Over the last year I’ve embarked on a journey of mindfulness. With mindfulness comes self-awareness and as I sit here this evening, I’m conscious of a body that is not quite in tune with itself. It’s blocked up; fuzzy with a general malaise and tension that has crept up on me over the past few hours. I try to remind myself that this is only a moment in time. Everything passes.
Earlier in the day, I remember driving to meet an old friend with a mixture of anticipation and enthusiasm. I could feel the effect this had on my body. My stomach and chest were tight with excitement and a kind of ‘fizzy tension’ took over. I remember thinking this too is a passing moment in time; just like the many moments where discomfort, be it physical or emotional, has presided over me.
And now I am here again. With a head full of cotton wool and the obstinate whir of tinnitus; dizziness prevailing. My stomach has reached such impressive levels of distension that I would be fit for the role of an Alice in Wonderland Tweedle brother (dee or dum, I won’t discriminate). And of course, the guilt is now creeping in – I had two Nakd bars and a bowl of granola for lunch (yes, it’s a wild life I lead). Sure enough, I’m rapidly falling foul of my inner judge and it’s nothing but a downward spiral from here.
But does it have to be this way?
When you feel yourself slipping into that destructive pattern of mental battering; it’s arguably your biggest advantage. It’s the point that offers you the most promise for spiritual awakening, enlightenment… Whatever you want to call it, you can push the hippy talk aside if you wish but it’s ultimately an offering to break through the mind-body attachment and gain a greater sense of peace and contentment.
It only took one moment in this haze of self-loathing to bring on my own epiphany; to hit me in the core of my being, as my online meditation guru guided me through the motions:
“Don’t see it as a hostile invader or something that needs to be fixed, see it as part of your wholeness, like there’s day and night, rain and sunshine.”
Boom! I suddenly realised, I felt, the truth of the matter. This mind-made concept of duality – of two opposing forces that were playing tug of war in my mind – transcended all the mental chatter and attachment. It unlocked in me the most immense sense of wholeness and liberation. It made me realise that it is okay to feel. This is what it’s all about; being human.
It’s about synergy. As easy as it can be to try and run from a negative feeling; it is just as easy to grasp onto the joyous experiences when they arise. If we focus on one part of our self more than the other, or attempt to block one feeling out simply because we don’t like it we lose our wholeness and with that, the privilege to experience the fullness of life in its many forms.
”The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” ~Jim Rohn
By latching on to this sense of duality, we hide from ourselves – from who we really are. Our wholeness is greater than the sum of all our parts and it is only right that we pay respect to that. Do not deny any aspect of yourself – embrace it and welcome it like an old friend.
Opening up to any experience
So now I sit back and watch my body. I watch my body along with all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that come with it. Thoughts, feelings and emotions that become part of an almost separate entity; one that has attached itself to my being; that I am happy to sit with.
The words of Rumi have never resonated more deeply; be it joy, happiness, or sadness; an ache, a tingle, a pain – whatever it may be, I will welcome it into my home. I reach out and say, “It’s okay, you’re already here. You can sit here with me for as long as you want because I’m not going anywhere.”
I’m no longer the victim. And I’m no longer the perpetrator. In fact I’m the carer, the nurturer.
So there it is. This deeper understanding of oneness, of unity, brings a realisation that you are privileged. Every feeling that runs through your body means you are alive and whole. You no longer discriminate between good and bad. You sit there and watch in a state of wonder at what the body can do, what it is telling you and what it may share with you next.
So me and my old friend…we sit there together and I smile because I know that everything is as it should be. It reminds me that I am alive. And that I am whole.