Angus and I are hopefully heading back to LA as this blog post is being sent out. I am so used to writing my posts right before they get sent it feels strange to write something that won’t be published until two weeks from now.
One of the things that I noticed this week, is I can get a bit antsy before leaving on a trip. I usually deal with this by leaving packing to the last minute. This works for me because then I don’t spend that much time thinking about it so there is less time to worry. This trip, however, needed more thoughtful planning. Items needed to be purchased. I am gone for longer than usual and still committed to only taking carry-on luggage. And, being away and off wifi means that I have to make sure that all time-sensitive work is done ahead of time and ready to go.
I notice feeling some tension and stress. At times I want to be further along in the process than I am. My perfectionistic ways kick in. I want everything to be right. I want all the tasks to be completed and everything packed just so. There is no room for forgetting one thing.
As I recognize that my level of enjoyment is going down and my need to feel in control is going up, I am able to take a step back and get reflective. I see how my desire to be in control is very visible in this situation, but this circumstance is only highlighting a more generic and subtle way of being where I identify with things needing to be a certain way in order for me to be okay.
I see how real it looks to me that my okayness is dependent on circumstances. I recognize that this stretches far beyond going on vacation to all areas of my life. There are just times when I forget that my okayness is not dependent on anything outside of me. Whenever I forget this, I experience some level of pressure because I either need to make things better or maintain what is to avoid the undesirable consequences or circumstances that I perceive will take away my wellbeing.
I never realized, previously, how helpful it is to simply see that my anxiety is simply me being gripped by thoughts that tell me my wellbeing is at stake. I am just identifying with my okayness being rooted in circumstances. Seeing this helps me to remember that my wellbeing is not attached to the material world. There are plenty of ways that I can experience discomfort in the mental, emotional, or physical realm, but that has nothing to do with wellbeing.
On a recent free webinar for the Soul-Centered Series, Judith Sedgeman used the metaphor for peace of mind as the current beneath the surface of the ocean. No matter what the waves are doing on the top of the ocean, the current is always there at a deeper level. This is the relationship between our True Nature and our psychological experience. No matter what we experience on the psychological level there is always the loving essence of our True Nature below the surface. If we look within ourselves peace of mind, love, compassion, and empathy are always there. They are not emotions that come and go. They are who we are.
There is a sweet surrender and freedom is remembering who I am. I no longer have to worry about the storms going on in my mind. I don’t have to improve myself. I can simply recognize how insignificant my ever-changing personal drama is in comparison to what is beyond that — the mystery.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t do my best to be organized and to get things ready for our trip, but the pressure to get it right subsides when I see it for the coping mechanism that it is. When I remember where to look for my wellbeing there are no stakes placed on my doing. I’m not listening to my worry and trying to assuage it with perfection. Instead, there is just common sense and doing when necessary.
Remembering there is a choice of what I am going to identify with is key. Am I going to remember that my True Nature is my formless essence unchanging and impossible to damage? Or am I going to identify with my fragile human form that is constantly at risk of peril? I am one packing mistake away from ruin when it comes to the world of form.
Previously, I didn’t appreciate the practicality of identifying with my True Nature as much. It was something to get to when everything else was straight. Now I see that nothing is ever going to be straight, or if it is, it won’t stay straight for any length of time. So why identify my safety and security with that? It is exhausting. There is so much more relief and comfort in recognizing that who I am is the gap between my ideas about myself and life. The gap is far more comforting than the ideas themselves.
Looking between my thoughts has actually resulted in me sleeping better before going on this trip. I see there is my experience and there is the space between my experience. I used to ignore the nothing and only noticed the something. Now, the nothing has more appeal. Rather than it feeling empty, I recognize it is the window into the feeling of my formless nature. That is what I had been looking for all along.
I encourage you to look within to who you are beyond the ups and downs of your psychology. It is a seeing rather than a doing, a recognition rather than a search. Before you try to fix anything about yourself or optimize yourself or your life in any way, look in the direction of who you are first. Experience the current of love that is your True Nature and see what makes sense after that. Love is not only the answer; it is also the question and everything else in between. Not personal romantic love, but the impersonal love that is the essence of who we all are.