My life is a relatively busy one. I use the word relative because I know of people whose lives are far busier than mine – either because they want that busy-ness or because they need to be doing everything they do just to live. Usually, the busy I deal with is a mix – stuff related to school or work, or both, and things I want to do. I’m fortunate enough that, for the most part, regardless of what’s on my To-Do list, I have a lot of say in what I choose to do. That’s an excellent thing to have in life, but one I forget about too often.
I’ve written here before that 2014 was THE year from hell. In discussions of various types with various people I’ve revealed just how dark 2014 was and the reasons for why it isn’t allowed to repeat itself are just as dark. But a part of why 2014 was so miserable is that I felt like I had too much on my plate that had to be dealt with. School felt very demanding. Work was, indeed, the most demanding I’ve ever known and very stressful. My birth mother’s body died (BTW, today is the 55th anniversary of when that human body was birthed). I bought a house and all the wonder that comes with that kind of thing. Then also other usual stuff almost everyone else faces like trying to see family and friends as much as is wanted or needed, trying not to be a burden on others’ lives, stress from the holiday season, … y’know, the usual.
Throughout all of that, I’m sad to report, my meditation practice waned a bit. To be clear: I never stopped meditating. Sahaj Marg is an important force in my life. But I don’t recall having any sittings in 2014. I rarely went to satsanghs either. I read a lot of our masters’ books (mostly Chariji’s, since he has been the most prolific writer out of the last 3 masters) and I did keep up with my practice at home. But I still felt out of touch. When the rest of your world seems to be spinning out of control, a meditation practice that is meant for “human integration” can be vital.
We’re now wrapping up the sixth month of 2015, and it’s been entirely different. I’ll spare you all the details of exactly how life is different, but it is. It’s different enough that I’m nowhere near the dark place I was this time a year ago.
But still, there are days when I feel overwhelmed by the householder (grhasta) dharma. It’s Sunday morning as I’m writing this and I’ve slept in later than usual, although I didn’t have a late Saturday night. I’ve been physically awake for an hour right now and all I’ve done is hit the bathroom, open all the blinds in my house to let in gorgeous sunlight (something rare lately in Indiana with all our rain!), let the dogs out, made some coffee for myself, and nest here in front of the laptop in my loft to write these words in English.
In the back of my head (and in the front of it) know the various “wants” and “needs” I should address today include: meditation / puja, mowing my yards (before more rain and house guests arrive!) and trimming, laundry, school work, yoga / jogging, going to my in-laws to pick up things needed for later this week, some minor gardening, and probably sixty other things that will creep in as the day passes.
The list of things to do isn’t very big right? Seems like it should be easily managed through the course of the day. But even a list like the one above hits me and is somewhat debilitating. I find myself mentally listing what should be accomplished today and with each new item thought of I’m a little more paralyzed. There’s a need within myself to ferret out the most productive way to do everything. The idea of inefficiency is stressful. Entire days have gone “wasted” because my To-Do list felt too immense to productively manage – so I did nothing! NOTHING. Well, not absolutely nothing: I’d find the effort within me somewhere to feed myself a few times, to maybe put some porn in front of my eyeballs, and to maybe also do a small amount of laundry (probably only because I could nap or otherwise be unproductive while the loads were going through their cycles). By virtually every standard, the day would go wasted – all because I started off wanting not to waste the day.
Another friend or two has expressed feeling similarly. It’s madness. Dysfunctional, right? Why are people immobilized by thoughts of doing things? I’m guessing the cause of this debilitation is multi-layered. Components include things like depression, feelings of being overwhelmed, inability to properly prioritize… those kinds of things seem like good culprits.
In a strong effort to make sure 2014 doesn’t repeat itself, I’ve really tried to approach a lot of life differently for 2015. A month or two ago, the local abhyasi community was studying the concept of cheerful acceptance. I missed some of the group study where this was covered, but I’ve done my best to read up about it on my own. That concept, as well as a few others in Sahaj Marg (many having to do with our 10 Maxims – I am about to start writing a series on each Maxim, actually), are part of the difference 2015 holds.
I still have a horrifying, terrible, paralyzing To-Do list for today. And as of the typing of these words, I still don’t know how any of those things will be accomplished or even how today will go. But I’m able to recognize and accept that regardless of how many things are on the list for today – or the nature of those things (how big they seem) – the day will be far bigger than the list as a whole.
I might get all of the list completed. I might complete less than half of it. That doesn’t really matter. What currently seems to matter more is feeling life in my days. People talk about “living life to the fullest,” but I’ve found that people who use that phrase often don’t seem to know what it means. It rarely means you have to go sky diving or eating fried scorpions in a Chinese street market – although those things can qualify. You could be repotting a philodendron in your back yard and live life to the fullest while you do that.
Half way through 2015 I’m able to say that the aforementioned paralysis isn’t as total as it has been in the past. Coming up to the loft this morning with my coffee in-hand and the To-Do list swirling around in the space between my ears I still felt a moment of anxiety: SHIT there’s so much to do. But it passed almost entirely, and quickly, too.
As I wrap up this post, that debilitating fear continues to leave me. I’m thankful that my personal evolution, my integration (my heartfulness practice), has afforded me a greater capacity to live more fully now instead of the way I lived before. The likely result is that I’m about to go live the shit outta mowing my yard. Then I’m going to live the shit outta doing some laundry while I finish up some gardening (living the shit outta that, too). With any luck, I’ll finish those tasks before yoga starts in the early afternoon. And if not, then I’ll live the shit outta life while doing some other things.
Have a good Sunday, reader, wherever you are. And whatever you’re doing in life today, do the shit out of it.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti