Not Leaning Forward or Backward

 

image.jpg

Being present, in the moment and not furiously looking at ways to control the future is so much harder than it seems. What if you are asking yourself, "What is next?" or maybe you are trying to define a new path that is different from the one you have been on. All of the external messages reinforce the notion of being present and/or having faith that things will work out. My nature is competitive. I want to move forward and that leads to a state of discontent. Is there a balance for people that believe action gets things done and the wisdom of keying in to the present? How can we take a step into the now without reaching for the future or leaning into the past?

There is a concept in Buddhism named dhuka and it roughly translates to suffering. As a society we are constantly try to numb an ever present dissatisfaction by turning to things around us or craving things we don't have to silence this feeling. But what if we sit with it? Identify if? Maybe we can poke at it like a bruise and not shy away from it. Numbing ourselves in front if the TV or shopping for unnecessary objects are great examples of dhukha. To dive deeper into that a little bit, dhukha causes dhukha; suffering causes suffering. Once our issues or cravings are identified and explored they start to lose their power. Maybe once that inward journey is activated then we can be more fully okay with ourselves, at peace with how things are, right now. The now is not craving. The now is present.

On the flip side is sukha, happiness not shadowed by craving or aversion. It is a state where we are not confusing emotions like desire or nostalgia. This state of balance is considered enlightenment. It is at this point of realization and this defining moment when after his searching and introspection, Siddhartha Gautama became Buddha. He saw in that moment where he no longer craved. He was no longer reaching, searching and exploring, there was no clinging - no aversion or delusion. This led to freedom and with it the knowledge that it is an inherent state of humans.

Ultimately we strive to be a witness to ourselves without passing judgment. When we sit in meditation there are glimpses of this witness. There is no judgment. No thoughts. It just is. In that moment - whether it be on the hiking trail, sitting at our desk or in meditation, things are entirely OK. We experience more of these moments through meditation and going inwards. These moments that are lacking a sense of unsettling thoughts, a lack of judgment become our freedom. They allow a sense of peace to guide our daily thoughts and actions. Quite possibly, these are the moments that open us up to faith if we have felt that missing.

So in the end, and as part of a daily practice I leave with this: catch the judgments, catch the doubts and the over-thinking and striving for perfection. Slowly strip away the constant anxiety inducing pining for a future that does not exist. You are enough right now. Sit with that. Next time you overreach and try to be the funniest or smartest in the room or the better actor or you sit in judgment of someone just remind yourself that you are enough. Right now.

~ b

 

 

Alchemy and Elusive Desire

 

image.jpg

When we try to change our reality into desire we lose sight of what treasures we have in the moment. We enter into a fool's quest to turn iron into gold. When we get into those moments of panic, desire, feeling empty or looking for ways to fill a perceived hole, we need to stop, take a deep breath and look around at where we are in the present moment and have faith that things will be ok. This is a hard thing to do, it takes practice and inevitably we will veer into our comfort zones of the way we have always done things in the past. But just breathe into the moment.

In that moment where the deep breath brings us into the presence, we have everything we need. We get in our own way when we constantly push for and construct a future that does not exist or when we live in the past which is at best, fogged through a lens of nostalgia or bitterness. 

One moment. Right now. Tied to breath. This prepares us for what is to come. We can use our past like an intuitive tool set that we reach for to build ourselves into the moment from our subconscious. Just let that concept be and it will stay in the unconscious. If we think of our past and how it should inform our future, we bring it up to the conscious mind which means we are trying influence things that are out of our control. We walk into a wall of desire that can turn into emptiness and longing and feelings of unworthiness. By being present and acknowledging that we are good to go in that moment, the future unfolds naturally. It does not mean that bad things won't happen - but it pushes fear aside which is a construct of our ego as a defense mechanism, and it ensures that when things do come our way, we are mentally prepared to handle them in a more gentle way. Gentle to ourselves and to others.

The gap between reality and perception is where we fall down and cause ourselves anxiety and pain. We can do better for ourselves and in turn for others realizing we have everything we need for whatever is to come next.  When we get trapped into the worry and the fear, we can take a deep breath and look into the present moment knowing that we can just let things be. Our breath is our personal reminder to stay in the moment and be true to ourselves.  

Our own personal alchemy: I create my own reality

~b

Art & Ego: Are they diametrically opposed states?

 

image.jpg

In reading "The New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle, I ran across this statement: "If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. This spiritual truth is diametrically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave."

Ok. I get it. My head gets it, is maybe a better summation. What is hard is that being an artist and working to "get my artwork out there"; it is an odd place to be in. The idea of surrender is a hard thing to get used to since I like a healthy dose of control. And the idea of marketing oneself is also a direct opposition to surrender. Now I will say, the art will get done not matter what. I am compelled to create it. I am also compelled to share it. That is what it is there for. I spend a lot of time doing it, thinking about it, defining its thesis and sharing the ideations that come from all of those exercises. That is the most amazing thing in our current cultural shift of a sharing online community - the ability to put yourself out there.

Does this run against the concept of an ego-less self?

An ego-less state is this sense of quiet. A knowing. Not a place or intent to make others hear you. Or see you. It is Being. And making art is sharing; a loud or a quiet place of 'See Me'. At what point does its creation turn itself into a place 'being in service'? There is a sense of power to make something and bring it into this world - something that did not exist before you made it. And there you have the ego. And if you create something and you do not share it, it falls to the wayside and you are in direct opposition to the muses that offer you a path to the creative spirit. No one wants to shit on that. Your state of nothingness is a tragedy since we are all meant to be here to create. It is not only music or art, it is full creation of being. 

I have no answers here and since I am writing this blog I am obviously participating in the social community and a ego-centric space of sharing. And it feels great to be noticed, to have my art liked, or hated and most importantly - discussed (right behind being bought). The only thing that I know to fall back on is that I do come from a place of curiosity, authenticity and a pure desire to 'make'. That will not change and as I strive to connect to that inner still state, I can at best, keep the ego in check and understand that it is there but it is not ruling.

So show up and create, fail and create some more...

~b