Looking Back

It’s fine to look backwards sometimes but who wants to spend their days stewing on what was? The time is now, life is now. All possibilities exist in the great unknown yawning out before us.

But looking back I don’t think I was ever a great listener. I was always too occupied by my own inner world which for a long time was considerably noisier and more demanding that it is now. You notice much more when your mind is quieter. There’s more space for listening and curious receptivity. A quieter mind imposes less on your attention. You feel lighter and more spacious. I miss less of what others are sharing with me now. I’m more available, receptive and responsive. And I’m grateful for that. Because when I do look back at how I used to be, I see how oblivious I was to so much.

Not perfect now, but better.

Before I was so concerned about what I was going through at any given time that I had little capacity or interest in others’ lives and woes. It’s a function of the wrong kind of fullness — I had a head full of wasps. During the worst of times it was fuelled by one substance or another. But usually just a general pleasure-seeking way of operating in the world. Instrumentalising everything and everyone to sustain some fleeting sense of momentary well-being. To fill the hole, the lack.

There’s the root. The sense of lack, of incompleteness, insufficiency. But at some point I learned that “happiness was an inside job”. And so I saw that if I was seeking it outside of myself then I was doing it wrong. My happiness couldn’t be dependent if it was to be sustainable. I turned within to find the peace that abides.

Meditation saved me.

But getting to that point took its time. We don’t turn around, turn within, until somehow we realise that ‘the world’ isn’t going to satisfy. That it can’t deliver anything that lasts. Maybe it’s as simple as stopping chasing outwards and not that we necessarily believe that lasting happiness can actually be found inside us. But for me, meditating was a regular and frequent rest from the rat-race mind, the hamster wheel of seeking momentary satisfactions and brief unsustainable pleasures. I found rest within and with it, bliss. I found that the source of my joy was my own being, my own consciousness.

I’d say that this discovery was extremely self-empowering. It felt like I’d tapped into some infinite reservoir of goodness and peace that I could access at any time and any place. No wonder I wanted to do it more and more. I mean, life still held its charms and attractions, but increasingly it was clear that this blissful inner experience was the where the real juice was.

I’m so thankful. It was truly the Guru’s grace that showed me how to access my own inner resources. I remember learning to meditate and immediately thinking that, “wow, this is new, I hadn’t noticed this before,” and I also knew that wouldn’t have discovered it on my own. So I was grateful for the instruction. And I was grateful for the gift of self-reliance it gave me. It was mine, like a precious jewel.

Jai Guru Dev, indeed.

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