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Day at a time, Slowing down, 11/5/2020

12 May 2020

A Day at a Time – A Daily Blog of Life in Lockdown

The new lockdown rules have barely changed for the majority of us. However, just contemplating a change has many people reflecting on the life they have now and the life they were living before. Many people don’t want to go back, are enjoying a slower pace of life, the quiet and being able to hear the birds sing. Feeling the flow of life rather than rushing through it as though they could control it – back in tune with the rhythm of nature.

Watching buds form and become flowers requires patience, nature is in no hurry to perform for us and maybe we can learn something from her, about things happening perfectly in their own time.

Recently, I have found myself caught up in rushing with work deadlines and the launch of the Wigwam Website. I’ve got more into doing and spent less time being in nature and resting in stillness. I’ve noticing that writing this blog is no longer effortless. Up until recently it felt like it just flowed from me. Now I find myself thinking about what to write and I have also noticed perfectionist tendencies creeping back in – knowing that more people may now look at it. Or maybe it is that I have lost touch with the moment by moment preciousness of life and sense of my own mortality. How quickly what felt like an embodied realisation of the nature of things, the impermanence of all things (including myself), passes. But I suppose that is just it – no permanent self. The self sitting here now is not the self I was 5 or 6 weeks ago and certainly not the self of 10 years ago (before grey hairs and wrinkles) and definitely not the child self. Even within a day the self I feel myself to be changes – relaxed, irritated, focused, dozy, joyful, sleepy…

 

I am perplexed with this idea of being true to myself.

If I look within, I feel like a concierge in a hotel of 100 guests.

Catherine Mansfield

Self is really more a process – selfing – than a solid, unchanging entity. Research in neuroscience is showing that what feels like me is actually a continuous process of changes in the body and mind which work together giving us a sense of consistency and agency from the events of life. Our mental and physical processes are exactly the same as everything we perceive – sounds coming and going, sights, smells etc. Viewed like this, it is no surprise that an embodied insight that felt at the time life changing passes.

Identifying with thoughts and emotions is what causes our suffering. We get caught up in an emotional reaction about something that happened in the past or an imagined future and we tend to pay little attention to what we actually experience. We solidify thoughts and emotions – thoughts become facts and emotions become mine (my sadness). If we could see them as the flow of conditioned experience that they are, maybe we could take them more lightly. We could let go of the idea of control and let life be a flow rather than a struggle.

Hence, there is a time to go ahead and a time to stay behind.

There is a time to breathe easy and a time to breathe hard.

There is a time to be vigorous and a time to be gentle.

There is a time to gather and a time to release.

Can you see things as they are

And let them be all on their own?

Lao-tzu

Hint: When you feel yourself becoming stressed, notice the stories that are driving you, the thoughts in your mind about what you should or need to be doing. Investigate the truth of these thoughts in the light of your own well-being. Positively choose what you take on.