Sunday, June 26, 2016

Way Up High

“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.”—Diane Robison

The daring young man on the flying trapeze climbs to great heights, but the show doesn’t start until he lets go.

Letting go has been one of my biggest challenges.

I hold on to negative thoughts, old resentments, ancient anger and all sorts of emotional chazerai that makes me miserable.

I’ve been meditating regularly for the last two years after taking a mindfulness course at the Interdependence Project and I’m very slowly learning the joys and benefits of staying in the present moment.

It hasn’t been easy for me to sit quietly for 20 whole minutes and listen to nothing but my breath. Some days are better than others, but I believe I’m getting better and now my morning meditation is one of my favorite times of the day.

But now I’m taking a closer look at what goes on in my head after the meditation ends, thanks largely to a recent New York Times article entitle “Think Less, Think Better” that described how freeing the mind allows for more creative thinking.

It sounds painfully obvious, but so many of us overload our brains—yours truly especially--and then wonder why we’re not getting things done.

Moshe Bar, the author of the article, said a series of experiments “suggest that the mind’s natural tendency is to explore and to favor novelty, but when occupied it looks for the most familiar and inevitably least interesting solution.”

In the Center Ring

I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t just stop certain thoughts from happening. Resistance just makes things worse.

But lately, when negative thoughts come to mind, I tell myself “let go.”

Notice I don’t say “let it go” because I’m not trying to get rid of one thought. I’m attempting to eliminate entire thought patterns.

There will always be an ugly memory or a misbegotten belief lurking somewhere in my subconscious, so popping them off one at a time is a waste of energy.

I’m looking to dismantle the clanking, rusting machinery in my head that thrives on fear, worry, and rage. I want to get to the source of all these twisted impulses.

And that’s why the acrobat imagery is so important because when my darker side emerges and I tell myself “let go,” the image of a two hands letting go of a trapeze often pops into my head. But I don’t fall to my doom; I rise.

I’ve tried this on several occasions over the last week and every time I do my breath gets slower and my shoulders drop as if I’m releasing a heavy weight.

I did this during my boxing class on Thursday and I was suddenly throwing punches faster during the shadow boxing session and pounding the heavy bag harder than ever.

I’m not promising an overnight transformation. In my experience the only “miraculous” changes occurred only after a lot of hard work.

I know I’ll be struggling with this for a long time, perhaps the rest of my life. I hope not, but I’m ready for the long journey.

The martial art of aikido, which redirects an opponent’s attack, is often described as “the Art of Unlearning” because it turns the idea of conventional fighting inside out.

That’s what I want to do—unlearn all the destructive habits and attitudes and move through my life with the greatest of ease.

8 comments:

Ron said...

Rob, there is so much I want to comment on because what you shared rang so true for me!

"I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t just stop certain thoughts from happening. Resistance just makes things worse."

Amen! And that is something I had to learn as well. Back in the 80's, when I started investigating things like spirituality and meditation, I remember one of my first teachers saying to us that meditation is not about stopping (resisting) the thoughts in our mind, but rather standing back and watching your thoughts; allowing them to just flow. And in doing so, they lose their power. It's only when we resist them do they continue to gain power.

I absolutely love your acrobatic analogy and letting go of the trapeze. That is brilliant!

"“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.”—Diane Robison"

Great quote and one that I agree with.

So glad to hear that your mediation practice is giving you such positive results. And you're right....transformation is not overnight, it occurres over time.

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us, buddy! Excellent post!

Bijoux said...

Along similar lines, something that's helped me is to realize I can only control my own reactions, not other people's. Its like lifting a weight off your shoulders and flying through the air!

Rob K said...

Excellent, Bijoux! You take care of you!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, thanks so much! You got some great advice from your teacher about not resisting your thoughts. That's so important, otherwise you just set yourself up for more conflict. Detach and observe as my shrink likes to say!

Take care, buddy!

A Cuban In London said...

This post resonates with me a lot. I am not a person to have negative thoughts constantly but occasionally I do get them. My strategy nowadays is similar to yours: let them come in but don't let them settle. Reason them out. Find out why they are there. Great post

Greetings from London.

valerie said...

i just read something on meditating and listening to my breathing and i'm skeptical. it was only for a few minutes, but i'm not sure how that's supposed to help me. maybe, maybe have less stress. don't know, haven't tried it. i do daydream a bit, but i imagine that's not the same thing. eh?

i resonate more with this: It sounds painfully obvious, but so many of us overload our brains—yours truly especially--and then wonder why we’re not getting things done.

definitely information overload.

Rob K said...

Yes, Valeria, and it's such an easy trap to fall into. There's a saying that price of freedom is eternal vigilance. It's refers to countries, but I think there's a message for individuals as well.

Be kind to your mind!

Rob K said...

@ACIL: Oh, thanks, brother. Let 'em in and then raise the rent so they don't settle it!

Take care!