By Ruth Lera
I am supposed to be meditating right now.
The heat is on in the guest room (that I am now calling the yoga room) and my pillow and mat are laid out waiting for me.
But somehow when my insides are all raw, which is often, and I feel a little shattered inside, it is hard to go meditate. It can feel like something that never worked in the first place is now even more broken, so broken that all I can do is sweep up the whole mess and toss it out the door.
This morning I am remembering how much I have always wanted out.
Okay, not just remembering it, but wanting it, desiring an exit route. Not from life, per se, but from this style of life. This style of life where we have to make money, and worry about money, and buy things we will just throw in the garbage; this style of life where it is so hard to help others and we live so separately from each other.
I have always contemplated how humans could live differently, even from a very early age. I have wondered how we could organize ourselves in a better way so that we were healthier, happier and everything is fair. Living in North American society makes no sense to me, and this has always been painful.
Lately, I think all the time about how if we would all just stop, everything could be better—stop working so much, stop striving to make so much money, stop buying things, stop consuming, stop rushing. Just slow it all down and be outside, be together, go to the stores less and touch the soil more.
In my mind it seems so simple that it makes me cry, those hot, slimy tears of wanting something so badly and at the same time knowing it is completely out of my control. That is what this wanting out feels like for me; wanting out of an everyday way that makes no sense to me.
But here is the paradox I have found. Bear with me be because it also makes no sense.
The more I acknowledge how much I want out—out of a life and a society that I just don’t get—the more I am willing to be fully in. The thought process goes like this:
If it is all fucked up and I don’t even want to be here then I might as well try my best and contribute as much as I can.
This is the closest I can get to a description of the inner workings of my being. I get completely frustrated and am sure there is no answer, and I feel the deepest of longings for not even wanting to be here, on planet earth, at all. And then suddenly I feel motivated, I feel invigorated. I feel like I have to give it my best try.
I don’t have a real understanding of why it works this way.
Maybe my inner awareness heals the painful longing, maybe being honest with myself opens up a portal of willingness that can’t be found when I am ignoring my truth. Maybe there are guides helping me along, coming to my rescue when the going gets tough.
Or maybe this is my true motivation—wanting to see society be different. Maybe this is what gets me out of bed in the morning and re-kindling that longing pushes me into an activation mode. Maybe we all have something that hurts, something that eats away at us so that in equal measures it causes us pain and keeps us going.
This is why it is so important to cultivate what Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche would call a type of Spiritual Warriorship. We need to cultivate this so that we can develop an ability to be courageous on the inside, so that we can to handle our own depths. Our feelings aren’t shallow. We can’t breaststroke on the top layer of our consciousness and think this is going to take us all the way. We need to dive to the bottom, where it is dark and the seaweed catches our legs, and the shadows of the sea monsters hover, and the reality of losing an arm to a predator is real.
This is where what we know to be true, lives.
This is where we find our route of service and our path of generosity. What we will find by tapping into our own pain, is a willingness to contribute something of substance to the people who need us, namely all sentient beings.
I don’t like crying myself to sleep at night, feeling my teenage heartbreak, my childhood loneliness and my adult wariness at continuing on.
But every time I do, I wake up with more to say and more to share and more ideas of how I want to touch others and continue to dream solutions that will brings less suffering to a world that feels so different then me, but at the same time is exactly the same.
Ruth Lera is the friend you turn to when your world has gone all topsy-turvy. Not because she tells you it’s all going to be alright but because she reassures you that not being alright is just part of the whole process of being human. And she might even give you some ideas about how to feel better, too. Find her at her website, her Facebook page or Twitter.
Editor: Dana Gornall