I don’t know why and it strikes me as pretty strange….
….but my usual first knee-jerk reaction (like when the doctor hits your knee to see if you have a spontaneous reflex) to the idea of sitting quietly by myself, all alone, is….
Kick back and enjoy my own company?
Say nothing, hear nothing, have no conversations with others?
Hold still? Simply relax? Stare out the window?
Isn’t that kind of boring?
…..isn’t it maddening?
When I first sat still in a meditation retreat, I thought I’d strangle something.
Visions went through my head of standing on my meditation chair and yelling.
“What’s going on here, people?!!! Why are you here?!!”
Then I wanted to leave.
Then I raised my hand to be called on, to go to the microphone and SPEAK.
Part of my motive in raising my hand was to converse, liven things up, and see if there was a way to manage my apparent nervousness about silence and being on my own.
I couldn’t sleep well, I felt like pacing.
Now, when I look back on that experience many years ago, I crack up.
There’s a Monty Python skit (an English comedy troupe who had a British TV show, followed by several movies, in the 1970s) where someone is punished for bad behavior.
They have to sit in the Comfy Chair.
“No! Not the Comfy Chair!!!” (click to see the skit).
For me, it was the same.
I didn’t know that the silence, quiet, simpleness and beauty of resting would be the most incredible experience eventually, and all I was ever really looking for.
Comfort with my own mind, body, perceptions, life.
I wanted comfort, and thought I didn’t have it.
Because my mind raced so wildly, with so many stressful thoughts, that it wasn’t all that fun to sit still.
I’d start thinking.
I’d think dreadful, horrifying, sad, or destructive thoughts. I only needed a few minutes to get going on something that produced stress in my body, or a broken heart.
And I couldn’t stop it!
The best way I found to slow down the mind, relax, and discover balance and the beauty of silence and my own company….
….was to give my mind a project.
Investigating the Truth.
Now THAT, dear friends, was a worthy and awe-inspiring project. My mind LOVED projects.
It LOVED problems. Because it wants to SOLVE problems.
….if I had needed to do this all alone in a vacuum, guess what likely would have happened?
We don’t know for sure.
But I might have taken myself out. Bullet to the head.
I am very stubborn though (it comes in handy sometimes), and an equal part of me was determined to find peace without destruction.
So while this sounds quite dramatic, it wasn’t true.
I’m still here.
Other People kept showing me a kinder reality. They did things like offer meditation retreats, write books, share themselves and their stories of freedom. They gave me hugs, and gave me criticism.
I learned so much from other people. I learned I was definitely in NO WAY doing this life on my own.
(It sounds funny to me now, because I perceive now that there is absolutely nothing that I do on my own. Ever.)
What I continue to find to this very day….
….is that connecting with others….
….whether one other human being, or ten others, or an entire stadium full of humans….
….multiplies my enlightenment exponentially.
Like the beautiful biblical saying “where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I with them….”
Where me and others are gathered with the intention to understand, come to rest, uncover truth and love, Reality is there with us. Love is there with us. Awareness is there with us.
So for me, yesterday morning was a most beautiful energy as almost 20 people gathered together on the phone (some people used skype) to be there, planting themselves into the still space of inquiry.
I love who shows up and the energy of each and every person, even if they choose to listen only and follow along.
We investigated two very stressful beliefs: a) they should clean up, and b) someone might break in.
How marvelous to take a deep look at these two experiences in life.
I could find instantly how I have had the thought that someone should clean up their mess, whether their internal mess or their actual physical mess.
Guess who should really clean up the mess?
And then the fabulous and worrisome common belief that someone might break into my home, steal or vandalize things, and I would feel loss.
Who would I be without THIS stressful thought?
So much freer. I might even find advantages to having things stolen, taken away, ripped off….
….and let go of the attachment and grabbiness of believing I won’t be able to replace it, I won’t be safe, or that my happiness depends on keeping my stuff.
Thank you to everyone who came to do The Work with me yesterday.
If you’re ready to continue, to plug away at thoughts one by one, practicing every day or every week (with a few Saturday breaks) for five whole weeks….
….you are welcome to join us.
I call it Summer Camp for The Mind because your mind gets to go to camp, and play in this “project” called believing-in-suffering, and practicing-how-to-un-do it.
You can really join any time. Check the schedule and see if it works for you to come on board at the appointed time(s) and allow yourself to sit in inquiry.
You can speak up, or follow along quietly with the group.
No calls are recorded, so you can freely listen, freely share, and whatever’s on the call stays on the call.
Here are the exact times for every day of the week for Summer Camp, and you can read more about how teleconferences work and what it’s like right HERE.
Oh, and it’s sliding scale registration.
I’ll be with you every step of the way, and anyone who has questions, gets confused, is nervous, or wants extra help….
….I am here to serve to dissolve stressful thinking, and bring forward a sweet, happy, kind and joyful life.
Thank you for joining me to do it. You are not alone.
At least this is the story that keeps on showing up in my life, and I like this story….
….so I’ll keep it.
“Nothing terrible has ever happened except in our thinking. Reality is always good, even in situations that seem like nightmares. The story we tell is the only nightmare that we have lived. When I say that he worst that can happen is a belief, I am being literal. The worst that can happen to you is your uninvestigated belief system.”~Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 228