It wasn’t too long ago that we honored the importance of space in our lives. We planned family vacations focused on lolling around rather than experiencing every adventure money could buy. We knew how to sit quietly together and enjoy the silence, lost in our own thoughts as they say. We knew how to be present in the space, because it was our only option.
Now, we have an abundance of choices. We NEVER have to be “trapped” in silence, or alone with our thoughts. We have a plethora of options on which to focus which can allow us to be either productive or numb, and we never have to feel lost in our thoughts and feelings ever again. So do we feel any less lost? My hypothesis is “No.” Instead, we are driven to fill every gap with action or distraction. We are desperate for more knowledge, but run like hell from wisdom. Why??? I think we have forgotten where our true wisdom and understanding are sourced. We now seek continuously and constantly outside of ourselves for all of the answers, the support, the strategies, and even for proof of what is “right & wrong.” We have lost our connection to our inner compass, our guiding wisdom that is ours and ours alone.
When anything arises from within us, be it inspiration or question, we immediately doubt it, analyze it, and ultimately override it with our well-honed tools of categorization, logic, and analyzation. The case for following your heart is closed, being judged as frivolous, too risky, or naive. And we wonder why we need to be taught how to take care of ourselves (a knowing that is so unique to each individual that truly only YOU can know). We are bombarded with “opportunities” to be better in 15 steps, to be more efficient, more successful. We even have lists for self care, boundaries, communication, and rest. Our wisdom has gone underground, and we refuse to create the space to find it. Stepping into the possibilities of feeling, trusting our gut rather than the “how to lists,” is lost. We feel shaky and afraid to move in the direction of our desires all the time. But, in truth, ALL that you need to know is already present, all you have to do is make the space to hear it.
I want to make a case for front porch swings and fireflies, for staring off into space, for lingering in bed on a Sunday morning listening to the rain. I want to allow the time to get lost in our thoughts, even if they don’t feel good. I want to fight for the spaces on our list that live between the check boxes, for the cracks in the plan, for the gaps in the strategy. What if, and I know this flies in the face of all things “right and sane,” but what if we just stopped and did nothing. What if we took a walk in the middle of the day, didn’t check a damn thing off our list, or allowed ourselves to watch the clouds or the stars passing across the sky? Would our worlds fall apart? Really?
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying we should stop acting. What I am saying is we should try acting on the impulse and inspiration that arises from the gap (regardless of circumstance or evidence), instead of requiring a plan, a strategy, or an external affirmation. What if we turned inside to the rarely recognized whisper of knowing and trusted that no matter what it tells us to do, it knows best. That no matter how crazy it sounds, or how impossible it appears right now, it is the right thing, and doors will open to make it possible. Is it conceivable that the voice within us knows better than our parents, our bosses, our colleagues, our partners? What if we trusted that “best” doesn’t have to be synonymous with easiest, most efficient, most productive, or most profitable? What if we started trusting ourselves again?
I know this idea is revolutionary, and disregards EVERYTHING we are taught and told. I know we hang our hats on accomplishment and our heads at the thought that we cannot do it all. I know there is a desperation driving the need to be doing all of the time, but isn’t our achievement only making the desperation stronger? Isn’t our doing leading us deeper into distraction, and farther away from the possibilities that arise from knowing ourselves?
I’ve been teaching Yoga a LONG time, and resoundingly people say that they cannot sit still, they cannot move slowly, their mind’s are NEVER quiet. They need to move fast, to work hard and distract the mind in order to rest. And this perpetuation of the push, the perpetual doing, the harder, faster, louder approach is taking us farther and farther away from our innate wisdom. This absence of stillness and quiet is simply a call to conversation. A conversation that needs no outside input, no additional opinion or critique. This conversation is not meant to be shared with others. This conversation happens when we move away from action and distraction, and make the space and time to be with ourselves. If we continually fill the space in our actions (or our inactions), the gap from which our wisdom arises grows into a chasm. To peer over the edge of that abyss initially feels like terror. Not because it is dangerous, but because of what might effervesce up from it’s depths.
We are innately wise. We contain the entire universe within the boundaries of our skin. The intelligence of the whole is encoded in every individual part. We cannot learn the wisdom we seek, we can only listen and be guided into action. This is the ONLY path that will lead to “peace,” a dynamically shifting state of change in which you infinitely trust the process.
For those of you who say, “How do you know what is your inner guidance and what is your mind?” I say, MIND THE GAP. Put your mind in the gap between strategy and plan. LAND in the space between action and distraction and LISTEN. All you need to know is right there. And it will guide you, if you let it.
Stay in the erratic movements of the mind until they allow a passage through. Move inward to feel what lies beneath the vacillation and doubt. It might not come in the way that you would like to hear it, but please, listen anyway. YOU know what you need more than anyone, more than any outside evidence. Move with care and attention in your actions. Take an hour to do one sun salute, experience the feeling of your own breath for an indeterminate amount of time, stare off into space and meet yourself in the cracks between your thoughts and actions. Pay attention to the discomfort that arises. Whatever you choses, please, don’t push yourself away again. Chose to be present. Allow the guidance to arise from within you, and act based on what you receive instead for what you hope to gain. Watch how your relationship with the world changes. There is a place in you that knows, that has always known, and will always know, all it needs is some space to grow.