This past month has been a rollercoaster of very intense negative mental states, namely great waves of fear, irrational guilt and doubt. Regularly, I’ve woken up in the early hours of the morning with my heart pounding and my mind racing. I lie there, trying to ground into my body trying not to get swept awake by the pervasive and persistent trains of thoughts, racing over and over again in my mind. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So I get up. Shower. Drink a cup of herbal tea and look at the sky peeking out above the buildings ahead of me. I notice the sounds. How silent it can be even in zone 2, just 15 minutes from the bustling consumer bombardment of Oxford Street. As Spring advances, the rumbling of the occasional train is joined by the chirrups of bird song. I try to make myself bigger and connect with this boundless spaciousness which is right there, if only I can direct my attention.
Sometimes it feels like the fizziness of this emotional viparka gets trapped in my body: my neck, jaw,shoulders,upper back, chest,eyebrows,head. It hurts. It prickles. It burns. It feels like a dead-end, where something in me blocks and resists, that I am somehow too afraid to really feel what is going on. I stretch, twist, turn and open with yoga, trying to unlock.
Then I sit in meditation. What do I need today? How can I be loving and kind to myself through meditation? Often it seems that just watching and being with the breath,paying attention to its detail, is the right medicine. My muscles and back click and pop as something releases itself. I am trying to remember to turn towards what is pleasurable in my experience, not focus on what hurts, but I often forget. This tendency manifests itself right out into my wider life, my tendency to see all the problems that often I forget to see what is beautiful and positive and already there. It’s shifted so much, but still my meditation shows me the depths of its habitual presence.
Sometimes I can drop, drop,drop or expand,expand,expand to connect with a deep beauty. A sense of ever-widening connection and spaciousness, where these emotional viparkas become a much smaller part of my experience. A lot of the time right now, I can just see how my mind will do anything and everything to distract itself from staying present.
And even though these viparkas are so strong, I don’t feel nearly as overwhelmed by them as I used to. I don’t quite believe them or take them so seriously. I generally feel quite well and happy, although quite tired. I can create some space around them, although I can also see the limitations of my practice.
Something in me is shifting again and I wonder what it is and why Mara is getting out the big guns…
I am seeing impermanence more, and my ego finds this hard to bear. And the many facets of my delusions.What I thought was true about me, about my past, just feels very limited, like seeing only through one prism of a kaleidoscope. I am remembering more and is shifting the sands of who I think I was/am. It feels like I can let go more easily (although with my big samskaras I wish it was so easy…)and I am becoming more uncertain yet more robust. It’s hard to explain or put a finger on it…and maybe I don’t need to know.
All I know is that I am content to be in the grit, because from the grit a pearl may be born.