I never thought I’d say this, but I have embarked on a spiritual journey with the intention of finding a bit of inner peace. Is this a cliché? Yes. Is this something which would have previously made me scream and run for the hills? Yes. Is being ‘spiritual’ on trend at the moment? Apparently yes.
But with all that being said, if you genuinely want to be at peace with yourself and your surroundings, there is no better feeling. You can’t fake genuinely feeling good. And in a world where everything seems to be about keeping up appearances, there is something very grounding about being real and true to yourself.
Where did all this come from?
Over the past four years, I have been on an admittedly desperate mission to ‘find’ myself. I spent countless hours asking myself who I was and what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I did all the usual things like making lists of everything that I loved doing, cross-referenced with those things that I could earn a living from in the hopes of finding my ‘dream job’ and a way of life that suited me.
However, I just went round and round in circles, flitting from one thing to the next. My default setting was a brute force attack on any idea that seemed vaguely plausible in the hopes of charging my way into my new life.
For example, whilst researching ways of earning a living whilst travelling, I came across the idea of teaching English abroad. And whilst this is a great way of doing just that, I wasn’t in a position to actually leave and go travelling. So after throwing myself in whole-heartedly, taking a TEFL course and doing some volunteer TESOL teaching to get some experience, I suddenly realised that this little idea had no legs whatsoever because I couldn’t do anything with it. And that in turn made me feel even more dejected.
I also tried to convince myself that I could be a ‘budget traveller’. This now makes me laugh. Out loud. With the best will in the world, I’m not a budget anything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in being wasteful or flinging money around just for the sake of it, but in my heart I know I’m not a backpack-and-hostel kind of person.
And so trying to force myself to be like that, just because I was reading lots of very successful blogs from full-time travellers/backpackers, meant that I was trying to make something happen that wasn’t true to who I was.
So what’s next?
After several failed career paths, relationships, and relocations, I am rebuilding myself from a genuine place so that I have a strong foundation going forwards. This will not only help me, but also help my relationships with family, friends and future partners.
I started looking into meditation, conscious awareness, and positive thinking about a year ago and did have some success with it for a few months over the summer, but then as usual I got caught up in ‘the next thing’ (which at that point was relocation) and all my hard work went out the window, and I was back to being on autopilot.
And it was only after another relocation, another heartbreak, and another ‘what am I going to do now?’ situation, that I decided I had to seriously change how I was going about things.
The only moment that exists is ‘now’
Do you know that the only moment that exists is now? Well, of course you do. But really think about it. The only ‘real’ thing is this moment right now. The past has already happened and cannot be changed, and the future doesn’t exist yet.
So that’s what I’m working on now; being ‘in the moment’. I realised I was wasting so much energy going over and over past events, and it’s silly because they can’t be changed. And it’s the same for future events; worrying unnecessarily about something that hasn’t even happened yet (and may not ever happen!) is silly.
But that’s easier said that done, right? Well, that’s where meditation comes in. I started meditating ‘properly’ about a month again. And I say ‘properly’ because whilst I’m still very new to it, I’m at least doing it with intention and because I want to.
Meditation helps train your mind to be quiet, and with enough practice you can keep a nice quiet mind even when you’re not meditating. If our minds are wandering about all over the place, cooking up crazy scenarios that may or may not happen, or replaying a conversation we had with someone years ago, then we just cannot be present in the ‘now moment’.
And with a nice quiet mind, what we really want and who we really are can start to come forward.
When I first started meditating, I will admit it felt a bit weird and uncomfortable. I was sitting there thinking “Is this it? Now what? Can I stop yet?”. For the first week or so, I lasted approximately 5-7 minutes before I couldn’t control my mind from going off on a tangent. But now, four weeks later, I can quite easily meditate for 20 minutes before my thoughts overpower me and I have to admit defeat!
And the most amazing realisation for me is that I actual enjoy it and look forward to it now. As I said above, I wasn’t sure about it at the start and almost had to persuade myself do it. But now at some point every day (but usually in the morning) I look forward to quieting my mind and feeling peaceful.
The true test
The true test of whether this is actually working (and whether I can maintain it) will be over the next few weeks, as I’m being flung into a (thankfully short) mission through no choice of my own, complete with a city centre location, public transport, and rush-hour commuting. Dear god give me strength.
So with that being said, have a great Saturday and I’ll see you on the next post!