Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How long can you be with yourself?

We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful moment we remember that we forget.” 
- G.K. Chesterton



Sometimes I like to turn the computer off, put away my phone, close the book, separate myself from all distractions of the modern civilization and just sit there in nothing but a complete silence and with nobody but myself.  I'm aware of the air slowly entering and leaving my body as I breathe, the clothes gently pressing against my skin and the cat watching me in the distance.

The cat surely takes notice because usually when I put things away it signals that I might be getting up to do something else. Maybe heading to the kitchen, quite probably to fill the cat bowls with food or maybe even throw a snack or two.

This time I do no such thing. I just sit there doing absolutely nothing. Something is amiss, the cat thinks, humans don't usually do that.

He is right you see, and such is a sad state of affairs. How often do we allow ourselves to just sit there staring into the distance with absolutely nothing to do?  My guess is, not very often. I try to do it every day, but sometimes I get so entangled in day's events that I forget.  It's a concious effort on my part to remind myself to just stop what I'm doing and simply be.

The very first time I did this I was surprised at how uncomfortable doing nothing was.  Please keep in mind that I'm not talking about a typical meditation here.  Meditation is something to do and there is an expectation that comes with it.  I'm talking about actually doing nothing.  If we just turn everything off and sit there in silence, we realize how ill equipped we are to be with nothing but ourselves. Quite frankly we can't stand it so we look for a distraction, and the next, and so forth.

We are conditioned to to be well oiled machines. Every minute of our day must be productive or we grow dissatisfied with ourselves.  Working and leisure times are equally effected.   If I'm not browsing internet then I should be cooking. If I'm not cooking then I should be cleaning something somewhere. If I'm not cleaning then I should be reading a book, or watching a show. If I catch myself sitting and doing nothing, the first thought that comes to my mind is that I'm wasting my time. But am I really?

The moment I stop doing whatever I'm doing and just pay attention to the stimuli around me, something wonderful happens. It's like I'm able to push away the polluted top layer of my consciousness and look deep down inside where the waters are clear and so much is going on. Random words assemble themselves into sentences without much effort and ideas begin flowing.  My inner self is talking to me and I can finally hear it.  The partition is gone.  The very thought of writing this post came to me this way yesterday.  

Other animals have not lost this art. Have you ever observed cats? They are such intriguing creatures. Just like a little statue, the cat can sit in complete silence, without moving a muscle for a very long time. There is no rush, there is no, I have to be here or there, he just sits and observes. We have so much to learn from them it seems.

So how about it my dear friend? Today take a little minute to yourself. Sit down, put everything away, turn everything off and just be with yourself for as long as you can. Feel the air you breathe, feel the clothes on your body, listen to the whispers of your inner self of who you really are. Have no expectations. If you really give it a shot, you might find yourself amazed.

Cheers!




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