It is so easy to become lost these days because there are so many distractions. When I have a monstrous list of things to do and no time-or no desire to do them-I know it's time to fall back and re-group. Life, it's sometimes said, is a journey and a battle...so true...but there are days when I no longer have the energy to keep fighting and just simply want to be. Just be. I don't want to have to be clever or entertaining or intelligent. I just want quiet existence.
The character played by Greta Garbo in the great movie classic Grand Hotel has been erroneously quoted as saying," I want to be alone." What she actually said is, " I want to be let alone." Big difference, and I can identify.
There are days I want to spend by myself, just to drink iced tea and become thoroughly immersed in a book.Not sweet tea, sorry. Even though I live in the South now ( and I was actually born here), sweet tea and vinegar barbecue are two things I can't quite assimilate. But I love this time of year before the heat becomes oppressive and it's still a bit tangy and chilly at night because the days are lazy and just right for reading. Other days, I want to simply 'handle my stuff'-literally. I drag out the belongings I have packed away and change out a few nick-knacks and freshen up the room that has become my world. I surround myself with me, which is important, because I live in a house that is devoid of anything spiritual or otherwise personal. It's a lovely house, and I appreciate having a roof over my head, but it just exists because the homeowner is not only an atheist, she is all about not being attached to anything to the point of not having any pride of ownership.Which can be interpreted as being very Buddhist,or very self centered....whatever it is, that's not something that resonates in me.
When you have no depth or no desire to look deeply within, it's difficult to manage that which is at the surface of your everyday life. I don't think that just living is enough and I don't think that it's honestly something you decide to do, because I believe in formation. It's possible to live simply, but for me simply living is my idea of hell. Without appreciation for your surroundings, with out acknowledging your history, I don't believe you can live at the level of your soul.
It's a double bind at best.You don't start living as who you truly are until you've had some experience under your belt, and you don't get experience until you have lived. It's impossible to have lived without gathering moss, because it's the moss that lends character to the stone. The rolling stone that gathers no moss is just another stone. I think that saying," Not now because I've had enough," takes courage. Saying NO is not a sign of weakness-quite the opposite. It's recognition of being at service to that deeper level of your being. It comes from knowing yourself and who you are not, rather than from conditioning. The 'stiff upper lip' is a fraud.
On those days when I curl up with a good book or take care of my little space, I am living true to my inner being and caring for myself. I do the same thing during personal devotions. I am never more Me than when I am surrounded by those things I perceive as holy. It's my choice to light the incense and candles and focus on diety images or read a book of prayers or just sink into the place of Deep Indwelling. It is connection. The opposite drains my energy and chips away at the spirit I have carefully nurtured and the person I have artfully developed. I cannot live at the level of my soul when I am preoccupied being who others want me to be, and I will tell you now that I am becoming less and less tolerant of the demands of others upon my life and resentful of their intrusion. If I have not invited you in, you have no place in the same space with me, because I have only so much of myself I'm willing to give away and I am determined not to have that small part taken from me ever again.
Who you are is the totality of your existence. It is not only oneness with yourself, but with everything else in the Universe. For me, that is fulfillment and satisfaction. It is comfort. How I think, feel and experience my surroundings is the major component of who I am. The indoctrination of what sets the tone of my psyche-beliefs, convictions, philosophies- only contributes to who I am and doesn't define me. I am more intuitive than that, more open to gut feeling and the abstract, more deeply rooted to my sense of self.
The everyday corporate world seems to align with a more superficial level of understanding which runs the world and pushes these things aside so we can blend and become a part of the cosmic cake mix...and I rail against this probably more than is wise for my own good. Socialization and individual evolution allow these things to come together, but it is less than a perfect fit for me. I want the level of my soul to be more luminous. I have an allegiance to a deeper part of me, and because of this I have happily forfitted many of the trappings that spell sucess in our culture. I can have a higher level of measurable wealth and the trappings that go with that at a job that demands all my attention but sucks the desire to live out of me ( and I have), or I can choose what makes me happy and adjust to a little less money... but have inmeasurable wealth...it's all perception.
I choose spiritual transformation, because it is what makes me happiest. I has taken me a long time to know that I would rather be happy than rich, that although the money will buy things, it does not buy the things that I need to be fulfilled and at peace. There was a point in my life when I totally succumbed to the stress and chaos of a major life transition... and everything collasped because I couldn't keep up. I beat myself up a lot and bought into what others told me was failure.I know now that the truth is I didn't want to keep up appearances because it wasn't me, it took me off my path.
Right now I'm still literally in-between lives. The foundations of the old life has fallen away, but the new life hasn't totally emerged yet. It's still transforming and uncertain. And although I don't like the feeling of uncertainty, I know it's coming soon...I can feel it. I'm hopeful and excited, because I have seen the level of my own soul.