All About Me

20 Jun

Tonight during my meditation, as I was directing my attention inward, it was so clear how easily my attention shifts outside of myself.  I realized for example, that even in writing this blog, which is ENTIRELY about me, but the thoughts still feel like they are being directed outward, directed towards an audience.  I had the sensation of being the object of the thought, and not the subject. I often find myself worrying about what other people will think or feel about something, and forget to check in about how I think or feel about it, forget that my own feelings and opinions are of equal value.  Years ago even when I realized that I was putting other people’s needs before my own, I still thought it was the best choice, I rationalized that if I put my own needs first I would just feel guilty and then I’d be unhappy anyway.  But it wasn’t until more recently that I realized that if I valued my own needs equally, I wouldn’t feel guilty putting them first.

Often when my thought are pulled out of my own experience it is into conversation with others (I’d say planning for this blog falls into that category), and often it is in thinking and fantasizing about various men, past and present involvements.  Sometimes I feel like my brain has been hijacked, and I want to scream ENOUGH!!

Here is my disclaimer, my ego feels the need to write this, you may think I have attention deficit disorder by the way I’m describing my easy distractibility, but my guess is the other meditators know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you think your mind does not wander off in this way, it is likely because you haven’t sit still long enough to notice!  The fact that I’m noticing what my mind is distracted by, is actually a good sign : )

So I’m thinking about this.  What would life be like if my attentions were inward, and not so scattered.  I don’t mean becoming selfish or forgetting about the needs of others.  I just mean while I’m sitting here on the couch with nothing else going on, what if my thoughts were inward, and not flying off to think about this guy and that guy and work and kids, etc.  Would I feel less, empty?  Would I feel more fulfilled, more complete, more sufficient?  I think at the very least it would free up a lot of mental energy.  But I also have to acknowledge there is a reason the mind goes to these things, it’s not just by accident, there is a huge draw, an energy, a pleasure, sometimes even an addiction!  Sometimes keeping the mind in the present can feel kind of blah compared to all that!  But, the seeming benefits are very limited, there is a cost, like the disappointment of not having the fantasies come to fruition and then the feelings of loneliness that follow.

Tonight during my meditation, as I realized how much my mind wanted to be off thinking about other people, I turned the focus inward and asked if there was a part of me that was feeling ignored.  I had to ask three times!  That’s how hard it was for me to maintain the focus inward.  Finally I got a sense of myself at 5 years old.  This really resonated as a time in life when I did feel very ignored, my parents had separated, my sister was only 2 and got a lot of attention, and my mom was working a lot trying to support us.  I had two really vivid memories from that time period, one was of our family taking care of the preschool pet, a parakeet, during a vacation period, and it died, I remember my mom buying some kind of medicine to treat it everyday, but it didn’t work and got sicker and sicker and died. Wow, hadn’t thought about that in decades!  That must have been pretty traumatic!  The other was a memory of my favorite toy, an Easy Bake Oven, I don’t think I had it very long at all, and my sister accidentally broke it, and that was it, I never got a new one (haha, until I bought one a few ago for my daughter so I could live vicariously through her!)  I think those memories were of fear, of lack of control, of realizing that things die, and things break, and there is actually nothing parents can do to stop that from happening.  I’m not sure if those memories had anything to do with the subject of feeling ignored, or the idea of turning attention outward, I’ll have to think about those connections.

My intention after all this is to come back to the body.  Focus my meditation on bodily sensations and even maintain that focus during the rest of the day, when possible.  The body is always in the present moment.  And the body is always my own experience.  Problem solved : )

 

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6 Responses to “All About Me”

  1. Jennifer Stuart June 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    You are right up my alley 🙂 It can be so fun to let the mind wander, and yet so fulfilling and nourishing to have it in the present moment. Maybe it’s like a dog that needs to be walked; and it’s fun to take it to the park to play with all the other fun things, but then, to bring it back home and let it eat a nice healthy meal and lay with us in peace 🙂

  2. truebodymindsoul June 21, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Thanks Jennifer, I really like your analogy, I like the playfulness of it, it is a good reminder to bring that same lightness to my practice!!

  3. truebodymindsoul June 21, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Reflecting on whether there was any relationship between the memories I had, and my attention being so outwardly focused, it made me wonder whether our discomfort in bringing our intention inward is in feeling our own vulnerability, fragility, and mortality.

  4. Julianna June 21, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    What a beautiful, open post. Well done! Whether or not your logic mind “figures out the connections,” your energy is already in motion, shifting, releasing. Allow the release to continue, even if you can’t name what exactly it is. Light to you and your 5-year-old inner child!

    • truebodymindsoul June 21, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Thanks for the nice comment, Julianna. It’s actually very encouraging for me to hear feedback on these posts. My meditation teachers say, “Your job is to show up. Sit on the cushion, let the dharma take care of the rest.” Thanks for the reminder that the energy is moving, and I don’t need to figure it all out!

      • Julianna June 21, 2012 at 11:13 am #

        Yes, it’s a bit tough to re-learn, but it’s the heart/soul space that really “figures things out” (makes the changes, truly understands things) and not the mind. Good luck, and keep showing up – your meditation teacher is spot-on!!

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