Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shhhh....Be Quiet In There

The second section of Eat, Pray, Love finds the author in an ashram in India where she has gone to find G*d. Daily spiritual devotional practice that commenced at 3:30 am was part of her journey to delve deeper into spiritual practice in order to ascend to a higher level of understanding of G*d and herself. This section gave me a lot to consider, most of which that while I want to travel Europe the notion of someday going to India to spend some time deepening my understanding of life is now also very appealing. Plus, I'd do just about anything if I could learn how to get the incessant voice in my head to just shut up once in a while...

The whole reason I write this blog is so that I have someplace healthy to purge the cyclone of thoughts and ideas constantly swirling in my head in hopes that by this emetic effort I can have five minutes of peace. Maybe someone, somewhere might find something in what I write that resonates for them and helps in someway, sort of like how those dandelion puff balls just demand for children to blow them when the wind doesn't. My little ideas can spread like those seeds and at least give them a chance to germinate in the fertile soil of someone else's mind. This is one of the ways I am nudged in new directions. Its kind of a cool idea that when I read something written by a person, who in practical terms is a stranger, launches me on a new trajectory of possibilities. I say a "practical" stranger but at the same time I feel that underlying connection that we all have as the little cilia-like human projections sprung forth into Being from the same source. How much of a stranger can any of us be with that much in common? So anyway, I throw all this mind chatter dialogue out into the cosmos and it is my pure intent that it be useful somehow.

Herein lies my spiritual journey. Since my brain, or ego, never stops yapping for 5 consecutive seconds it is my purpose in life reign it in. One of the only times it does this is when I am cooking. Which may explain why 50% of my waking hours are spent in a 12 square foot space of my kitchen. Why my family calls that room a restaurant, and why I tend to make elaborate, time consuming dishes as well as most condiments all from scratch. Yes it is also because I get to use the best quality ingredients and control exactly what is in our diet, but really it is nourishment for my spirit to get some solitude from the loquacity of that inner voice.

My mind seems to need something to do all the time. There are list-making people in this world and there are non-list making people. I am non-list making person and I realize now that by not making lists I am giving my brain something to entertain itself, much like giving a dog a chew toy. It likes its chatter to be front and center making the spiritual task of "living in the present moment" that much more of a challenge. So to occupy it I give it the grocery list and let it try to remember that.

The time has come for me to find some other ways to obtain this inner sanctity that does not involve driving out to the farm to get raw, pastured milk or to the co-op to collect my whole grains, or to the farmer's market for local produce and grass fed meats. Not that I am giving up those things, but I need practice at the practice of quieting that voice. And so my intention finally manifested in the Baptiste Yoga I began attending.

I've always been envious of people who find meditative calm in exercise. Some people run. I wish, oh how I wish, I enjoyed running. I don't. It's mostly torture until its over for me. And while yes I don't enjoy the physical sensation of running, especially on pavement, the real reason I don't like it is that it doesn't make the voice stop talking. I can think about everything while I run, even with music blaring in my ears. From what's for dinner, to making mental lists, to repertorizing a homeopathy case, and to worrying about some past or future event while I run and I don't want that. I want silence. I want focus. Please, for the love of all that is good, please SHUT UP IN THERE.

Because the vigorous yoga engages my mind, I find peace there. I have to be so totally focused on what I am doing that my ego mind steps aside as I flow between a one power-giving gumby like pose to the next with occasional collapses into child's pose as I try not to pass out or throw up. During the final savasana, I am often overwhelmed as whatever emotional backlog that remains after sweating every drop of liquid from my body is purged and then I am united with the others in that glorious harmonic OM. There is no room for chatter and then after an hour and a half of this relative solitude, I find bliss. Quiet, in-the-moment-bliss has been finding its way into more and more of my day outside of class. As I am learning to control that beast within, my energy is shifting. I find myself smiling more, engaging in conversation with strangers more, and most importantly having patience and enjoying Ian more. One line in Eat Pray Love suggests to serve G*d is very simple. Just notice who you love and every loving act you bestow on that person is in service to Him. Because they are Him. I always knew that mothering was G*d's work, but reading it this way helped cement that idea. I am serving my inner fountain of peace and nurturing my spirit when I am making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or folding underwear. Who knew? It helps to find meaning in the menial.

So in the book, when Liz traveled to India in search of G*d and so graciously decided to write about it openly, I was given these revelations. They came to me at 5:30 in the morning, were hastily scribbled out in a nearby notebook, and consequently transcribed here for whomever or no one on earth to read. Now that everything my mind had to say before dawn has been released to the universe maybe it will take a break for a bit so I can be present for the rest of my day.


Tracey said...

Good for you Renee! It is such an awesome feeling to have finally found the "way"! This is how I feel after Meditation. The calm, the peace, the ability to handle any tantrum. You might want to read The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Tich Nhat Hanhn, if you haven't yet.

Renee K said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out. Haven't read that one yet, but I love Living Buddha, Living Christ. Thanks for reading!