Is it winter, or is it summer? It’s hard to say by just looking outside. The nights are long but the days are sunny and warm. And then, there’s the wind…. Rattling windows, blowing leaves and whistling through windows.
That’s generally how I feel just before something interesting is about to happen. First, I get a little confused and rattled as to what am I really doing, and why. Then, I find my meditations getting longer and my mind shuts out the world of activity and goes into contemplation mode which kind of feels like dreaming, thinking, sleeping and meditating all at the same time. Then, I start smelling the winds of change and shortly after, I get blown away in some direction. I am off on a new adventure!
I am sort of a romantic adventurer with a passion for learning and discovering, so when I hear that wind hauling, I am off, full sail and a smile or a frown on my face, depending on what it’s going to take out of me, but I am off and away. I don’t even mind the high seas or the occasional thunderstorm that inevitably appear. I believe that every good adventure is worth all of its thunderstorms and even the occasional getting lost. It’s who I emerge at the end that makes all the difference.
Yet, not everyone welcomes the winds of change with equal enthusiasm. Folks batten down the hatches. Close the blinds and turn on the TV louder so they don’t have to hear the whispers through the window cracks of consciousness.
There’s something comforting in knowing where you are, what you are doing and thinking that you have control over every aspect of your life. The need for certainty comes before all other needs. We seek shelter, food, friendships, things that make us feel stable on our two feet and secure in the future.
Krishnamurti finds this need for perpetuity at the root of all human drama and struggle because, as he said, the self that seeks it is the ego and the ego is nothing but a story, told and retold, over and over again. You can’t make a story “feel” happy. It’s a story. And it is a story that does not exist outside of your own head.
As Wei Wu Wei put it:
Why are you so unhappy?
Because, 99.9% of everything you think,
And everything you do,
Is for your self,
And there isn’t one.
I am thinking, if you are going to be telling yourself stories, you should at least pick one that you like. It beats the alternative. However, remember that it is still a story. Hear and know your own bullshit. It will make all the difference in terms of how much you suffer or not. How offended you feel. How elated you get. How full of yourself you end up.
How much energy and effort, do you really want to sacrifice just for a story?
You kind of need a story if you are going to interact with the world around. Just as long as you don’t put all your chips on it and try to defend it, perpetuate it, and uphold it as true, and at any cost. Let the story change with the times and the requirements of your creativity. Feel comfortable with that change and enjoy the results.
The stronger the identification with your story, the more painful the inevitable transformations. You can’t stop the winds of change. You can shut yourself in for periods of time and pretend you don’t hear what’s coming, but you can’t avoid it forever. While you are trying to avoid it, you are suffering, struggling, and unhappy, engaging in distracting behaviors. Eventually, the storm that’s brewing smashes your shelter to pieces and you have no choice but to stand out there, your illusions blown in all directions, and kneel on the grown with gratitude that you are still alive.
I know. I’ve been there. I’m there. And I will be there again.
It’s what happens to humans.
Trying to weather the storms alone usually prolongs the process and makes things feel bleak and hopeless. Getting emotional support, heart to heart care, shoulders to lean on, ideas from other, direction, inspiration, and even the occasional movie and popcorn with a friend, or helping someone in need, takes us out of our own spinning heads, out of our isolation and negativity, and into a hopeful, resourceful state of mind. Making that adjustment frequently, helps us grow stronger. We become emotionally resilient. We feel connected and bigger than our problems.
Think about this next time you reach for the remote control and try to tune out the things you can’t really avoid.
I was just contemplating that, this morning, and posted about someone telling me to “get out of the cocoon of outside activity” and seek isolation. That is the certainly the most counter-intuitive idea I have ever heard and it is good to see that you take the opposite tack. Isolation, in my view as well, only makes things worse.
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In isolation we can incubate ideas, but we also get stuck in our own echo chambers.
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