Sometimes all we see are blind ends.
Instead of checking the map, we are dreaming about the destination.
Instead of adjusting our route, we remain paralyzed.
Our map is spaciously dimensioned for us.
Even if the tracks seem alarmingly narrow at times, all that is narrow is our mind.
We tip-toe in dread and doubt, but we truly wander in awe and admiration.
Drop the package.
Tie your shoes.
Free your mind.
And keep walking – light-heartedly, not heavy-headedly.
It is nearly midnight. The chatterbox is rattling in my head. I’m revolving around my self-consciousness – far off from any real connection to my true self. An obscure nebula of uncertainty is surrounding me. Negative thoughts are traversing like thunderclouds. Anxiety is rolling over me like back-breaking waves. Sleep is beyond the bounds of possibility.
This is how I would describe my interior on a lonely night during my travels. I finished an intense video project at the cultural center of my friend at Camino de Santiago in Spain. I walked for a couple of days. I met incredible people. Inspiring conversations changed my view. A whole trip full of life-changing events came to an end (If I find the time I will write about it on uliquitous.com).
For the last days of this journey I booked an airbnb flat for myself – next to the spectacular shore of Peniche at the coast of Portugal. I decided to let all my amazing experience sink before I’m making my next move to Lisboa from where I would flew back to Germany. These previous weeks had been full of social interaction. All of a sudden I was alone in my head again – without any mission or entertainment. I felt a mix of contentment and gratitude, because of all the blissful events of the past six weeks, but that one night this feeling yield a cold emptiness.
When the emptimess became unbearable, I remembered something I already proclaimed multiple times: “I’m not my thoughts”. Something inside of me rejuvenated. Controlled by an external force I lit a candle and sat down in front of it on the carpet. Automatically I settled into a lotus position and took one deep breath. Motionless I took one breath after another until I could feel the tension releasing.
Heavy boulders are tumbling down my body. Suddenly there is an imaginary force errecting my spine. An invisible connection is linking me between the ground and the sky. And there it was: This gap between me and my thoughts. For the very first time I could literally see my thoughts vanishing in front of me. The flame of the candle burnt them.
When the time was right I came back to reality. I felt refreshed and relieved. I was looking forward for a good nights sleep. All I could say was “Thank you.” I checked the time. 45 minutes had passed. I didn’t set any alarm.
This whole experience changed my perspective on meditation completely. In the past I thought there is something to “learn”, something to “do”. But it’s the opposite. During the past year my thoughts became a barrier for me, but during this night this barrier incurred a massive crack. And there it was: The drain for my thoughts! The off button for my chatterbox.
What do I do with it? Nothing. I will just sit and wait and I use every free minute to catch a glimpse of this crack in the wall.
“One day, suddenly, you will find a window opens, and a fresh breeze with new rays has filled your heart. Again, don’t commit the same mistake! Be thankful for what is happening, but don’t ask for more – more will be coming. Don’t ask, “Come again!” – your asking will become the barrier.”
Osho, “Learning to silence the mind – Wellness through meditation”
Every channel on receive. <3 life
Finding your core is like peeling an onion – you peel off one layer after another. In terms of an onion you peel off the skin of the onion. In terms of your personality you peel off your fears, your psychological conditioning until you reach your core – your real you.
“There is nothing to achieve, there is only something to reveal”
….This sentence has been sticking around in my head for a couple of weeks.
It got quiet on growthbuddy. The last weeks I decelerated. But this time it was not a micro habit challenge. No, something within me told me to focus on myself. To sit down and rest. To cancel social commitments. To stop overthinking. It felt like somebody pushed the mute button to silence the voices in my head – a psychological hibernation.
Like nature is renewing also I’m experiencing some kind of “renewal” now. It took a while to put this in words, because I felt like there is a bit more to “reveal”. There is something bubbling underneath the surface. This “something” is slowly changing it’s aggregate state. This article is the result, but it can only be a snapshot of a process. What guided me within the first quarter of the year 2018 was not this “days of clarity” kind of light – it was something way more fundamental. There are a few things I finally understood or rather experienced:
1. “I am enough” instead of “I have to become better”
The last years I thought I have to learn more, gain more theoretical knowledge, excercise more, be more disciplined. I pressured myself with self-optimization, but there is something very important I forgot on the way: I do enough. I learn enough. I work enough. I read enough. I train enough. I am enough.
2. My “tools” are already there
Two years ago a couchsurfing host told me “You need to develop your tools in life.” At this point I had no clue what he is talking about. Okay, I had a rough idea. I knew that I was controlled by the “wrong” forces. I felt this numb desperation deep within, but I couldn’t quite locate it. I suspected there is “more” to life, but I thought I have to work harder in order to find out what it is. Now I finally understood: These weapons are already there. I don’t have to earn them. Nobody will hand me my tools (including myself). Instead I am armed from early on. The universe had prepared me for my existence. My weapons are just bounded by a fence of fear and self-doubt.
3. The art of letting go
I’m repeating myself, but “letting go” is the most important thing in pursuit of overcoming these fears and doubts. The fence resolves itself as soon as I let go. As soon as I give away control true energy is released. What do I mean by that? “Giving away control” means stop planning, stop over-analyzing, stop controlling every situation in life. Finally I understood that I don’t have control. I’m wasting my energy trying to control the forces of life. Controlling finally yields acceptance of what is.
4. Judging is poisoning
Lowering the high demands on myself to a human level – this is something I’m practicing over and over again. I can’t let go, if I don’t stop judging myself. As soon as I stop punishing me for my shortcomings my real power evolves. I knew it all of my life, but finally I understand that I built the walls of self-doubt through self-judgement.
5. “Just keep walking” (my own pace)
As soon as I let go and do one step at a time I gain self-compassion and self-esteem. The tools I was talking about are revealing through my own experiences – through every encounter, every challenge I face, every conversation and every moment I spend alone in the forest or in my room. I don’t have to learn how to use them, because they are inherited in my natural design. My experience leads to self-discovery as long as I move forward accordingly to my own pace.
6. The challenge is to do the first step
The key to peel this onion of self-discovery is to do the first step into the dark corners of my personality. To find out how to peel it I needed these dark hours of self-doubt and despair in order to find the right techniques. The first step demanded a leap into the unknown, but then the unknown became my companion. Everything I reveal doesn’t belong to the matter of the unknown anymore and I finally become friends with my demons.
But patience is crucial for this process. It takes an undefinable time span of continous effort. This wall of fear is a very sturdy wall. Self-doubts are very stubborn contemporaries. No yoga retreat and no “self-awareness” workshop can teach us how to destruct these walls. It takes time.
These thoughts were already thought…
…but now they are manifesting. Don’t get me wrong – I wont stop reading books. I won’t stop seeking and learning, because all this (re)search, all this input brought me here.
The sun already gave a foretaste of what is about to come. But winter is not over yet. Slowly my heart is melting again and I’m coming back to life. I’m stretching my limbs, but I’m not about to run a marathon. It’s a lifelong process.
“ People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. ”
— Marcus Aurelius
You are allowed to struggle.
You are allowed to scream.
You are allowed to cry.
But you are never allowed to give up.
Alrighty, the second week of my challenge is coming to an end. Honestly, sugarcoating is not my style and not the purpose of this blog. I just have to be honest with you – even if it hurts. Well, what had changed? Not much compared to last week. The meditation challenge faded into mediocrity, but at least I started to collect tomatos. But I won’t pull myself down into the pool of self-pity, instead I’m pointing out my learning – which are reasonably powerful. 😉
What had changed?
- I refined my individualized pomodoro method: Basically I started to use the traditional pomodore concept in order to tally every task of my day. Every day I collected between three and twelve tomatos. These 25 minute-slots helped me to stay focussed. The timebox proved to be one of my favourite tools of effectiveness since I heard the word “agile” for the very first time. 😉 But the good old pomodoro technique is even better: The concept includes my hobby “procrastination” – a five minute creative break is scheduled after every high-concentrated working-slot. Finally time management became fun for me. Sometimes I extended the slots and sometimes I shortened it a bit, but there was no excuse not to finish a slot without interruption.
- Again I screwed the meditation challege. This time I meditated only three times before I went to bed (if you include dancing as meditation than five times 😉 BUT: I made “meditation” my energy boost during the day! How? When I reached the afternoon low or a peak of my “priority-confusion” (Wwaahh, I don’t know where to start!! The panic monster is beckoning over…) I decided to get off my desk and go for a walk to the roof top terrace of the office building next door. I climbed the stairs and set the alarm for a ten-minute-open-air-meditation (The weather did it’s bit last week, because it was unusually warm and sunny).
- As I mentioned last week I wanted to set a weekly goal: My aim – finishing some backend tasks (e.g. photo editing, SEO measures) on my blog uliquitous I accomplished successfully.
At the end of the day I’m still a chaotic person and I have to admit that this kind of stuff requires a lot of discipline of me. But as I can see small steps into the right direction I will stay motivated. Tiny “bites” of focussed work let my to-do list shrink. The next week(s) I will definitely continue with the simple but yet powerful pomodoro method. And meditation? As a support I ordered another book of Osho, which will hopefully provide some guidance on my way towards the silent mind.
This challenge didn’t look hard to me in the first place, but somehow it turned out to be demanding. To make it short: I failed – at least in the meditation challenge I couln’t cheat my weaker self. I meditated only on 4/7 nights due to a lack of motivation or tiredness. But to be fair – I mastered the second part of the challenge with flying colours: Finally I managed to find time slots to get something done. And actually this challenge even pushed me to integrate more of these 25 minute slots into my day. So finally there are a bunch of tasks I completed which I postponed since weeks or even months. I understood that I can achieve things, if I just do one step at a time.
What had changed in detail?
- My downgraded pomodoro method (25 minutes slots) actually helps me to get in the flow. I finally stoped postponing.
- I learned that it is hard to integrate routines if I don’t have any other routine. The solution: I find flexible times during my day to integrate a small meditation. For example at lunch break or during the afternoon low.
- Plus: I was more aware of my breathing during everyday activities like driving in the subway, just sitting in the sun, walking or even working. During my day I tried to go for short walk, which helped me a lot to stay energized during the day.
- Finally: I learnt that meditation is not a practice, it is actually a state of mind. Every action can be meditation.
What do I want to make differently this week?
- Still keep trying to meditate to finish my day – additionally to every type of relaxation I’m doing during my day.
- Setting goals for the next day before I go to bed.
- Setting a weekly goal I want to achieve.
- Keep growing!
The new year is already in full swing. The new years resolutions are not forgotten yet, but the activism is fading with everydays madness. Basically not much had changed: I’m trying to harmonize my work-life-balance, find the time to realize my own ideas, live up to my own beliefs and in the meantime I’m trying to stay calm.
What can I say? My brain is still tickling me with a thousand ideas and focussing on my goals gets hard sometimes. Today is Monday, the calender already shows the end of January. I decided that this month can’t pass without another challenge.
This one is another experiment. On the long run I’m hoping to find the best routine for my meditation practice.
1. I will work on my personal goals for 25 minutes every morning
Either if it is working on my blogs, writing in my journal, excercising or reading a book. Every morning I want to invest 25 minutes into my personal development. This implies a bit more discipline in the morning – getting up a bit more early and not getting caught in distress already before the day even really started. The idea is to think of what I want to do in the morning, the night before.
2. I will meditate for 10 minutes at night
Basically my only new years resolution is to chill out more, because I’m still stressing myself with my own demands. It’s getting less, but it is still there.
Everybody is talking about there morning routine. But I don’t have one – sometimes I get up at 5.30 because I have a videoshooting, but sometimes I work until seven in the morning at the bar. To be honest with you, I tried to integrate meditation into my morning routine, but it was impossible for me.
Also I found out that sometimes after a working day my brain is full of clutter. This clutter holds me back from calming down at night and I assume from a healthy sleep. So, instead of morning routine I will try to cultivate an evening routine, a really nice procedure to finish my day.
There is something that I learnt from last year: Pressuring myself doesn’t lead to anything besides slowly burning out. So I decided to change my approach a bit and practice more and more to “let go”. Hopefully I’m not overstretching this phrase in this blog. But “letting go” seems to me more important then anything else in order not to strain my nervous system more than it already is. So I go for small steps and I try to do the possible in order to reach the impossible.
I already started with this challenge this morning. And this blog post is the result of investing roughly half an hour into my personal goals. Crazy, isn’t it?
Communicate with yourself. And then you will understand everything better.
Lead weights are pulling my limbs down to the core.
Everything falls into place.
Gravity is contracting me softly.
My body is merging with the ground.
Unable to move, but truly alive I become one.
thank you for guiding me through my existence. I’m grateful for your patient mentoring and your steady navigation. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy the great pleasures of being human. I sincerely appreciate the freedom you provide me to discover my personal direction.
Every day you are giving me the opportunity to open my eyes and make the most of my day. Thank you for invigorating me with positive energy and showing me the beauty of nature. Thank you for every sunrise and every sunset and all the time in between. You remind me that everything is temporary – the darkest and the brightest moments.
I especially appreciate the chance you provide me to connect with other human beings. Thank you life for introducing me to people, who enrich my existence. People, who shine like the sun and warm my heart like a campfire on an August night.
Thank you for teaching me so much – day after day. Your are guiding me so patiently through all the windy roads. With the stones you place in my way you enhance my strength. Every challenge helps me to grow. Every obstacle is invaluable in the process of learning.
Dear Life, thank you so much for your flexibility and your endless generousity. Thank you for making me the human I am now. I’m looking forward for more great experiences with you as a teacher in 2018.
Random Human Being