examine it with compassion as you are doing is wonderful. If you find it difficult to sit, perhaps try a walking meditation, particularly outside in the woods or on a beach.

    If you go with an evolutionary model of the mind, then you could rationalize this as important to survival. In years of plenty when food was abundant and life was fairly peaceful, our successful ancestors were motivated by what you are experiencing to not slack off, to find things that needed doing and make them the current crises. The work that they were driven to do perhaps prepared them for the the next real crises so that they survived while the people that relaxed and enjoyed the good life were less prepared and tended to perish.

    I enjoy being able to rationalize why the mind does what it does, and study the fMRI images that show what the brain is doing, but to me such rationalization is just an interest. What I really care about is, as you note, being still and listening to see what arises, cradling whatever arises in compassion, exploring it with curiosity, and accepting it without judgement. The latter being most important because insight can’t be rushed or even sought -insight just arises… sometimes. This is sometimes not easy, but it’s a practice.

    • Thanks for this welcomed feedback, Richard. The phrase and concept of “cradling whatever arises in compassion” is an inspiring one and I even plan to sit with it during this heatwave weekend. And I also appreciate your insight on the evolutionary model of the mind and share your pleasure in exploring the mind and all its attachment and aversions.

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