Each morning I would walk out the back with a cup of coffee and sit and watch the sun come up. The sunlight would stream through the trees sending shafts of orange light across my face and the sound of birds filled the air. The day was starting and life was emerging. It had a rhythm, a pace that was so natural. Every now and then the wind would pick up and the movement of the leaves joined the chorus of birds. This was nature’s symphony and I was there to experience it. I didn’t have to do anything, except just sit there.
I did this for around 30 days to try and see what my life would be like if I took the time out to start each day in sync with nature and be mindful of my thoughts.
I’ve read teachings by wonderful teachers such as Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Buddha and the like, but would I be able to let any of them sink in? To let the teachings move pass my intellect and seep into my entire being and infuse my soul? It’s easy to recite words, but to ‘be’ the teachings is another thing altogether.
Chop wood, carry water
After 30 days I became aware that I already knew the answer. I’d known it all along. Ever since I was a child I had a niggling feeling that I didn’t fit in. It was more like I didn’t wantto fit in. I saw what life was like around me and it didn’t feel right. So I escaped into my imagination.
Effort. Struggle. Battle. Fight.
These are the things that didn’t resonate with me, yet they were what life was about and if you weren’t experiencing any of them, then you weren’t achieving or succeeding in anything. The idea of having to battle my way through life and swim upstream didn’t make much sense. To have to prove yourself to society seemed like too much effort. I hated effort. Was life meant to be hard? Really?
I silently knew there was another way, but didn’t have the words to describe it. I could only have a sense of it, yet it felt so distant I didn’t know if it was just wishful thinking or an actual truth.
‘Being Nobody, Going Nowhere’
Years ago when I saw the title of Ayya Khema’s book, a far off bell tolled in me and I knew that this was something that I had been seeking. It wasn’t the words in the book, it was merely the title.
The title wasn’t saying just sit on the couch like a stunned mullet, it was about reducing the mental battle we face everyday and finding peace from just being with ourselves. I know most of my troubles are self induced, created by my own thinking. A mind full of worry, anxiety and over thinking. Everything that caused me pain was from my own thinking and I wanted to escape that.
Yet the foundations of our scientific reductionist society are built on thought and thinking, however as far as I’m aware no-one has found happiness by thinking about it.
But in my backyard watching the sun slowly come up, I come close to the happiness that I know was there all along, but was covered over by my continual thinking which were usually negative, self destructive thoughts.
In my backyard, in the stillness of nature and without my incessant mind babble I felt more connected that ever. I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel lost, I didn’t feel anxious.
And there’s only really one other time when I feel the same connection….. and that’s when I’m hugging someone, especially my partner. And what’s the similar theme? When I’m hugging someone I’m not thinking. I’m just there…. being. Being who I really am.
This present moment is all I have. Everything else is just thought. Regretting the past is just a thought. Worrying and getting anxious about the future is just a thought. They both can only exist in this one present moment that I am in right now. That blows my mind.
It makes sense to me. I can work with that. No effort required.
Worrying about trying to be successful in the eyes of society and other people, never made much sense to me. It didn’t feel right, it felt unnatural, but learning to firstly notice the thoughts and then let the anxiety about them go, makes so much more sense. Most of what I think about is mostly recycled bullshit that I’ve rehashed from someone else anyway and they didn’t have a clue either.
And the other important thing I’ve earned from watching the sun come up for 30 days, and which bolts tightly onto the present moment theme, is trust in the universe / god / higherself / something other than your brain. When I’ve done that, and stopped worrying about something the end result is never like what I have imagined it. If fact often it’s much better. I have been proven time and time again that worrying about something is completely pointless. It’s like eating brussels sprouts – completely pointless.
Something apart from me has my best interests at heart. Often I find that when I start to be concerned about something and I run a bunch of horrible scenarios through my mind, they never eventuate and realise all that stress was a waste of time.
I throw my hands up in the air and surrender. My own efforts, struggles, judgements and complaining all amounts to nothing. They don’t get me anywhere, yet only more stressed and anxious.
In the peace and quiet of the sunrise, I don’t have to be anybody. I don’t have to put on a mask and play any games. Not to anyone else and especially not to myself. All expectations I put on myself and I think other’s put on me can drop away and I can truly be free.
My thoughts will come and go like the seasons, yet I will always be here. I am the one who has to live with myself, so I might as well like me. And strangely it’s these themes that I’ve subconsciously put into the Frog and the Well Kids Book that’s out next year, Being You Is Enough and other important stuff.
Life doesn’t have to be a struggle, but it can be a wonderful adventure.
There will always be inner battles, but hopefully now I won’t be so harsh on myself afterwards.
One moment. This one.