As the journey unfolds I cycle through my cycles which means sometimes I am on track with my light shinning, my mind a flutter with thoughts and articles, I am blasting through books and can’t seem to get enough knowledge and information, other times my light seems to be flickering, my mind is flat, sticky even, thoughts are dull and sometimes even finding the right word to complete a sentence is a struggle, my energy is low and I want to “sloth”. This is one of those times. It is such a contrast that I suddenly find my self berating myself, my thoughts and my behaviours and my light flickers even more. Just as I was feeling a bit frantic in this place of wanting things to be different and feeling very unsettled, I picked up the pocket Pema Chodron, opened the book to a random page, as I usually do, and this is what she said …
We don’t need to change ourselves
When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of sublet aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.” Or the scenario may be that they find fault with others; they might say, “If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.” “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get along, my job would be just great.” And “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent”. But loving-kindness, or maitri, toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of any thing. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.
Each and every time I open her book I am usually looking for some guidance, she always provides exactly what I need.
As this journey unfolds I think I have put pressure on myself to come back different, to change, to become a better person and when I get into a funk and I start to reprimand myself for not being further along, for still being crazy, for still feeling unworthy, for still feeling timid and I feel off balance, off kilter and my light flickers. I guess somewhere in my mind I have been holding onto this notion that somehow I am going to be a better person. It was exactly what I needed to hear to put my mind at ease and reconfirmed what I already know, that I am who I am and I don’t need to change. This journey is about continuing to discover all the nuances of being me, continuing to love this me unconditionally, to keep talking to the supreme within me and continue to allow it to uplift me without any expectations of how I should be in this moment; to accept that I am who I am right now.
My daughter said to me the other day “I am excited to get to know you again, the new you”. I felt the pressure of having to be somebody different when I get back. I am and will continue to be the same person who left Victoria 5 months ago and I suspect I will be the same Jodi who will return in a year’s time.
I will come home with a year’s worth of experiences that I didn’t have before I left but I will essentially still be the same person.
Thank you Pema for setting the my mind straight, yet again!