We are who we are.
No matter how hard we try, we’re unlikely a Damascene moment will transform us into the person we’d always hoped we’d be.
You might if you try over a number of years, change a bit. But it’s unlikely. Plus, we forget that we can get worse as well as better. Years sitting at a desk, or in an unloving relationship, can mean we become worse, not better.
I know now, despite many years railing against it, that I’m better off sleeping regular hours. I’m not very disciplined, but I have a strong will that can combat that lack of discipline. I’m lucky enough to have been blessed with a good mind, body and ear – I find work, sport and music comes easily. But that means I’ve not had to fight to be OK at them, so I’ve been lazy with those talents.
I’m good with people, but I’m also impatient and judgemental. I need people around me, to help me be a better person and yet I can lose and isolate myself in my own world. I love being active, yet I find it hard to get started and so laziness can easily prevail without a catalyst.
It’s good to try to know oneself and to work with, not against oneself.
When I did the vipassana, it gave me a chance to sit and just be and start to come to know who I am. For a while, my ego, or just sheer boredom, fought against the practice. Eventually, without anything to distract, I was forced to listen to myself.
I noticed, deep within me, somewhere at the very core of my being, that there was something constantly moving, a restlessness.
It’s hard to explain, but it was almost like there was a motor whirring deep in my abdomen. Something tense, aggravated and angry. A psychological hornet.
Vipassana enabled me to listen to it… to feel it. I realised that it had been there all my life, without ever stopping.
Throughout the 10 days, I not only noticed this phenomenon, but occasionally the motion would stop, just for a second, and I felt at peace. I remember there was a deep sense of release when this perpetual movement took a moments breather.
That’s why I often felt exhausted, I thought – because when asleep, awake, resting, drunk, happy or sad, I have been using energy to fuel this motor. A motor that does nothing. A motor that is powered by fear, stress, ambition ego and expectation.
The motor only stopped completely during vipassana, but my sense is that it moves at different speeds depending on how I feel – the faster it moves, the less balanced I am.
The motor exists to ‘drive’ me and ‘propel’ me. It is a force of ego that attempts to make me a better person and push me on, and yet it is destructive. It consumes energy without contributing. Its wheels spin in its desire to propel me to places that, paradoxically, can only truly be reached naturally.
This is a strange concept, but I’m now aware of its presence within me, almost as if my ear is now attuned to the noise it makes.
I’ve also noticed that lots of people seem to be powered by a similar energy. When we talk of stress, anger, frustration, ambition, anxiety, insecurity, desire… the elements that combine to create attachment – I notice this motor in others. I imagine the motor and the energy is used and dispelled in many different ways. We all process and cope differently. But boy, what a waste of energy.
My battle… In fact that’s the wrong word, because it wants a battle.
My challenge, I should say, is to slow it down and let it stop. To starve it of its fuel. To give up, let go and let be. To recognize that change comes through acceptance and can only be reached without this motor running.
Mental note to self (although so difficult to remember) – I am what I am and the more I nurture my individual self, the less fuel this motor has and the more likely I’ll get where I want to be.
Which, is right here, at peace… rather than over there, at pace.