Today I’m realizing how much energy I withhold from the tasks of my day. It’s as if I resist doing normal activities with full vigor or engagement because I’m trying to “pace myself” or “conserve energy.” I feel like if I expend effort above a certain threshold I will not have the energy for some later task. But I’m not exactly conserving. On closer inspection I am resisting the task and impeding my own effectiveness.
I do this a lot – as in with everything. I withhold my full attention from people and problems under the guise that I’m economizing my energy for later use. But the effect of this behavior is that I resist doing things with full attention and vigor. I stifle the energy when I need it out of fear I may need it later.
Having recognized this behavior, I have started to let myself use whatever amount of energy each situation calls for. If I have to get on my hands and knees to look for something, so be it. If I have to run for the elevator, so be it. No more conservation; no more resistance. I fully embrace the task at hand.
Being Zen and letting go doesn’t mean you must restrict yourself to mild-mannered passivity; it includes letting yourself act with full vigor when called to do so. Conservation and resistance are ultimately displays of preference. When I let go of my preferences I embrace the freedom to act as well as not to act. Stop resisting and fully commit to what needs to be done presently.
I am writing now at the end of the day. I feel more energetic than I have in weeks. It is as if the fear of not having enough was draining the plenty that I had. By acting without reservation I channeled the energy that would have built up in my body as tension and allowed it to flow through me to the task. It feels so alive! I want to shout yes! Yes! YES!
It’s quite breathtaking. I suggest you try it.
In other news, I’m starting to think there’s no way not to advance spiritually if you commit to an hour of meditation a day. Just the act of being with yourself without distraction forces you to confront your nature. If your nature is uncomfortable because of the negativity you hold, you are faced with two options: let it go or drive yourself nuts.
If you force yourself to sit every day and just be with yourself you will quickly discover what going on inside you, be it good or bad. If it’s bad, you’ll learn quickly that sitting unhappily by yourself for an hour is a silly waste of time. Negative emotions are yours to hold or release, and it feels so much better to release them. Eckhart Tolle claims in The Power of Now that you cannot both suffer and be conscious. If you are suffering, it’s because you are living unconsciously. An hour of attention a day takes the suffering away. I’ll attest to that.
Today I will be doing two half-hour meditations, as I described yesterday. I am meditating at work. Painters came today and my office is a giant rubble heap. I’m happy to say it doesn’t concern me in the slightest. I assume a meditative posture. Timer is set for one hour. I push start.
First half hour: All the answers in the universe are present here with me; my task today is to listen intently. As I listen I tell myself that I want to hear the deepest, highest, most powerful thing that exists. I concentrate deeply and listen intently. This requires all my focus. As I described before on day four, I open myself up to receiving. I bow humbly, relinquishing all self importance before the greatest power. I feel it and it begins to unfold. I maintain single-minded focus and gradually ascend more deeply than I have ever gone. Wow, this is deep.
I listen to what presents itself to me, and in doing so I am completely filled. All concerns fall away -I do not need to relinquish them one by one as I have. The presence consumes them all. I realize that this presence runs through all things; nothing exists outside of it. As this dawns on me, I realize that even my thoughts are suspended in presence, as well as the thoughts of others. Oneness consumes me.
I could stay here forever. My timer rings. Half an hour seems short. This was perhaps the deepest meditation yet, but I lose the effects quickly because I try so hard to retain them. I was just a conduit for the infinite intelligence of the universe. Now the power feels like it’s been turned off and I feel puny and hollow.
Second half hour: All I’ve wanted to do for the last several hours is return to my earlier state. I sit and try to get there again. Already I’m expecting, trying, frustrated, and disappointed. Rather than fight it like I have in the past, I accept that this session will not be as good as the first and leave it at that.
Wow, who thought enlightenment would be such a crazy web of contradictions: I want it, but I have it, but I have to quit wanting to get it. If I get results I expect to keep them, which makes me want them more, which makes them harder to get. But I shouldn’t be seeking results in the first place. Why is giving up so hard to do?
This is hilarious insanity. My timer rings and I laugh off the disappointment. Oh well, can’t break records every sitting. I’m content to hang my hat on the first session; we’ll leave it at that.