I have been listening to the lectures of Echardt Tolle and am amazed at how simple and yet how complex his teachings are. I was especially intrigued and confused by his ideas of the stillness of our minds and the importance of finding the spaces between the words.
Now in my busy and ever chatting mind that seemed almost too surreal for me to grasp. He speaks with a direct and methodical way that is both enchanting and hypnotic. And, for the most part, totally unreachable for me right now. I think I have grasped the concept, try it and realize how difficult it can be.
I know I have a tendency to belabor explanations when I am trying to get a point across. I keep repeating myself to make sure that I am being totally understood. A bad habit for me as it can make people restless and annoyed. Many times I am not even aware of what I am doing. It’s not that I think they don’t understand it’s that I am trying to convince myself that I have it right.
I started to think about those spaces in between my explanations that may help in slowing me down and only repeating myself once. I find I want to explain myself to the world. To make what I do matter not just to others but especially to myself.
What I discovered was how much I judged myself and how little I really trusted that what I have to say had meaning. Or that it may have enough value for people to even spend their time listening. Insecurity raises it’s ugly head and the child in me says, “Look at me! Look at me!” Echardt Tolle is trying to say that we are enough. That the silence between those words or even silence itself is enough.
And in that thought a deep emotion comes over me that makes me sad and hopeful at the same time. To quote Echardt from his book Stillness Speaks , “When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.”
I am striving to believe one finds there is no judgement of whether I am good enough but rather that stillness is enough to discover how valuable what I say can be if I come from I Am.
I have meditated for many years. I first did Transcendental Meditation when I lived in London in 1975. I don’t know why I decided to go to the center but I did and found myself being instructed by a kind, quiet man in his early 30’s. I only say his age because he seemed so much wiser than his years and I wanted that at the ripe old age of 21. He gave me my mantra and told me to always carry it close just in case I needed it. To this day I still know it even though I haven’t practiced religiously.
I come and go in my meditation and often wonder if it is even working for me. I tend to be a “high energy” person (for lack of a nicer title than pain in the ass!). I can be demanding in my ways especially when it comes to fairness and respect. I still have a hard time understanding why with some people being rude and dismissive is a daily way of life but if I’m really honest with myself I find I can be that way as well. I try to recognize it when it happens, usually caused by feeling disrespected myself but I guess it’s all in how you look at it. I need to meditate on the fact that even though it is happening on the outside I need to stay quiet on the inside.
I started meditating again everyday whether it’s at 4AM or 4PM if only for 20 minutes. The hardest thing for me to do is turn the voices off in my head. I begin with the best intentions and then end up going over the next day’s plan or what my to do list should be. Sometimes I use my TM mantra and sometimes I use So Hum which means I am. The meaning of that will be for a different time as I could fill a book with that one. I am still trying to find out who I am and get more and more frustrated just trying to grasp it.
I thought I could come up with something that interests me enough to keep me occupied and content with knowing it is what I want to do the rest of my life. I still think meditating may help me with that path but so far nothing has really jumped out at me. Sure, I like to sing and do yoga and write but is that who I am? I love to teach and to guide people but I haven’t taken the leap to actually do that. I am still doing what I have been doing for many years and the sheer mantra in my head that I keep repeating is that of being able to make a living. The mantra of fear comes to mind and I am trying to cast that to the wind.
I read someone said they became an accountant even though they wanted to be a comedian. After a number of years they were fired from their job and came to realize that if they where going to fail at something they didn’t want to do they might as well try doing what they loved. Then if they failed at least they gave themselves the opportunity to know what doing what they loved was like. They at least seized the opportunity. I like that a lot.
So here I am about to embark on a 28 day excursion into the unknown. It will be filled with yoga, meditating, writing and discovery. It is not until November so I have awhile to meditate on that one. Who knows? I feel this may finally be my opportunity to discover the true meaning of So Hum.
Being overwhelmed is different than being exhausted or anxious. Overwhelmed is being…well, overwhelmed. It’s when you feel like you can’t quite get a handle on what you are going to do next. It’s when the lists are constant and yet there always seems to be one more thing to do before a certain date. It’s when even finding your keys in your purse can send you over the edge.
I’ve been trying to keep from being overwhelmed in every aspect of my life. I’m learning to say no to things when I always use to say yes for fear I wouldn’t be liked if I didn’t do what was asked of me. I have recently been saying no more often and the reaction is a bit jarring. I am realizing that when I take people out of their comfort zone of what they expect of me in my behavior they are not very happy. In fact they become defensive. They feel like I am being unreasonable. I am not acting in the way they are accustomed. It’s not business as usual.
The hardest thing of being overwhelmed is that I don’t have the strength to put up the armor and pretend everything is all right. I am making decisions on my own without asking permission and that’s the first time in forever that I have let that happen. On one hand it feels like I’m gaining more ground in my personal freedom but in another way I feel like I’m drowning. I so want to be open and vulnerable. I don’t want to feel so out of control that anger seeps in out of fear. I am not strong enough to keep my guard up to say and behave in a way to keep the peace. Peace for who?
Why do we allow ourselves to get in these situations? What is it about the world today that has robbed us of our freedom to choose how we live our lives? Yes, we do have choices and nine times out of ten they are not the choices we are making. But how do we get out of the rat race we have created? And how did we let ourselves get into it so deep in the first place? I don’t know sometimes. I’m too overwhelmed to find an answer!
And then the drama of it all makes me shake my head and realize that at least I am trying to be aware of the fact that I am drowning! That my only refuge is to quiet my mind, take a deep breath and slowly try to prioritize what I really need in oppose to want I think I need. And that’s when I really have to go deep and ask myself the overwhelming questions of life…Who am I? What do I want?
And the overwhelming answer is happiness and joy in me. In me. If I take responsibility of just that right now then maybe all of it won’t be so overwhelming.