There are many of us who find peace when we meditate but only find war when we go out into the world. We are beaten up, manipulated and tossed around and when we get home, we go to our altars to center ourselves and find temporary solace before bed. The next time you are meditating and you catch a flash of inner peace, focus and hold onto it. Magnify it by letting its influence expand until it fills your entire being. Don’t lose the sense of tranquility when your eyes open. Try to walk into that tranquil space while moving through your day. Be just as still inside and as alert as when you were at your altar. As you are influenced by the people and the situations around you, sit back in your peace and notice your own thought patterns and emotions. SEE them as they are (not as good or bad) and ask yourself if these patterns are creating the road that will lead to your desired goal. Even more importantly, ask yourself if you can remain in peace and see all the many blessings while on the journey. The journey is the gift. Knowing this to be true is not enough. Your other aspects of self must reflect the knowledge in your head or else your actions will contradict what you think you know.
One of the best examples of this is with kids fighting to be in the front of the line. The knowledgeable kid is yelling “Hey, stop fighting, we are all going to the same place!” He is yelling this truth while pushing and fighting to be in the front of the line. This is how many of us behave. We know the journey; the present is where the life is. We know that the journey is the blessing but we are constantly worrying and fighting to control things that are out of our immediate power. We want what we want, right now, never realizing that the joy has to come from within first. We forget that joy is a muscle that walking in meditation helps us to develop. If you have not worked your joy muscles by practicing the art of maintaining happiness, you will never be happy, even after your goal is reached because you never learned joy.
Our goals are essentially propulsion for us to walk. The goal is the carrot dangling in front of us (horses) to keep us moving on this trail. The goal is not the future. How can it be? It is conceived in the past. It is an expression of past wants and values and as you change it will change as well. If we focus too much on the goal, we miss the lessons of today and the greater treasures (or paths) right in front of us. Many of us are walking to the store to buy a carton of milk. But, we do this as we walk past six cows!
As you move towards your goal in a happy state and remain around people with like minds (this is not intended to be a solitary journey), you must keep your mind open because the now can burst open before your eyes, and show you what you REALLY want as well as the beauty in the struggle, and the peace in the war.
Don’t get me wrong, to have a goal is important, but don’t tunnel your vision so that all that you can see is your goal; that goal is only a carrot compared to the blessings that the Universe can grant you while on the path. The path is filled with treasures you can’t even imagine! The goal is propulsion, but joy is the light. If you haven’t focused your eyes to pick up on the rays of joy then you will miss the entire splendor of the moment. The illusory carrot is all you will have. Own the Now! I can’t tell you how many beautiful sunsets I have missed stressing out about tomorrow. How many great opportunities have I passed on while locked in my own narrow dreams? Who could I have helped today to take my mind off of the endless wanting?
Learn to enjoy the steps toward your goal as much as you yearn for the goal itself. If you can’t enjoy or at least see the worth in the steps, you are missing out and surely stressing out! The carrot (goal) is not the future for it has been with you from the start dangling there in front of your face. When the day creates the illusion that we are closer to our goal, we allow ourselves to be happy. When the day is bad and presents the illusion that we are far from the goal, we are sad. If we could only eat that amazing carrot or at least touch it today, we wouldn’t be so angry.
I used to let anger have its way with me. I would allow rage to consume me and proceed to do and say things that I would never allow when I was in my right mind. The demon of anger would possess me, feeding off of my hate and resentment, “Why can’t she just see that I am right!!!?” When the rage takes over, it is easy to create thoughts that keep the demon eating. The ego is a great source of food for the anger demon. As long as we allow our ego to blame everyone else for our misery, there is an altar for that hungry rage demon to visit. (People that are often “right” must also know that there is a right and respectable way to be right!)
Through walking in meditation I was able to begin to see the patterns that would lead to the rage. The anger patterns begin to unfold while I was in a disagreement usually with a love interest that I had great feelings for. My goal was to reach an understanding so that our “love” could prosper but the disagreement would only progress. She, the lover would either shut down and ignore or say something harsh that struck an emotional chord. At the state of consciousness that I was in, I was like a robot that could be angered by pressing the right buttons. I knew better, but merely knowing in the head is not enough, for my head was not with me to reason things out when these arguments gained in angry momentum.
The momentum would come in the form of suggestions disguised as my own thoughts! The rage demon wanted to express itself so it would say things like, “I hate her so much!” “She is so stupid!” “Throw this glass against the wall! That would feel really good right now!” Once I accepted the thought(s), and either expressed it vocally or physically, the demon had enough control to get its fill of delicious hate from me. The fire would consume me from head to toe and when it was finished, I was the monster. Even if I was making a good point, the focus was shifted to how crazy I was so the issue couldn’t be dealt with. This was usually to the delight of the lover who didn’t wish to confront her side of the issue anyway.
Eventually, I reached a place where a peaceful reflective aspect of my being always remained in tact enough to observe the robotic, reactive parts of me. I was still a robot with buttons to push and manipulate, but there was also an observant guide taking notes and paying attention. I was now able to watch myself as if a viewer watching a movie character. Many of us never detach from our robot-self enough to really watch what we are doing objectively. We just act emotionally or habitually and then try to make excuses on why we acted a certain way to spare us the pain that can come with self realization.
After finally being able to see my robot-self act foolish as an objective observer for a time or two, things slowed down just enough for me to recognize the pattern and the source of the demon’s power. I was able to rebuke and deny the thoughts that were not my own. Without the thoughts taking root, there was no fertile ground for the demon to land and ride me. Now I would hear the evil suggestions and laugh. I could feel the demon’s subtle presence and how the back of my neck would heat up slightly. I had the freedom of choice at this point. In the past the demon would come upon me so gradually that I was powerless. Now I had a thermometer and I could get out of the situation before my blood began to boil and allow foolishness to manifest. I was able to get out of the situation and say, “Girl, you are right!” or “We really can’t talk about this now” or even “I really gotta pee!” anything to remove me from the situation. I refused to be a vessel for rage and he hasn’t been back to visit on my worst day.
Clarity came and told me that verbal seeds are just like seeds in a garden. They take time to grow, but can’t grow if the soil isn’t fertile. The problem was never the other person, but my perception on how other people dear to me should behave. I did this instead of seeing the people as they were. All of us are not good for the same things! I was getting mad at the insensitive girlfriend for not being sensitive and the flaky homeboy for being flaky! What sense does that make? Does one get mad at the burning flame for proving time and time again that it is too hot to touch?
To make matters worse, I would blindly expect people to see they were wrong and change. No one is obligated to change on my accord! A wise man says his piece and moves on…in peace. Many of us just shout the same things back and forth as if the other person didn’t hear. We want immediate results to settle our imbalanced solar plexus cravings for power. We haven’t grasped the fact that people are patterns and that many of the patterns (some that were handed down to us from the blood of our parents) have been nurtured for the majority of our lives! “But I, Monticue, I am so great that you are going to change your reckless behavior in one fierce debate with me?!” Nonsense! When I speak, the seed is planted (if the soil is fit); it may take many years if one wants to change, and may never happen for someone who can see no value in my words.
Walk in meditation, refuse to shout at walls. Speak to them and move on with your business. These are the lessons that come with practicing the art of building the joy body. To reach a goal will not bring a lasting happiness for joy begets more joy. Wanting begets more wanting. Many of us get a thing only to want another thing more. We unconsciously lie to ourselves and say “I will be happy when I get married” or some other obstruction to seizing the joy of the moment. If there is any inkling of an opportunity to manifest joy in the present, it is wise to do so. We want this to become a habit. One of the best ways to begin this process is to sit quietly and pay attention to how thoughts form in the mind. You will realize that you are not your thoughts, but the observer. You are the observer who has been sleeping to the choices and awesome experiences that lie at your very feet.