Thursday, January 12, 2017

What does calm feel like?


I am driven. My energy and my focus do not match my expectations. I need
always to be improving, making, doing. What makes me so compulsive? So
demanding? So malcontent when I am staring into space?

I think it is fear. Fear of being forgotten, of having nothing, of
regretting at some future time that I might have been preparing and
there was time for me to prepare and I was doing nothing. I think I fear
the blank mind which slows down until it is numb. I fear that I did not
live my life completely and as fully as I was able. I fear not having
done the work that would advance my plans, bring me praise, raise my
status, and infuse the world with good memories of me. I fear losing a
chance to have feelings that might bind me to life and living things and
the love of the cosmos. I want to die with a full mind, a full heart,
after a life lived fully.

Is this a necessary emotional logic? The yogis of India teach methods to
overcome the wants of the body and the ambitions of the heart. Buddha
taught us to live for others and want nothing. These methods teach us
not to fill time with business and productivity, but to fill our time
with NOTHING. To exercise, feed and clothe ourselves, and meditate.
Those who do, they tell us, will escape the rat race of material want,
appetite, and ambition. The living beings on Earth now are trapped in a
cycle of unhappy suffering - "samsara" - suffering that only those who
train their minds and bodies can escape.

Trauma has driven me to fear - to fear loss of control over myself, to
fear the intentions of others, to fear the actions by which I might
prove myself competent or improve the lives of others. Trauma has
confused me, complicated my mind and my heart, and has compelled the
anxiety which drives me. Trauma and calm oppose each other.


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