The Difficulty in Doing.

My time in the desert was less adventurous and more… meditative.
Many with whom I have shared stories with have mentioned that it sounds like quite the adventure however, it really was the opposite.

Many days of long, straight, flat roads with nothing to look at, nothing to distract the Mind with.

It really was bliss.

Over the course of the first week, I began to notice just how noisy my internal world was.
With nothing to occupy my physical space, other than to sit and watch the world go by, I would spend time focusing on my breathing and posture.
The posture thing was only to ensure that I did not get lumbar pain from all the sitting, and breathing, well, despite what they say, it is definitely not an involuntary action.

Once those ‘tasks’ were set into a nice and rhythmic motion, all there was left to do was enjoy and do… nothing.

But the art of non-doing, is much more difficult than anticipated.
My thinking Mind always at the forefront, planning, investigating, pondering, postulating, discriminating and even singing.
An endless list of mental mastication that chewed up so much energy and made time feel as though it was rapidly speeding by.
Much faster than the 80km/hr we were doing in the car!


As a regular meditator, I found in these longer stretches of nothing that keeping my brain ‘still’ was far more difficult than I had felt before.
In fact, I was ALWAYS doing something.
So frustrating!
I craved that quiet. I knew that quiet and I wanted it back.

Days went by grappling with myself. Being aware of my inner chatter, investigating, pondering, postulating, discriminating and even singing trying to find the best way to stop thinking.
Days went by where I noticed nothing of the drive and slept deeply from the exhaustion of the tangle and turmoil I was having with myself.
You can see the problem here.

The solution could only be solved by acceptance and surrender. It will never be solved by trying to outsmart Oneself or grapple with the Mind like it is a Rubiks Cube.

There were tears.
This was a serious re-calibration, years in the forming.
It is amazing how we so easily fall into the roles and drama of life. Doing the do. Being good girls and boys, being a successful so-and-so, outstanding citizens, paying the bills on time and making sure there is ample things to keep us busy to help us feel like interesting people that others may want to be friends with, staying out of trouble and living up to someone else’s standards.
All of it becomes chatter, pressure, stress – unhealthy.

I took a look around me, our greatest teacher will always be the Earth.
I learned from the remoteness of the desert, the people living in extreme conditions in the middle of literal nowhere and the wildflowers we were so lucky to witness.

SIMPLICITY.

So I gave up.
Not in the way that generally tends to mean.
I just stopped trying.
Put down the wet paper bag I was trying to free myself from.
Allowed the Rubiks Cube to be a mind boggling feat.
Let the Mind do what it does.

I accept.
I surrender.

There was a cathartic release when I just stopped trying to live by some standard someone else had set. Even meditators can con themselves into thinking there is a specific way to meditate.
Our Mind will naturally work away in the background. The Primitive areas of the brain are specifically designed to constantly be scanning the horizon for danger.
By simply allowing myself to do that, knowing that I didn’t have to engage with that area of my Mind meant that I would stop trying to control, and with that – came the release.

I found in between the ever rolling thoughts tiny spaces of nothing. Much like the gap between the in and out breathes. Brief moments of serenity.
The Void.
The gaps grew larger more prominent and peaceful.
Smiling to myself every time I noticed, encouraging the Body and Mind “This is where I want to be”.
A sort of positive reinforcement.

Our greatest challenges have always been, and will always be internal.
How like the wildflowers we stand with grace even in the most difficult situations, even when it is years between dying and living.
How the people of the desert live such simple lives, totally in tune with Nature. No excess. No drama. No over inflation of the situation. It just is, and how good is it to be alive?! How wonderful to celebrate the rain and survive the drought?! How utterly important it is to simple stay calm.
How the desert in it barrenness can support life, hold life even in its emptiness, aridity and isolation. And how holy surprising it can be when it finally receives rain.

Acceptance and Surrender.

These are not states of disempowerment.
In fact, these are states that when open lead to our Courage, Flexibility and Heart.
There’s no trick to letting go, even when it appears oh so difficult.
We’re all going find a different path to learn from acceptance and surrender, and what a wonderful adventure to be on!

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