RAWsome Mind: The Lost Blog
The following is from June 16th, 2016. It was lost in the cyberspace of my computer waiting patiently for a day to be shared... Today is that day.
I have sat down to face the small black keys of my computer more than two dozen times since I have returned from India. It always began the same way… sit down, stare into the blinding whiteness of the blank document page, type a general idea lacking inspiration and focus, delete… delete… delete… judgment… judgment… judgment.
It was official: I had returned from the most riveting adventure of my life, back to the normalcy of Southern California’s hectic pace. I had landed a job that I had been working towards for over 18 months and immediately immersed myself into the new lifestyle that I had once craved with such hunger. I was overworking myself, while desperately attempting to keep my grasp on everything I had learned in Rishikesh. Feeling more grounded than before, I walked with a new confidence and sense of calm that cleverly masked my utter confusion about what I could now see around me with such pristine clarity where there was once such haze. I don’t like this. Why is everyone so obsessed with the physical form? Did I make a mistake?
I walked around, familiar faces stopping me every so often to ask me question after question about what I saw and did so far from the comforts of home. The little glimmers of remembrance and storytelling brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with joy, and for a brief moment I was back. Back at the cool waters edge of the Ganga River, back to the thick jungle heat, back to the pungent smells of coconut and chai; and all of a sudden I blinked and it was gone.
I felt like Peter Pan forgetting his mother. Mother Ganga was starting to fade, replaced by images of 405-freeway traffic, deadlines, financial goals, and the stressors of submerging myself into a new career. My stress levels were rising, the familiar sensations of panic starting to return, and my perspective of the universal spectrum was shrinking smaller and smaller with each passing day in The Bubble of Orange County. How is this possible? I swore this time it would be different! I learned so much, I can’t let it go!
I kept my fears to myself…I had new employees to get to know, new bosses to stand out to, and new tasks (which were incredibly challenging at first) to master. Crap! I made a mistake! I can’t do this. The self-deprecating condemnatory thoughts flashed through my mind and tears started to stream down my cheeks on my 3rd week sitting behind my computer in my poorly lit office.
I was becoming exactly what I had rebelled against with such fierceness. Trading my grandiose dreams and ideas for a paycheck and paid vacation days.
Guru Ji had warned all of us about this. He said that the magic of India only lasts so long, and that to continue on the path we must recognize that we will be faced with new challenges and one day must return again. It’s like filling a teapot. You simply cannot share tea from an empty pot, which is why I must return to Mother India one day (soon)…to fill myself once again so I can better share with others. But I know the solution isn’t merely flying half way around the world to escape the treachery of my surroundings. Peace is found within…right? This is what we are taught: peace is our natural state.
If this is true, which I hope to my very core it is, then I should be able to muster the sensations I had in the jungle, right here in my living room. But HOW?!
It is up to me to find my peace of mind, this much I know, but the HOW seems to be cleverly hidden in plain sight. I light a stick of incense, the sweet smoke filling my nostrils. I heat a small pot of chai on my stove, and sit in silence. No computer. No phone. No TV. Just me, myself and I, alone with my thoughts.
My mind is drifting back to work. STOP! No work right now… just breathe, Dani. Daydream. I begin to ask myself questions about life and the universe: Does Relaxation bring creativity, or does creativity bring relaxation? Should I move the cycle class from Wednesdays afternoon to evening… STOP! TRY AGAIN. Just like that my mind drifts back to schedules, budgets, and details of my job. Inhale peace, exhale chaos. I should reach out to my instructor on maternity leave. SHIT! Stop…try again, Dani.
I change tactics and repeat silently to myself a meditation that for nearly a year has brought me almost instant relief:
I am in the temple of quietness.
Peace fills my body, peace fills my mind, and dwells within my love.
Peace within, without, everywhere.
Infinite peace fills my heart and permeates all the moments of my existence.
Peace unto myself.
Peace unto my family.
Peace unto my home.
Peace unto my nation.
Peace unto my world.
Peace unto my cosmos.
I inhale the thick smoke filling my living room and exhale completely, beginning again. I go through this cycle at least six more times until my flesh relaxes and my eyelids feel the familiar sensation of heaviness and serenity. My forehead relaxes, and my shoulders drift downward away from my ears. Peace is found within. I am calm.
We live in a world that is continuously telling us that we are not enough. We need more money, faster cars, smaller jeans, and whiter teeth. We need the most recent version of technology, and to constantly seek advancements in our career. It’s about time someone stood up and said: THIS IS NOT TRUE. This type of thinking, that is waiting impatiently for us all to buy in, promotes nothing but ill content with everything about who and what we are/have.
It tells us that if we don’t succeed on the first attempt, we have failed. It tells us that we will never be “enough” for ourselves, or the world around us. But what we have all forgotten, what I forgot in my immersion back into Western Civilization, is that we ARE the world. WE ARE THE UNIVERSE. And our natural state is peaceful abundance.
I had forgotten that “to try again” is to succeed in and of itself. I had forgotten that peace truly is found within and that we must dive deeply inward to discover this radiant jewel of serenity.
We as humans are only capable of dedicating our thoughts to one thing at a time, and it is up to us, it is up to me, to choose the direction of my thoughts.
To say that I sought after a job for a paycheck would be lying to myself and to everyone else. The truth is that this experience has given me more than dollars and vacation days. It has given me new skills, new confidence, new connections with people, and a greater perspective of what my students go through on a daily basis when they sit behind their desks unable to detach from their emails and the demands of a 9 to 5 workspace.
Its time to stop kidding myself, and shift perspective from sour to sweet. To recognize that we are all so much more than this moment in time.
I recently watched a documentary where a chef had the most beautiful description about life and our place in the grand spectrum of the universe. He said, from what I can recall offhand, that living is not the end-all-be-all of who we are. Think of the cycle of a plant. It goes from a seed growing in darkness, to a sprouting stalk, to a beautiful flower. The flower is the loveliest part of this cycle. The bloom is our time living. But eventually the flower collapses and degrades, transforming itself into a fruit. The fruit falls or is consumed and the seed returns back to the ground, all the while the original plant continues to grow and begin again.
You see… we are all a part of so much more. It’s easy to forget these things. It’s easy to loose connection with our yoga practice, with healthy eating, with meditation. But today is a lovely day to try again.