“Imagine how much energy is wasted swinging sideways….It’s not efficient to oscillate around the path. To be efficient, you must center all of your energies on the path. If you do this, the energies that used to be wasted swinging sideways, will get pulled into the center. This concentration of energies is used to accomplish the given task much more efficiently. ” The Untethered Soul
Sometimes it will take me hours to figure out what I’m going to wear to an event, two days away. Not a gala. Not a charity ball. A basketball tournament for twelve year old girls. This is a prime example of two things; I am often swinging sideways in the most inefficient way, and I tend to overcomplicate things. It doesn’t just apply to my closet either. I’ve done it, or do it with just about everything in my life. Before the basketball debacle, it was my career/college dilemma. Sometimes all you really have to do is ask a simple, uncomplicated, question; Do you want to be happy? When applicable you also have to remind yourself of that other lesson I keep mentioning and not elaborating on; Never do it for the money.
It’s interesting to catch myself these days in the midst of an overcomplication. Tonight I’m standing in the bedroom, looking in the mirror and asking myself, what’s the big deal? An hour ago you decided you liked jeans and a t-shirt, who cares what anyone else thinks? Who cares if it doesn’t meet the previous requirements of ego? But even the questioning and reasoning weren’t helping. When it started developing into brow beating, I stopped the whole shebang. That’s really what you do. You stop participating in the theatrics of your mind. You remove yourself from the ridiculous conversation and watch as you mind talks to itself until it notices that you’re gone. Then it stops too. It sounds a bit far-fetched, I know, but it works. It’s that simple. You stop.
Today I had a little tenseness with a social worker…after we hung up on each other, my mind was all systems go. At first I was chiming in, but then stopped and just listened to what was being said. It’s hard to describe to someone who’s never done it, but I swear, in the midst of my mind continuing to cuss out the social worker and while my emotions are still plenty pissed off, I am smiling, then laughing. And I think to myself, “Okay, not perfect, but holy crap! I think I’m getting this!” It’s such a strange, creepy, fantastical and indescribable thing to be able to watch your mind. It’s almost like being in an out-of-body experience for most of your day. The scary part is when you find yourself asking, what happens when I really do get this? I am reminded of the times when all of my greatest teachers to date have said that what we fear most is our own greatness and the responsibility that comes with it, not just to others, or even God, but to ourselves as well. I’ll tell you- I get that fear. I had a run in with it today. I spend a lot of time swinging between what “everyone” thinks about me and my abilities and what my mind thinks about the same things. I get nothing done when all of my energy is focused on what someone else may think I should be doing or what my mind is telling me I can’t do, or can’t do well. There really is nothing efficient about it. So, I’ll just stop. I know it sounds so much simpler than we think it is, but I also know that the more energy I put into doubting it, the less I have to put into it and there is nothing balanced about that…
“It’s not about seeking center, it’s about knowing your edges and resting in between. you can never seek that which you already, naturally are. Centered and Balanced.” Melissa
I’ve spent a lot of time seeking balance. Trying to locate my center. One foot in front of the other and somehow always feeling as if I’ve walked in a circle. I thought that the “middle way” meant searching for and staying in the middle, but it doesn’t. It means knowing your edges and resting in the space between them. It means knowing what scares you, what lies on either side of you, whether it be fear, ego, or even love and then walking among them, in between them. It doesn’t mean bouncing your mind and heart off of them until you’re lying in the middle bleeding to death. It means knowing that when you approach something or someone who makes your energy shift, your heart clench, your mind react, YOU don’t run away with it. You observe it. And then you leave it alone. There’s a difference between running into the fire and watching something burn. You can still feel the heat. You can put the fire out. We tend to run into it though, with a gas can…Then we sift through the embers and ask, “What happened?” “How did this happen?” “Who started this?” I think it was Tolle who said it was like the police chief looking for an arsonist when he WAS the arsonist. It’s like that. The sooner your realize that you set the fire, the sooner you can stop. The sooner you learn to seek your edges, not to cut yourself in two on them, but to accept them, and transcend them as a whole, the better off you will be.
Swing left. Swing right. Hold still.
I’ve been left, I’ve been right, but rarely have I been still. It makes sense that when you’ve spent your life doing things one way, you will find it hard to believe there’s another- even after you’ve started doing it that other way. We tend to notice more easily what we’ve always done, rather than the new thing we’ve started doing. It’s how we unintentionally, but habitually, set ourselves up for failure. No one is harder on us than we are on ourselves. Pema talks about kicking the wheel…like a hamster. She says that even after you stop kicking your wheel, people will still see you as if you are because that’s what they are used to. It’s also because they’re kicking their own wheel. But we do it to ourselves worse. One little misstep and we think, ‘Oh, crap! I’m still doing it!’
It’s important to remember that still doing it and doing it again are different. I never understood that until today and there are plenty of people in my life that fit that…I wish I could have understood this sooner. I wish I could have seen all of the times that someone wasn’t still doing anything, but that they had stopped and just messed up again. I wish that some of them could have seen the same thing about me. Still doing means that you never stopped. Doing something again means you’ve learned how to stop…most of the time. Habits are hard to break. Especially the ones we have used to protect ourselves- even after the threats are long gone. Especially those habits, especially those.
It’s hard to remember that we need to notice when someone, anyone, especially ourselves, do it differently- whatever “it” is. It’s important to make this a new habit in our lives. We don’t have to protect ourselves all of the time, in fact, habits of protection are often what stand in the way of the habit to receive. Change is good. Change could be your new habit. Change could be your new routine. Change may very well be, balance.