Collage in Japanese paper by Fernando González Viñas.
I always keep thinking about this idea that goes round & round through my mind: why, even when we know that something is harmful to us, we keep doing it. Even if it hurts, even if it makes us feel bad. We all have our personal trap: smoking, drinking, watching crap tv programs, spend time with people who are bad for us, falling into chains of negative thinking, criticising, eating with no measure, self-medicating…
There is no doubt that, at some point, those habits had a good reason to be. However, when they start becoming an issue, transforming into something that causes us harm, then it is time to up anchor & to let go.
It is either that or giving in to suffering. Sometimes it seems that we enjoy suffering because these ways of functioning hit us in the face but we still keep drinking, smoking, eating, punishing ourselves with complaints, stopping ourselves from being better. Why do we seem to love what damages us, moving away from what brings us good?
Why is it so difficult to avoid alcohol, give up smoking, substitute pre-cooked food by fresh ingredients, go to bed early instead of stay awake until late watching some silly programs, exercising or reading a book.
Maybe we do it because we don’t love ourselves enough, because we don’t like us. So we put our welfare second. Maybe we do it because our level of awareness is so low or so absent that we don’t know what hurts us or what makes us good. Maybe we are so ignorant that we feel invincible, thinking that we can control it, that it is not important, that all is fine.
Reality shows us that once we enter the spiral, it becomes very difficult to come out of it; our mind searches a million of clever excuses to maintain us under this mode so changing direction means a huge effort and also a very strong determination.
I read somewhere that our mind is a perfect servant but it is also a terrible master. We give it power under everything we are and then we moan because it is failing with the management.
So this monkey mind of ours keeps jumping from complaint to complaint, from drama to drama, from negative thought to limiting thought, giving us no break, no time or space to be quiet & still. So we fall exhausted again, back into the spiral.
We need a solution and this solution is in our reach. It just requires will. What is it?
Breathe in deeply, filling our lungs of life, letting that life settle all over our body. Breathe out slowly & deeply too, letting go of what is not useful to us anymore, all in silence. Inhaling energy, spirit, motivation. Exhaling burdens, limitations, fears that stop us from moving forward or that keep us paralysed.
To breathe is to meditate & meditating is breathing, in silence, alone. Whether it is in the comfort of our home, in the middle of the park, in the underground, at the mountain or facing the sea. Just breathing to find again our deepest self, our essential being, the one who lives, longing to come out while we keep trying to keep him quiet so he does not make any noise.
I am not saying that it is easy. I just say that it is possible. And also that we all know how to do it.
"When I pause to contemplate my circumstance,
and look back on the road I have traversed,
I am astonished that so lost a man
the error of his ways could recognize.
When I look back upon the years I've spent
forgetful then of all reason divine,
I see that it has been by heaven's grace
that into evil's pit I did not slide.
I entered through so strange a labyrinth,
trusting that the weak thread of my life
would let me see, though late, my own confusion;
but by Your light my darkness overcome,
the monster slain of my blind self-deceit,
lost reason comes home for its apt conclusion."
(Sonnet I, Sacred poems, Lope de Vega)