Yesterday I made that big commitment to become more “inner referent” and take a fast from external influences such as tv, books, magazines and the like…at least until Christmas. The idea being that I’ll have a clearer mind more open to interacting with the Divine in this magical time of year.
Then this morning I checked my email.
I mean, I can’t cut myself off from civilization totally, right? (notice my ego’s strident wrangling to take control of this situation). I do have a couple of projects in the works and I was waiting for emails from my support staff.
So there was an email from someone I know with an article she thought I might like. Without thinking about it, I not only read the article, but I was so impressed with it, I posted it on facebook and twitter! It was only afterward I realized what I had done…inadvertently (and quite publicly) blown my commitment less than 24 hours after making it (sigh).
Well, what was there to do but laugh. At least I caught myself.
The rest of the day I watched how often my mind reached for something to distract itself during open moments. I had the impulse while waiting for my lunch to cook to check my email (again). Then while eating it was all I could do to avoid looking for something to read (I did find myself glancing at the front of the Fortel’s pizza menu. This was really sad. It’s like reading the cereal box at breakfast. Is my mind really that uncomfortable with stillness?)
I meditate every day. So you’d think I’d be a little better at this whole inner reference thing. What was interesting though was how much meaningless mind junk I had to sift through to get to the sense of Presence I’m seeking.
Here’s what I am finding: my mind seeks outer approval constantly. It wants to know why someone I know just unsubscribed from my newsletter. Or why one of my friends hasn’t responded to my facebook post. You wouldn’t believe where my mind goes with this stuff. I won’t humiliate myself further by delineating the details…trust me, they aren’t self-edifying.
And yet I realize that the point of spiritual evolution is not to “arrive.” There will likely not be a time during my tenantship of this body that will demonstrate mastery of consciousness in each moment. In fact, setting that as a long term goal takes me out of the moment.
Instead, my task is to become aware of all the ways my ego pulls me away from the Power of Presence to follow a series of thoughts or get swept up in an emotion.
It’s not about being perfect (thank God). As much as my ego likes the pretense of perfection, it is really just a trap to keep me from doing the real work. The work of returning, moment to moment, to what’s Real.
So: Day 2…mostly successful at abstaining from the media (with the notable exception of reading and posting that article/speech written by Steve Jobs). Very slight and subtle slowing of the mental hamster wheel that apparently engages me for large portions of the day (this is really embarrassing).
I’m noticing that there’s more sadness there than I realized. I’m missing my Dad (he transitioned 17 months ago). I’m witnessing my husband deal with his Mom’s rapid descent into dementia.
Tomorrow’s assignment: more noticing. More space. Being present to whatever emotions appear. And I’ll add a commitment to “one pointed attention” (as Eknath Easwaran calls it). No multitasking tomorrow, which means I can’t talk on the phone while I’m driving (is it really possible to get anything done without my mobile office?) We shall see…
Peace of the shining stars to you,
The Manifestation Maven