Maybe like me, you sometimes tell yourself “I need to do this.” Every now and again, it can be useful to pause in the forward momentum — especially if you feel you’ve been pushing yourself, physically or otherwise — to ask “Do I really have to do it? Right now?”
What’s driving you to keep in motion? Is it that there is actually so much to get done that there can be no space for doing nothing? For simply holding still and feeling yourself breathe? Feeling yourself just be here?
Watching how you’re pushing yourself?
* * *
The way to wake up in an enduring way is to be awake right now. When somebody is the “big” awake, one of the features of that condition is that they are steadily seeing what they’re doing in this moment. They are being real with themselves, however potentially alarming or “risky” it might seem to do that. So what we’re exploring here, in this business of want and need, is about a much larger thing than it appears, on its face, to be.
If you’ve been at this seeking thing for a while, you may be forever casting about for a way to get there.
The means and the end are the same. Remind yourself of this as often as it dawns on you, however much it may bewilder or frustrate you: because if you’ve been at this seeking thing for a while, you may be forever casting about for a way to get there. There is the aching desire to discover a means to an end.
Being in the now is the “way” to wake up, to become free.
Sometimes being in present-moment reality takes the shape of stopping the momentum and registering how you’re driving yourself forward. How much (maybe) it hurts.
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In my own case, while I do have plenty of space in my average day to just sit, be still, reflect, there are nevertheless occasions when I seem to have an awful lot to do. Maybe too much for your average stretch of hours, especially if it involves stressing my aging body.
I have learned the hard way that if I hurry, if I try to cram too much into an average day, I will likely pay a price physically speaking. I could get hurt; I could injure or frighten my cat.
I am a lifelong learner, in every sense of the word. If there ends up being some kind of cost to hurrying, I am generally able to grow quiet, to ask myself, “Why was I pushing? Is there some lesson in this?”
Telling yourself I need to do this can be an invitation to look into how enthralled you may be with other people’s opinions of you (as I once was). Or what a creature of habit you may be (and that is me). Seeing yourself at such a moment can have the potential to open a door to examining usually-buried things about yourself.
So if you can hold still for a few moments, giving yourself the space to get real about potential underlying motivators, valuable clarity can come.
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All my life I’ve had the tendency to push myself; indeed, it was the cause of the emotional breakdown I had many years ago. Just because a person wakes up, spiritually speaking, doesn’t mean they cease being, in some sense, who they’ve always been. The difference is that post-awakening they are much more likely to be conscious of their propensities — to watch themselves doing whatever-it-is.
What a teacher this tuning-in can be!
Then there is the question “What do I really want to do?” It’s the sort of space we don’t typically grant ourselves — to pose such a question, let alone create the space for enacting. As in, if I knew this day were to be my last, how would I want to spend it?
But it needn’t be grand in that way. Anyhow, only one of our days is to be the final one. Every day is precious! Consider the idea of a luscious little window in the day in which it’s possible to “indulge” yourself. Just to be still a moment, go into your heart, your body, and say: What might I really like to do for a few minutes today? An hour? Once in a blessed moon, the entire day?
Just ask the question. If today isn’t realistic, tuck it away for one day soon. You needn’t “deserve” it, in the way we ordinarily think of such things. Only, don’t put it off forever.
It’s just that — well, what is life for? What is it about, in the end? Every now and again, when you notice yourself keeping in motion, “needing” to do one thing and another, hold still and put that oh-so-useful question to yourself. What if I knew today was it?
My just-released podcast episode (“Visiting the Future vs. Living In It”) may be of use to you.