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Your best friend is nothing – or – How to let go

By January 27, 2011June 30th, 2017Blog post

Part I

In the midst of a winter of despair I found within myself an invincible summer. A. Camus

Any beneficial change has to come from deep within, to arise from nothingness, to endure the test of time.

sunrise photo by carolyn ringo

Where do you go when you are caught up on the merry-go-round of life and it just keeps getting faster and you don’t seem to be able to get off? Vacation? Fantasy? Numbing addictions? Your best friend? They do have their place, but they are not consistently useful in sustaining the creative aliveness possible in daily life.

The question I always fall back on is, “What do I really want?” The answer to that rarely lies on the surface of my day to day busy mind. Neither does it come from my fantasies or what my best friend thinks. What I have found is that I must let everything fall away time and time again, going to the vast emptiness to reset my compass point.

Whatever we put our energy on increases. Do you know what your attention is on most of the time? I find it impossible to be clear about my intentions (by focusing my attention) and not fall back into muddle mind, unless I am regularly going to that quiet place from which pure consciousness arises. Time alone in silence is where we find the rich fertile soil of life itself!

We must get quiet within before we can direct our outer life on the trajectory we choose for ourselves. We must get quiet before we can choose wisely. We must get quiet over and over again before we can learn to roll with the punches.

“So how do I do this introspection or meditation or whatever you are talking about when I have such a busy life?” you might ask. You have to want to. We usually begin to make moves toward changing when we get uncomfortable enough with the status quo to take action.

You need to start carving out time to get quiet at least 5 times per week. If you are not used to doing it, start with 5 minutes per session. Go for a walk where you will not be brought out of yourself; where you can just be quiet with the natural world. Or find a quiet spot in your home where you can sit in silence. You may want to practice Qi Gong or any number of things that take you out of your mind. We need to find ways to empty ourselves of thought. For me it takes at least 5 minutes of focused thinking to let the endless thoughts float by without my grasping onto them.

To get off the merry-go-round, or at least slow it down, and drop into this delicious nothingness usually involves change. A change of the habitual way we live our lives. I’ve written about how we change before, as have so many others. Yet what I know for certain is that whatever we want to be different in our lives has to begin with this resetting of our compass point. It is the creation of a new habit that will be your friend forever, no matter what outer circumstances may bring.

From this quiet empty place you will be guided and given the ability to recognize the needed changes that will be for the highest and best for all concerned.

I will not go into detail here about how to do it because there is so much readily available on the subject. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illnessby Jon Kabat-Zinn is a wonderful book on basic meditation, although there are many others. A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Lifeby Jack Kornfield is also a helpful book with many stategies for making meditation work for you. (This is a Buddhist book but I have led 2 study groups based on this book which included people from various religious backgrounds.)

There are many ways to learn to “meditate” and every spiritual path has a version. There are also many classes and seminars you can take to help. I have found the power of meditating in a group periodically helpful to my private practice.

What I will say is that after you get comfortable with this place and can expand to 20 minutes (or longer) per session you will find it easier to find the time to practice.

Powerful intention arises from that deep still place. I invite you to dive in and begin noticing what’s there. Be gentle with yourself no matter how well you think you are or are not doing it. Stick with it, so that you can stick with whatever changes you may find yourself drawn to from here and so that you can be actually make the changes that will be most beneficial and satisfying.

When we throw out the physical clutter, we clear our minds. When we throw out the mental clutter, we clear our souls. Gail Blanke

It is not always fun or easy, but it is surprisingly simple.

I know you know this. And I know we forget. You have been reminded and I hope my words have reminded you of so much else you know that will help you on your journey. Drop a line below to tell me about your practice.

Blessings on your process,

Carolyn Ringo

Author Carolyn Ringo

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