Just Be: Learning New Lessons

During the past few weeks, while I attempted to measure my progress and become a witness to  who I was projecting it became clear that much of my problem that was hindering me from that true joy was my own restlessness and high expectations. The sense of restlessness has always been present in my life. I tend to become bored easily, I wake up with a plan for my day and how it should go before I am ready to even leave the house and I get easily anxious when things are out of my control. Even when I am in situations as ordinary as; traffic, running late, waiting in line, waiting on people, being broke, getting a flat, having a bad night at work and so forth I let my apprehension and anticipation get the best of me. I was starting to maturely comprehend that these silly situations were unavoidable in life and if I was going to transform myself in a positive way, I would need to learn how to deal with those kinds of circumstances better. I started mini-Pranayama sessions for myself in some of these scenarios and found that focusing on my breathing helped a great deal to pull my attention inward which of course distracted me from paying any attention at all to the  outside influences that were irritating to me. I was also making great progress guiding myself out of bad moods or upsetting states of mind just by thinking of more positive thoughts a concept mentioned also by Pantajeli he calls “Pratipaksa Bhavana”. I was learning how to be more at ease with things that were out of my control just by reminding myself that not ever thing can be how I want it to be. It was a great feeling to say to myself “I am okay when things do not go my way,” and I meant every word of that. Letting go of control does not mean that I had to become a more passive and completely carefree person; I was only coming closer to the conclusion each day that most situations would never be mine to control (nor did I really want to have control all the time). I was more concerned all the while with feeling responsible for things being done right, or on time, or in the right order, with very few hiccups on the way. I did not necessarily desire the control but was bringing it upon myself by grasping the expectations I had of myself and other people. Slowing my mind down and taking time to observe these kinds of situations was a very valuable skill I was learning to use well and to my advantage. I found how easy and gratifying it was to slow down and make better decisions and ultimately choosing better moods, making every day life and my interactions at work as well much smoother and more pleasant.

Another part of my experiment I was very eager to keep up with besides the journal was meditating. I needed to work on my inner self with this niyama and the best way to look inward is to try meditating more regularly. I had been conditioning myself for years to wake up and get as much done with my days as I could, which honestly was wearing me out emotionally and mentally. I never thought that I had trouble spending time alone, at home, by myself…but I was wrong. I had a bad problem of constantly expecting too much out of myself and the short days I had. I could become so easily disappointed when days did not go as planned or when I would feel ditched by those I relied on. You cannot find contentment and joy in life when you are allowing yourself to be disappointed all of the time. Life just is not that bad. I made it a point to take my time in the mornings since that was the most guaranteed time alone to bring some peace and clarity to my mind more often. I made a nice routine, a form of Sadhana (preparatory rituals/routines) that involved; bathing (near the end I was using some easy forms of Shat Karma such as Kapalabhati and Jadi Neti), practicing some Sanskrit mantras and finding some newer ones occasionally pranayama (breathing) techniques before making time to practice some asana (postures). Almost every morning I would end with some short meditation sessions. I did manage to stretch out the times and get better at sitting for longer periods less anxiously which was beneficial to say the least. I was very content with how the experiment was unfolding.  A great deal of this meditation helped me with my journal entries which were reflecting that I was  becoming more open and honest with myself (a nice touch of Satya- truthfulness). The mornings started to teach me a valuable lesson, “I am enough”, I am all the company I need to feel comfortable and at ease. Also, I found an awesome sense of joy and complacency being one with the mornings and enjoying the time with myself. Another great way that I discovered just how great it can be to slow life down and embrace it all for what it is. We are here and this is just where we are meant to be. I am everything I am meant to be no matter where I expected to see myself five years ago. Expectations can cause much more stress and disappoint than life would ever naturally have in store for us but those as well as our own flaws and failures are meant to challenge us so that we can learn to remain happy and content no matter what direction the day goes in, up or down.