One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls-
Today, right now in this amazing moment, I feel that we have a greater need for serenity than during any other moment in our lives. Mind blowing technology and endless possibilities are literally at our fingers tips, affording each one of us the potential to become “somebody” … Whatever this may mean.
In essence, we constantly strive to be a perfect “somebody” … The perfect friend on FaceTube – always the first to comment and liking your awesome status. The perfect running or workout buddy – consistently settling for just enough and not easing into the growth that discomfort can bring us, but yet we choose to go past discomfort into pain. How do you go about sharing with a friend during a spirited training ride: Chill. Ease your eyes from the road beneath you and smell the fresh spring air …
The question I present to you this morning is this – Can the pursuit of trying to be somebody, be brought into alignment with trying to be present minded?
Many of us are myopically trying to become somebody, robbing ourselves of inner peace and present-mindedness. Sometimes, stopping midway through a run, a yoga class – turning the radio off as you start the commute home – Is all you need to become “somebody“.
Indeed, the direction of the future is only there in order to elude us-
Recently, after a fairly spirited morning group ride here in Nebraska. I found myself warming up with a cup of hot chocolate at a local coffee shop. Savoring the warmth of the first sip, I overheard a group of fellow riders sitting comfortably near the front window. A slender, lively man reached for his iPhone near the center of the table to check his Strava stats. If you are unfamiliar with Strava? Good for you!
Gathering up my gloves, helmet and balaclava, quickly finishing the last sacred sip of my warm drink. I turn to thank the barista before being interrupted with the following question:
“… Hey dude! Have you tried using a Strava when you ride? If you did – I thought we could have a friendly Strava Stat Battle Royal …“
When I snap the buckle on my helmet, adjusting its fit before the pedals complete one rotation. Consciously I have made the choice(s) to LOG OFF - Taking a much-needed time out from my digital life. No matter how convenient, “handy” and productive technology has become, it is still my choice, (your choice) whether I remain tethered to it everywhere I go.
As a little dude, I had my fave superman pajamas and blankets to protect me from the monsters lurking underneath the bed. I took comfort with my imaginary friends and I refused to part with them under any circumstances (The movie Mr. Mom describes my childhood …). These transitional objects served to blanket me with comfort as I came to terms with my own individuality, and until I simply grew out of them.
The gadgets we use today? Are our modern-day “security blankets“, distracting us from being alone with our true selves. Over the course of the next few posts, I would like to share some personal stories as to how I was able to toss my security blanket into the fire and my phone gadget thing into the trunk.
In this world of numbness and information overload, the ability to feel, my boy, is a rare gift indeed-
You scowl at your running partner(s) for running with headphones in. You can faintly hear ’1901′ blasting from their ears. They are insistently checking their GPS watch, every ten steps, although 10 miles later during a quick stop to refuel? Out comes a magenta hued insta-message to let the world know you just slammed a gel pack. Don’t they realize how much it annoys you? The anger on your face is plain as day …
Remember when placing an emergency call meant stepping into a phone booth? Today’s electronic do-dad’s and wireless communications gadgets have made it possible for us to handle emergencies in near real-time, help us to find and reconnect with long-lost friends and the best part: Fantasy Sports. Although all of this “convenience” we have at our finger tips comes at a steep price. The incursion of technology into our lives both at home and while out for an evening run, means less down time and we become ungrounded from our true spirit (tomorrows post). FaceTube and iThings rip into and tear apart relationships and thwart leisure pursuits. I often lament about leisure/life balance, oddly the term “Balance” seems to be a thing of the past.
What in the world is the meaning of balance anymore?
Steeping back from the running story, we as families are feeling this pain at home as well. Social experiment for the day: Engage a teenager in an eye to eye conversation. Let me know how that works out for you. Today’s teens have booth feet, wading chest deep in a technology sinkhole, sad.
Know what? It’s rather easy to blame social media and technology, I should know, I am rather adept at it. Over the past fortnight I have been thinking about this issue ad nauseam, what “balance” truly means, the mixed blessing and danger of technology and many other things (NHL Playoffs). Even though social media and technology have placed the world at our feet, the 24/7 access impedes our spiritual health and quality of life.
Ask yourself today: Has the convenience been worth it?
Whatever you do, it should be an expression of the same deep activity. We should appreciate what we are doing. There is no preparation for something else-
It’s amazing how some days (like today) we slowly roll out of our warm beds, rub the concrete form our eyes, wake up and the world seems beautiful, awe-inspiring at every turn, full of wonder, kindness … Pretty cool indeed. We haven’t even looked out the window to see what the true weather has in store for us. The sun shines on us this day, the future seems promising and bright, we feel healthy and energetic, and our lives are full of love.
Although other days (tomorrow) on which our life is eerily similar to the movie Groundhog Day, we roll out of bed and wake up to a sense of darkness, already believing the world is bleak, dark and ugly, that the people around us are feeble-minded newts, that the IT Band ache we have been nurturing will be the end of us, that our past weeks worth of slowing down to listen to our bodies was wasted, and our future is bleak because your pretty pink socks are in the wash … **“I can’t run today with an outfit that does not match from head to toe!”**
We are so easily swayed and affected by our caught up in the moment emotions, desires and rambling thoughts. When we fantasize about the newer, cooler purple Brooks pure connect 2′s or get caught up about the miserable fight we had last night against our body during yoga class? Tomorrow is going to suck to no end! Our lives have become similar to one long stare at the brilliant sun shining down upon us: We are ever so blinded that we simply cannot see beyond this very moment.
Crocodile Breathing, Dead Man Rolls, Dead Bugs, KB Arm Bars, Perfect Turkish Get Ups … Breathing goes a long way today (hint).
At the end of the day, when we are wrapped up in bed pondering the thoughts of the last 24 hours … Few things in life appear to be as important as we think they are while we are thinking of them.
**A show of hands if you have ever uttered these words?!? Come on don’t be shy, purge your feelings this morning.**
Saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can
get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple
witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you.
Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you
judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this
is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once
the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that
you are the witness, A watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as
you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start
disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for
the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.
Are you experiencing trouble today running or making it through your series of asanas? Let’s head back to the beginning … To the basics, your foundation.
Rest Day … Shavasana