Attention goes to what I spend my time on: believing my thoughts, or inquiring. I’ll take inquiry.

Spring Retreat is coming. Book a room if you like (two king size bedrooms left) and stay onsite with gorgeous spring blooming gardens, full kitchen with fridge for your groceries, laundry room, hot tub, outdoor meditation spaces and an old-fashioned claw foot bathtub with epsom salts for indoor soaking.
Everything supported in the physical world so you can do your work. 
I am so happy for another retreat.
Because. It’s as much for me as for anyone else.
Life appears to be full of tasks, doing, attention pulled to the various things: helping extensively with rental house inherited by my kids (fielding lots of questions), answering questions about eating peace process starting soon in 10 days (!), learning the technology behind membership sites, sorting out the various retreat locations for next year, daily clients, laundry, recycling, grocery shopping, post office, gym, emails, family easter thing.
So full. Busy. Packed. Jammed. Tight schedule.
Lots of doing.
And hasn’t this been a statement I would make a year ago, too?
Um, right.
How about five years ago?
Yup.
So something changed for me within the past several months: an awareness of the need to deepen my own inquiry. The Work.
I know that might sound like a surprise, since my job apparently is facilitating the work.
That’s not really my job, though. My job is inquiring when I believe something stressful, and working with the busy mind.
I had stopped doing it full length, with all the steps, writing my thoughts out, sitting in silence with the questions either before or after writing.
I knew I needed a reboot.
Especially when I had a complete tormented internal meltdown one weekend in February about responsibilities, money, expenses, connection, mistakes, tax preparation, building permits.
All these things were rotating through reality, asking for attention, and then peaking around the same 3 day holiday weekend when I go away with my husband annually.
I couldn’t decide where to go, if we should go, what to do, what I wanted to do, how to stop thinking “I need to attend to the things (see list)!”
The fundamental underlying belief was 3 days away was not “worth it” or a good use of my time, and that somehow getting things done would be better and more important than breaking away for a 2 nights.
There’s not enough time. I have to get things done. It’s not possible to relax.
The scarcity was suddenly almost so thick I could cut it with a knife. Not enough time, blending to not enough money, to not enough knowledge to not enough planning (taxes) to not enough clarity to not enough capacity to rest.
Just Not Enough. Not Enough. Not Enough. 
How do you react when you think there’s Not Enough of something?
People think this about love, attention, family, money, space, pleasure, respect, creativity, confidence, time.
Something happens, and Not Enough-ness comes to the forefront.
For me, it began that weekend to spread into all the crevasses of my life wherever I looked. Not only was there not enough time or money that weekend, but not enough time had been common in the past too. Never truly enough. So probably not enough time in the future, either.
Good lord. So stressful. The sensation was of the Titanic sinking, endings and grief and panic. So strange to have it all rise up all at once literally in a peaking three-day period.
Not enough time for WHAT?
I need to get all those things addressed, immediately. Is that true?
There isn’t enough time to do The Work, is it true?
Who would you be without that thought that there’s not enough time? (Or whatever your chosen item or quality in life that you think there isn’t enough of)?
The other day, as I sat quietly in The Work and silence (a renewed practice) I remembered something said by one of my favorite teachers who I’ve shared time in contemplation, quiet, and “retreating” from all the daily and usual tasks.
He would say, (and repeat), that inquiry and peace are NOT found only on the meditation cushion. They are NOT found only at the monastery. They are NOT found in the book, or only from the teacher, or only in a “spiritual” setting.
They are found in our daily lives. In the basic daily tasks. They are found in our trip to the store for dental floss. In our capacity to be away for 2 nights with our sweethearts (as in my case) and to appreciate the air, the room, the space we’re in without complaining.
Can I meditate and inquire here, in this regular simple life?
Because that’s my reality, that’s where it’s needed.
Here.
So I began sitting silently again every single morning for a longer period of time, and no matter what was going on.
I began carrying the questions with me on and off all day again–when I remembered– “who would I be without my Not Enough story?”
Who would I be without my belief “there isn’t enough time?”
I begin feeling my feet very solidly again, noticing my breath, hearing an inner voice chatter but aware I don’t have to believe it.
Nothing required.
No need to speed fast. No need to freak out. No need to panic or resist or “do”.
What a beautiful rest it is to retreat from the Do-Do-Do-Go-Go-Go mind.
So happy the time is coming soon to gather with others in a circle with the primary commitment we’re “doing” is that of awareness of the mind’s activity; looking, silence, wondering, answering the four questions, finding our turnarounds. Living and feeling our turnarounds.
I’ve never found anything more helpful for facing stress. Never.
I’ve been assured by others. I’ve been to the monastery. I’ve been to loud conferences to raise your confidence.
But answering four questions and knowing there actually isn’t anything other I really can do to access my own innate wisdom that would ever be more satisfying.
Turning the thought around: there is enough. There’s enough time. There’s enough love, clarity, recognition…whatever. The amount I have is what is enough. I am breathing, I am inquiring. I am alive. I am being.
Any more would be too much. Any less would be too little. This much of the quality, item, thing….is just right.
Can I find examples from that weekend where I was so sure we couldn’t leave town, that I couldn’t enjoy myself, that there were too many demands?
Yes. The ONLY THING that was a problem on that weekend away (we did go away) was my judgment, thinking, worry. The only thing that created difficult within was my mind. Physically I was completely comfortable.
The most important turnaround after my anxious experience: there’s not enough inquiring, there’s not enough clear thought about time, about money, about What Is.
In other words, the stories got blown a bit out of proportion. LOL.
So today, in my calendar is space for “inquiry” and “meditation” and on my calendar is time for 4 day spring retreat space for “inquiry” and “meditation” with a group of other people intending the same, and then a June retreat at Breitenbush with Tom Compton also for the very same….and every day in between responding to reality in this place always with the questions….as best I can.
“There might have been anger, frustration, terror, prayers (the kind that attempt to manipulate what cannot be manipulated). These are a few of the ways we react when we believe what we think. It’s what the war with reality often looks like, and it’s not only insane, it’s hopeless, and very painful. But when you question your mind, thoughts flow in and out and don’t cause any stress, because you don’t believe them. And you instantly realize that the opposites could be just as true. Reality shows you, in that peace of mind, that there are no problems, only solutions. You know to your very depths that whatever happens is what should be happening.” ~ Byron Katie
I want to sit in who I am without my story. That’s what I want to put my attention to. That is what connects me to the greatest love, home, God, kindness, compassion, trust, Reality.
There is enough time for that.
Especially when I mark it in my calendar.
Much love,
Grace

2 Replies to “Attention goes to what I spend my time on: believing my thoughts, or inquiring. I’ll take inquiry.”

  1. Hi Nancy, I find honestly to have any labels anymore feels sort of strange. I have deep abiding appreciation for my upbringing going to the episcopal church every Sunday and consider that to be in my bones at the human level…And, there is a space beyond any specifically defined ideas or descriptions in of the world that is wonderful and mysterious. “I am” becomes all there is, nothing more following that statement. :) Much love, Grace

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