My ordinary world
Have you watched a movie or played a video game that captured your imagination and absorbed you into the content so intensely that everything else fades away?
But some movies playing in my mind are traumatic experiences I've gone through and the ruminations linger.
This is me, in 2013 when we were at a vacation in Taiwan. Just before getting married. I was approaching a milestone in my life, and starting a family was a dream come true. Yet behind the smile, is a constant battle to put my mind at attention. To pay attention to the moment, and not think of the work I left in the laptop in the hotel. Nor should it be the fear of the future and the uncertainties ahead.
This is my struggle. But I believe it is everyone's struggle too.
The tension within
The tension within is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because as I feel stressed or anxious, my body and mind are alerting me. There is a problem, and being where I am now, is not good for me. A curse because the feeling isn't pleasant, nor easily ignored.
Then I snapped one day in a heated argument at work and I realized I couldn't hold this tension in balance. Not any longer. I gave up.
Crossing the threshold lies the discovery of the hero within
I begin my story of self discovery with a metaphor. This metaphor is my life's mission.
The innkeeper and the guesthouse
It is said that the eye is the window to our soul. Researchers have observed the movements of the eye in response to emotions. Our pupils dilate when we experience attraction or arousal. Dilated pupils also occur in stress and anxious moments.
In fact, our entire body responds to emotions as they arrive. We experience sensations in our body as emotions arise, bringing mind and body to a focused attention.
And if the eye is the window to our soul, then the body is the guest house and the emotions residing in the guest house, are pilgrims on a journey, dispatched by our souls, bearing messages about our innermost desires.
In this guest house, a story unfolds. Each guest bearing a tale so powerful that the ground trembles and stirs as it is told, and the guest house reverberates till the echoes are heard by the innkeeper, who listens intently.
While the guest house shakes and tremors are felt throughout its structure, the innkeeper is forcibly disturbed into taking action. Ensuring that the windows are secured, the door is latched and any cracks in the walls are quickly patched up.
Amidst all the reaction and attention to keeping things the way they are, the message behind the story is lost. For the message had created ripples, and the innkeeper was absorbed into managing the ripple effects, the desire and its inner wisdom is overlooked.
This is how it is when our emotions arrive. They come with a message often overlooked as we pay attention to the ripples created and expanding away from the core. The innkeeper is the preoccupied mind trying to patch and fix things up. The ripples that were directional guides to the core, became the focal point. The message got lost.
The laboring soul would send many messengers to come knocking once again, especially when the message had gone unacknowledged. The innkeeper tired and beaten by the first tremor, would have the devastation recur, leaving it battered and bruised. Worn out and feeling defeated.
And so the cycle continues until our soul's desire erodes all attempts by our innkeeper to put up the façade despite a broken interior. This is where the message is laid bare and apparent for the beaten up mind to finally be open. Open to suggestions, open to listen, open to embrace the message as a wisdom. A wisdom that serves and benefits the guest house, the innkeeper and keeps all the guests in a harmonious balance, in rhythm with the beat of our innermost desires and purpose.
The road back
Man actually needs the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. - Author: Joseph Campbell
When there is nothing left, and the guest house emptied of its broken furniture and its brokenness plainly evident, Grace abides in the momentary awareness that the struggle was for a purpose.
In my moment of anger at work, the tension no longer held the balance. Every emotion and pain I had sought to patch over and hold back had released. Peace and silence in my mind set in. Yes, the body did panic from the over reaction, the ego did question my ways and I did feel like a failure for not being regulated enough.
Yet the discovery of my shadow which had been overly repressed, gave me the freedom and motivation to explore building a new path on a blank slate.
To fail, resurrect and grow
The discovery of the wisdom that each feeling is a vessel containing wisdom, from the divine or from our inner wisdom. This vessel resonates with the body and the elements are navigational arrows pointing to our purpose.
Still we struggle.
And I will always struggle with my sense of failure or not being good enough. But I accept that this desire of being "good enough" is a statement which if reframed says
I know I'm capable of more than this, and each day I fail, my soul sends a message reminding me that my failures are measures of how much I've grown and why I keep going.