- Journal Entry #15 — Seeing It Otherwise
It’s funny how our world is so utterly wrapped up in “doing” — in producing and maintaining a ceaseless tide of activity.
Have you ever wondered what actually motivates all of this, besides survival and mere habit?
I, like many, am still learning how (and when) to step away from it all. How to truly notice how much “stuff” we were merely programmed to do — as children, as youth, as young adults.
It’s always liberating to experience that moment of true awareness — that inner reminder that activity should always be balanced with inactivity. With something deeper than a preoccupation with the surface dimension of life.
Doing and being. Yin and yang. Working and resting.
- We are here to find that dimension within ourselves that is deeper than thought. ~Eckhart Tolle (Findhorn Retreat: Stillness Amidst The World)
It’s also funny how often we tend to ask: “So what have you been doing?”
But sometimes we put the question this way: “So how have you been?”
I appreciate the second version of the question. Somehow, it better communicates an understanding for the whole person — the many dimensions of life that should be important to all of us.
- It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau
I’ve always enjoyed delving into the spiritual dimension, into the unseen and the deeper aspects of existence. Because by and large surface activity is all about repetition. And thus, it often lacks substance or creativity. Of course, if you have found your spiritual dimension, even repetitive tasks can be handled with equanimity and a sense of quiet joy, because you know there is more to life than the activity at hand.
But spiritual contemplation is also something I like to weave into my day. Clearly, it’s as important as any routine activity. And probably more important than the many activities (or events) that we are continually “looking forward to.” For one thing, whenever we are “looking forward” to some time or date in the future, part of our attention is elsewhere. We’re not fully present in “this moment,” because we’re always so eager to assume that some “future moment” will be far more enjoyable or important. It’s usually a fallacy, but the mind often insists on dwelling in the make-believe nature of an imagined future.
- Spiritual contemplation, however, keeps me focused on “this.” And “this,” no matter what it is, is always enough. It is always complete.
- Spiritual contemplation also rewards me with a sense of connection to everything beyond time and place. It illuminates the dark corners of life. It continually inspires.
- Spiritual contemplation isn’t about “thinking” though. It’s really an experience of something beyond what I’ve been taught or learned. It doesn’t merely entertain. (How many hours a day do we “think,” just to entertain our restless minds?) Spiritual contemplation, for me, is profound union with the life force within; it connects all the dots that our minds continually stew about to no avail. It rejuvenates. But many can’t seem to quiet their minds enough to even sit still for a while, or they choose not to quiet their minds, believing in every silly thought as though it were “reality.” Or perhaps, on some level, they believe that continual activity is something to be worshiped and pursued without question.
The next time you feel overly drawn to continual surface activity (meaning you have built your entire identity around a list of activities you engage in), ask yourself why. It’s a great question for meditation, or for spiritual contemplation. Dig a bit deeper into your daily agenda. How much of it is truly necessary, life-enhancing, or peaceful? How much of it flows from societal (or family) expectations you grew up with?
- Who is living your life anyway?
- As Tolle reminds us: “We are here to find that dimension within ourselves that is deeper than thought.” That dimension isn’t about “we did this” and “we went there” … over and over again ad nauseam. And it’s not about skating on the surface of life and believing that’s all there is. But it is about stepping away from habitual “doing” … that’s the world of robots, isn’t it? Spiritual contemplation honors the life force that allows for life to exist in the first place. It’s also a good way to disengage from old mind patterns; those even you are tired of experiencing (let alone the people you interact with regularly).
If you want to keep it really simple, just try to look within long enough to consider a different way of perceiving one small thing about your life.
What opinions can you let go of? What beliefs haven’t changed since you were very young? How many of your assumptions about “doing” are you willing to challenge? Is your ego prodding you along, primarily? Doing less can be a wise priority in life.
- When I allow for space, as much as possible, in each day, I create more opportunities for spiritual contemplation. Like an open window, or a vast, open landscape, space and stillness allow for something new (something deeper) to emerge. Something that brings me closer to truth–closer to the mysteries of the universe–and, yes, closer to something that is well beyond mere words. ~dh
Thanks for stopping by — see you in a couple of weeks!
Seeing It Otherwise is an online spiritual journal for 2013. Together, we are exploring perceptions, assumptions, and reactions. It’s a great opportunity to journal or meditate on the ideas and questions presented. Blog posts serve as brief journal entries every other Friday morning. Thanks for being here!
Next journal post: September 13th.
- Comments are welcome when open, but I encourage inner dialogue as well … or more importantly. Thanks, have a great week!
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