I’m not religious. But I’m going to use Lent as an excuse to challenge myself.
I considered giving up rubbish (as I’m eating more since I moved in with my sweet-toothed boyfriend). Then, I remembered what I heard in my Non-duality class last night.
Most of us spend our lives trying to increase pleasure and avoid pain. We’re constantly distracting ourselves.
We lie back on the couch and switch on Netflix. Then we get up to make ourselves a cup of tea before pulling open the biscuits. Then we pick up our phone.
This all keeps us from getting to know who we really are.
Yesterday evening, I was feeling anxious. I silenced my phone and sat in stillness for twenty minutes.
As I sat, many things passed through my mind – to do lists, memories, imaginations. My leg became uncomfortable.
Eventually all of that, including the anxiety, softened, melted. I don’t know if it went away or if I just dropped deeper. To a place within where none of it mattered.
So I’ve decided, instead of denying myself lots of things, I’m going to give myself something much greater. The gift of my presence.
If I choose to eat something, I’ll eat it. I won’t stuff it in my gob while numbing out in front of the TV.
I’ll take up the phone when I want to do something with it. Not out of habit. Not just to have something, anything, to do.
In between appointments this morning, I take myself for coffee and a scone. I leave the book I’m reading in my handbag. My phone lies idle on the table.
I notice as I’m eating that I’m lifting more scone to my face before I’ve finished chewing the last mouthful. I think about texting my parents.
I start composing an Instastory in my mind. I have the urge to leave the café and share all of this with my followers.
I am aware of this need to speed up, to get to the next thing and the next and the next. So I remain where I am.
I finish the scone slowly. I look at fellow customers as they pass by. A few of them smile at me.
I decide to write all this down instead of trying to squash my musings into a story. I don’t want to speak rapidly to fit it all in before Instagram cuts me off. Social media forces us to be quick and then wipes it all away.
I realise that if I live this way, one thing at a time, pausing, breathing, aware- that is meditation. It’s a learning of who I am.
Initially, that includes my thoughts and fears, my issues and insecurities. My ego.
And then comes a stillness. Or the I comes to stillness.
Nowhere else to go. Nothing to do.
Nothing I have to fix, change or get. I already am everything.