Working out my love muscles

I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep.

For the past few years I’ve gotten in the routine of meditating until I start nodding off then crawling into bed and passing out. This has worked great…. up until a new baby entered into the equation…

Veda is really hit or miss on her sleeping. Some nights it’s great, other nights she’s up all the time.

Because of this I’ve gotten into the mindset of “Ok, Veda is asleep, I need to fall asleep NOW so I can get some sleep before she wakes up”. It stresses me out. And Sunday and Monday I got like 3 hours of sleep each night. Not necessarily because she was up a lot, but because I was lying awake stressing out about what would happen if she DID wake up. Pretty ridiculous…

Last night I was headed down the same path so I got up and started meditating, trying to get into that old routine again. I got like 30 minutes in, started nodding off, got into bed and crossed my fingers…. And I immediately started stressing out and couldn’t sleep….

I lay there for an hour and then got up to try meditating again.

I was super pissed but stuck with it, and this time after 30 minutes something interesting happened. And this is really why I always come back to meditation. For me it’s the quickest way to get to these insights that might have otherwise taken weeks or months to come to.

I had a thought pop in. It’s one of my favorite prayers / mantra’s:

“Help me see this moment in a more loving light”

Hearing this totally snapped me out of the rut I wasn’t even really aware that I was in. There was no compassion, no love in the attitude I had been taking. I saw her sleeplessness and my anxiety about it as a frustration that needed to be eradicated so I could get back to my normal routine. So I could be happy.

Now there was this new found love that started swelling up and overtaking the old negativity. I realized that this situation could instead be perceived as a challenge. Can I bring love and compassion to this difficult experience? It’s like going to the love gym.

Taking this approach lets me work WITH the irritation instead of AGAINST it. Working against it like I had been doing just made it worse. My flow was totally blocked and I was just piling more pressure behind the build up. But now I can instead embrace the negativity and start to transform it into something I can use. Something that makes me feel happy regardless of if she is sleeping, regardless of if I am sleeping.

 

And interestingly enough as soon as I adopted this new attitude I hopped back into bed and went right to sleep.

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Thought Personification

In my last post I wrote about an experience I had separating from my thoughts which allowed me to personify them. I thought distancing myself from my thoughts was going to be something I’d be able to do consistently, but in a days since that happened I’ve discovered that this is very hard to do. Like I try to imagine my thoughts outside my head, but it doesn’t really work. It’s not near as effective as what happened spontaneously during that meditation.

BUT! Something else from that post really has worked. The idea of personifying my thoughts. I thought the way this is going to work was first distancing my thoughts, then I’d be able to personify them. But actually I see the reverse happening. I first have to turn my thoughts into a person, then I’m able to work with them.

So I start by asking myself, what do my thoughts look like? Are they a jumbled up mess? A tornado? A rubber band ball? This allows me to disconnect from them a little bit and start looking at them objectively. Then I start asking:

If my thoughts were a person what would they look like?
How old are they?
What kind of emotional state are they in?

I’ve been doing this a ton the past few days and I started noticing a few patterns. This person is usually pretty young. Either a child or a teenager. And they are very pissed off and demanding, but right underneath this is fear.

Yesterday I sent an e-mail to a friend in the morning, and the rest of the day I was plagued with worry over what I had said. LITERALLY ALL FUCKING DAY LONG it was eating away at me. Over and over and over. Absolutely miserable. But then at night something clicked. I was able to see the person behind this worry. How terrified they were. How all this worry was just a way for them to try to be in control of something that is uncontrollable… which understandably leads to that feeling of panic.

And I’ve seen this pattern in the past, but being able to see it as something outside myself makes a hugeeee difference. Because it’s so much easier to extend love and compassion to this image. It’s no longer personal. I’m able to step out of that story and view it from above. With an understanding and a sense of grace that is hard to muster when you’re in the thick of it. When you ARE it.

I don’t care what your thoughts are, what do they look like?

I think we spend an over abundance of time concerning ourselves with our thoughts. We’re told how powerful they are, and how they manifest what we see, so we better control them, right? We don’t want any negative thoughts coming in. Only positive stuff!!!

But it seems like the only thing controlling your thoughts does is drive you a little crazy. And actually, I think it can be much more serious than that. We’ve all seen people that are imprisoned by their thoughts. How compulsive and ridgid they are. I think this can lead to serious autoimmune diseases. And also to things like hoarding and OCD.

I was watching pawn stars the other day and saw someone trying to sell them an iron lung. I knew of iron lungs, but had never seen one. It made me think about how awful an existence that must have been. I spent like an hour planning out how I would have killed myself if I was trapped in one. It’s hard to imagine a more horrendous experience.

iron lung

But it occurred to me that this is exactly what most of us do to ourselves. We use our thoughts to build up an iron lung that we keep ourselves trapped in. To protect ourselves from the world. To not let people really see us. Touch us. Hear us. We just barely let ourselves breathe, which is actually true.

And this is so ingrained that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We don’t realize there’s another option.

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I think there are two keys to unlocking us from this prison.

1. It’s necessary to separate your self from your thoughts. You are perfectly capable of functioning without them. Think of professional athletes, racecar drivers. They aren’t thinking and yet they do incredible things.

2. We’ve been trained to verbalize everything. Like when we are reading we sound out each word in our heads. This isn’t necessary. You can just scan over the words and your brain registers it just the same. Verbalizing your experience grinds everything to a halt. What we are can be so much more nimble and responsive than this. Instead try looking at things energetically. Instead of a thought just being a word you hear in your head, what does it feel like? What does it look like? Where does that energy sit in your body?

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After I got some distance from my thoughts and started paying more attention to their energetic structure, I first noticed that most of the time it felt like I was trapped inside a prison. Like I couldn’t breathe. Like I had a straitjacket on. But in seeing this I could gradually shift their structure to where my thoughts were more of a cloud. Something that I could choose to ignore and push aside. They became much less important. Much less appealing. I’d much rather sit in my body without them. This is actually enjoyable. I have room to breathe. To let things flow in and out. I can see things clearly. It’s peaceful.

I can still pull down that bubble and engage my thoughts when I need to do something analytical, but most of the time they aren’t necessary. I can just let them do their thing out there in the cloud, I don’t really need to pay attention to it.

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If you’re trapped in an iron lung, thinking positive thoughts is going to be an uphill battle. You might get a couple here or there, but you’re trapped in a fucking prison. Think about that for a second. How incredibly difficult it would be to be happy in a situation like that. You’d have to be some sort of zen master. I’d fucking lose it if I couldn’t move my body more than a couple inches.

But what if instead you’re lying in a field somewhere feeling the breeze blow through your hair, soaking in the sun. You’re going to be pretty happy without exerting a lot of effort. You can just get out of your way and let everything be.

So if you find yourself trapped in a prison, don’t try to think happy thoughts… GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!

The-Shawshank-Redemption-Script

You aren’t your thoughts (human mind vs God mind)

I just finished reading an incredible book that scientifically analyzes what it means to be sensitive (open to experiences like clairvoyance, intuition, empathy).

The HISS of the ASP

In it he makes a point about how we read. We’ve been trained to say each word to ourselves in our heads. This is a very slow process and is actually not necessary. You can scan through a page just looking at the words without having an internal monologue, and you still understand perfectly well what it is you just read. What we’ve been trained to do is like handcuffing ourselves. We have a ferrari gassed up and ready to go, but insist on pushing it by hand.

I was coming home from a movie tonight and I was getting into this interesting space where everything was very still. It’s like I wasn’t moving and the road was coming towards and through me. It was very peaceful. Then I saw my thoughts kick in as I was changing lanes and I realized…. “why am I thinking now? I don’t need these thoughts. I’m perfectly capable of doing this without them.” We think we need our thoughts to help us navigate through life. It’s like the thoughts are controlling us and guiding us. We ARE our thoughts.

But in actuality we are perfectly capable of functioning without them. And actually, we thrive when our actions aren’t an extension of our thoughts. This is our natural state of being. Think about a race car driver, or a professional athlete. Do you think a receiver is thinking when they are going up to catch a pass?

The same principle applies for mundane life. I don’t need to think about driving. I don’t need to think about how to do yoga. About how to cook dinner.

Our thoughts are there, but it’s not directly related to the moment. It has its own rhyme and reason, and we don’t need to enslave ourselves to them. We can use them as tools when they are appropriate, and then disengage from them when they are no longer needed.

But like most things, this probably goes back to control. We want to keep everything small, moving slowly, exactly as it should be. The only way to do this is living through your thoughts. Relinquishing them is relinquishing control. There is a very different kind of control that emerges if you do this though. A universal one supported by the divine. But it can be a bit unnerving while you’re transitioning between the two…