It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that some days the weather inside of us changes 17,000 times and if we want to stand in our power then what we require isn’t a stronger grip on control, but the courage to release it. Our situation is our situation, and our emotions are a result of how we choose to see it. Emotions drive actions and our actions, well, they create the reaction that we know as ‘life’.
If you want to achieve a goal, it’s not necessarily about changing your actions, it’s about your ability to take a big step back and have a look at what your mind is saying about the situation – the tension that mental attention creates and, most of all, learn to pause in that tension.
When emotions rise up, it’s your job to own that, be in it, not run from it. When energy swirls inside, it’s your job to not react to it, but to move with it and shift it with your surrender and presence. Observe the story, be curious about what you’re afraid of or what you are resisting. Notice your urge to react. Most of all, notice how you judge your discomfort. There is warped conditioning in our world that if we are afraid, anxious, sad or stressed, that there is wrongness in this.
And most of the things we fear are the things we actually crave at a deep level.
Peace, contentment, stillness. Yes, we fear peace; well, our mind does, because it thrives off fear and chaos. It’s happy when it’s busy and if there is peace inside of us, there is no busyness. So part of us craves happiness, peace and fulfilment and another part (mind) craves chaos.
The quality of your life and your ability to pursue things that really matter is determined by your ability to feel the pull of the mind and resist giving into it. Your discipline is your freedom.
And in those storms of emotion, those down times; the troughs of life – they exist for the sole purpose to slow you down enough and practice patience, compassion, surrender and learn what it is you need to learn most – to come back to yourself, to trust, to slow down. To feel.
We can’t sit still within ourselves. We so deeply want a deep fulfilment, but the noise of the mind, rattling up an unsettled energy within us, triggers us to reach for stimulation every time there is a space. The traffic lights, the change of a song, the bathroom, waiting for your coffee, after sending an email, finishing work, getting out of bed. Could you go an entire day just being completely present with what you are doing in every single moment, without having to reach for distraction? Truly? No phone. No conversation. No fidgeting. Just being still when there is space. That’s a level of mastery that’s being asked of us when urges rise up to pull us away from the present moment.
The irony is, if we just paused in each of the small moments and learnt to be, rather than consume or stimulate, we’d realise that deep meaning in life, the contentment, peace, joy, freedom – it’s right here and now.
You’ll discover so many things you didn’t know about yourself if you would only exercise that discipline.
Mostly, what you’d experience is a very deep fullness with what’s right here and who you are right now.
We’re so afraid to pause and breathe into now because we’re terrified to discover that we are all of the things we wish to be.
We’re a society that edifies a very unhealthy relationship with being ‘the best version of ourselves’. The sad part is, as we make this mental agreement to ourselves about being this ‘better version’, we have instantly assumed and judged the current version of us right in this very moment which cultivates shame and fear within us. And thus, the cycle of self destruction and avoidance of stillness compiles upon itself.
When we strive from this place of wanting to always be more and emphasise on filling the gaps, it’s like running on a constant current of fear and angst, surging throughout our being.
We are quite accustomed to this, so we often accept it as ‘life’. We handle it by ignoring the dissatisfaction that stirs deep down by distracting some more and the edification of busy allows us to lie to ourselves about it. A cobweb of chasing something we already are (love) by means of slow self destruction which takes us further and further away from what we crave most.
There are symptoms – very simple behaviours we can curiously examine – that are otherwise often overlooked as nothing too bad or something you ‘want to be better at’, like not touching your phone 2,000 times a day or saying yes when you want to say no.
It all comes through learning to pause for a moment, learning not to just impulsively do the same thing again and again. It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filling up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.
I talk about meditation, mindfulness and compassion a lot. Like, all the effing time. But these things, whilst fundamental foundations to a very deeply fulfilling life, are not enough. We have to be willing to deliberately take a close look at the little things we do that are seemingly harmless, that suck the life force from us, leaking our attention, presence and energy constantly at a micro level.
And do you want to know what happens when your attention, presence and energy is constantly leaked at a micro level? You feel empty. So then once again, you try to fill up from the outside in.
Eventually, this becomes a macro being-ness. A constant leakage and filling up of space.
What if the next time your hand reached for your phone, or your mind went into overdrive about something you can’t control anyway, you just took a single breath and paused? Let yourself feel, possibly quite uneasy in that space of nothingness or uncomfortable emotion, and be cool with that. Notice how hard it is to do and with that, understand this is simply showing you where you need to start.
Feeling paralysed? Notice procrastination kicking in?
That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Resistance is good. It’s just fear of our own potential, that our mind cannot comprehend. A flow, a space of no limits, creative energy and fulfilment. Procrastination is an indicator. Resistance tells us what we have to do.
Remember this single rule: The more we avoid it, the more you know for certain it needs to be done.
Resistance is experienced as energy leakage in everyday life; distraction and procrastination. The more we give into shallow urges, the more distracted we find ourselves being in life, the more sure we can be that we are turning away from what fulfils us and what will allow us to reach a deep creative growth potential in our soul, and that is, and always will be, the deepening of your presence in each moment.
When you push past and into the resistance, you don’t just stop. You don’t become unproductive when you are still, you actually hit flow – and that my friends – is where the gold of life really exists. That’s when art from your soul surges up and rises out. That’s when we trust without knowing, speaking without choking, act without fearing.
First, we must learn to pause, sit in the in-betweens.
Fear will always be, the resistance will always be there, the urges will always be there. The key is pausing before you take the hit.
It’s funny really. Being still is the fastest way to come to life.