I try to meditate for 20 minutes right before I go to bed every night. I fail with consistency and lately, the nights of failure, far outnumber the nights of success. Its funny how the things we know are best for us, can quickly become the things we forgo most often!.
In meditation, there is an element of self-discipline that is required and developed. Sitting still and keeping your mind clear for 20 minutes is far harder than it sounds!
As thoughts sneak in, and they do, all the time, we acknowledge them and let them float away like clouds across the sky. "We are not the itch, we experience the itch." I had to repeat that so many times last night it became a mantra! I had so many itches that desperately wanted me to scratch them! I focused, breathed, and watched them and their dagger like edges float by only to be replaced by another grouping!
Just when I thought I had claimed total victory, and believed I could finish the session without scratching the itch, a barrage of fresh itch breeched my walls and sought to usurp the throne of self-control. It reminded me of something I read in the book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho.
In the book, a Shepard boy ventures out in search of a treasure that has appeared to him in his dreams. On his journey, he has a chance encounter with a king who tells him about a mans "personal legend." According to the king, the only responsibility a man has in life, is to find and live out his personal legend. This concept is one I liken to finding your "core purpose."
The king explained, on the way to fulfilling your personal legend, the universe would at first seek to show you favor, call it beginners luck, in an effort to affirm you and motivate you to continue on your path. things magically fall into place, people are responding to you, you are making a difference! Oh my gosh! This is going to work!
The king further explains that a time comes when the journeyman would be tested before the fulfillment of their personal legend. He or she would need to use all the lessons they had learned through various trials in order to not quit or turn away. In that moment, they must prove their dedication to purpose, their personal legend. If they fail, they prove they are not ready for life after their personal legend is lived out. My meditation became a microcosm of that journey!
At first, I was doing well. The first 6 minutes I was still, clear of mind. Beginners luck. Keep going. Then came the itch , the trials. I won, I overcame. But when the final barrage overtook me, I wanted to itch, I wanted to quit, I wanted to turn away from my "personal legend." I wanted to once again be comfortable. But, I resisted and am stronger for it.
My life has mirrored this journey, and without introspection, it would continue in failures. The phrase "strength through pain" has been important to me recently. Strength is required to go through and grow through pain. Pain is required to grow in strength.
Running is painful, it isn't comfortable. Forgoing pleasure is painful. But we fail to grow stronger if we trade the pain for comfort.
Psychologist Carl Jung said "Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." To realize our purpose we must look inside ourselves and find out who we really are. Not who we were told to be, not who we strive to be because society calls your path honorable. Jiddu Krishnamurti said, "It is no measure of good health to be adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
I'm not comfortable. I'm not trying to please anyone. I'm not trying to see how many likes or shares I can get on Facebook. I'm finding my purpose. I'm accepting the obstacles, limping over them and not looking in the crowd to see whose laughing at me. It's my journey and I'm doing the bucket work.