Taking Time for OneSelf

In the interest of sharing life’s ups and downs and in the spirit of spiritual reflection, I’d like to share a short chapter out of my life. Hopefully this helps someone somewhere to realize that it’s not all rainbows and ponies on the Path, but that after experiencing enough One can begin to see all of life’s situations from a higher perspective and develop oneself towards a constant equanimity in the midst of “The Drama“.

After a frustrating situation at work stemming from stress that came to a frustrating and unsatisfying conclusion on this day, I was feeling quite grumpy. I’m not usually a grumpy person, and I have become aware of my own moods and thoughts to the point of seeing that harboring negativity in OneSelf is not helpful or supportive of your own physical & mental health, not to mention your motivation, future, and reality in general. So having this experience and working through it, I’m inspired to write about it. This post is part venting, part showing humanity, and part inspiration for further spiritual development, and part walking the path of life.

One stressful and unpleasant morning after waking up feeling fatigued (I’ve been known to be a workaholic and stay up late working on software projects), I practiced my daily routine of setting off for work trying not to be late. If you’re living in a rural or more peaceful area, count yourself lucky in that respect, for in the stressful city life people have become so masochistic that they have devised a system of living, system of working, and monetary exchange such that we are put into a socio-economic situation and lifestyle where we are encouraged and essentially bred into waking up early to go drive through traffic to work so we can have money for food & living expenses. Well ok, if you’re in a rural area you’re probably in part of that system too, and even can appreciate the benefits that such a system has when compared to living on one’s own. Even if you’re amazingly self-sufficient enough to be off the grid, count yourself even luckier in the aspect of not having to deal with traffic and worry about being late.

To understand my emotions on this day, it’s generally accepted that certain individuals are “morning people”, and some people are not. I don’t count myself as a morning person and never have. I don’t know why that really is, and it’s not that I haven’t tried or that I don’t want to, it’s just the way it had always been for me… or at least that’s what I thought at the time. Sometimes it’s less fatigue and sometimes much more. I’ve tried eating healthier, exercising, alarm clock apps that are aware of sleep cycles, multiple alarms to wake up, multiple alarms to go to sleep early, herbal supplements, vitamins and other supplements, going off caffeine, having some caffeine in the morning only (varying levels from tea to coffee), meditation, binaural beats, music, etc…

On this day, I felt that either I hadn’t come across the right combination, hadn’t been able to sustain it, or was just feeling relatively helpless against it in that moment, but my experience had generally been that my body has always had some level of fatigue in the morning (and I still do). On this morning, it was particularly bad due to working late and I was feeling particularly helpless and frustrated at myself for this chronic problem. At my past two jobs I had managers that were not very supportive of my sleep & morning lateness issue, and had just gotten a new job due to not being able to deal with this amongst other reasons surrounding negative cultural changes at my prior company as well as ethical concerns surrounding top-down command and restructuring practices.

Growing up I’d had bouts of insomnia (sometimes physically crippling due to a compounding of bad eating habits, insomnia, flu, and worrying). I had gotten into collisions due to this issue hurrying, and anxiety about being late (or up late) in the past. (Now that I think of it, mirror cycles of situation had played themselves out once before.)

Anyway, I had been stuck in the bad habit of working late which had been chronically affecting me with a condition of fatigue. So one day after waking up feeling a victim of my own bad habits, I set off for work.

Going to work & turning back due to forgetting my laptop charger, I began to hurry. In the process of hurriedly backing out, I got into a very minor collision (more like “firm tap” with a neighbor in the apartment parking lot. This was thankfully but ironically just after switching car insurance (so you can appreciate the frustration of the situation, and appreciate the mirroring of the concept of the “damaged” and imperfect physical situation). Eventually I ended up
getting a ticket for “unlawful backing” from a police officer and getting into work.

Now you might say that this doesn’t sound all that bad does it? Other than the ticket, no harm done right? Well, from my own unique past experiences and momentary philosophical perspective, it was quite frustrating at the time. I was angry with myself, with the Universe, with whatever sort of imagined “higher power” that caused this situation to happen. Once before, I had gotten into a collision with a bus that nearly missed me, taking out just my side view mirror and front bumper (and before that had been a passenger in many, many other collisions). Most times this had happened before, I thought that God or some higher power or causal event in the Universe beyond my control was responsible for my misfortune. The time before that I had been in a head-on collision with a parked maintenance vehicle which totaled my car, but I was unharmed. Each time I’ve come out unscathed yet with a slightly larger list of things that insurance companies care about because they can use them as statistical reasons for charging you more money. So really the frustration at this time was with being denied a clean record and lower bill for a bit longer, yet with a gratefulness that I wasn’t harmed. Additionally, I had what some might call premonitory thoughts before each accident. Earlier on in life, I didn’t understand the principles of the Law of Attraction. This morning and at this time, I did. However, now the frustration was with myself having attracted this, and being aware of it which was a deeper philosophical frustration at the situation, and the confluence of forces which resulted in this happening. My bumper was a physical reflection of this in it’s ever-so-slightly skewed position. I ended up going through the insurance reporting process and got the ticket, then went to work.

I had realized at this time that the earlier collisions I had experienced throughout life were all attracted by me, whether I was conscious of this fact or not. In fact, the one just prior with the bus was very much due to my thoughts about my habitual life tendency to throw myself in front of the proverbial bus so that others could be protected or somehow be helped. I literally found myself in this situation, yet curiously remained unharmed.

Weeks later, I found myself reflecting again (pun intended) on this experience. I was frustrated at the very minor off-kilter bumper which my car now had. When I say “very minor”, I mean hardly noticeable… a slight 5 degree slant with a max distance from where the bumper should have been of about 2-3 centimeters. Anyway, I found myself thinking about the prior fender bender and thought something like this to myself “if I can attract an accident, then I can attract it being fixed too!”, or “if the Universal laws harmed my bumper, then the Universe can fix it too”. I thought this while at a stoplight just before getting home. A couple weeks later, I then found myself at the same stoplight. This day it was below freezing, but lightly snowing and the roads were icy. I was stopped there just waiting for it to turn green, happy to be 2 blocks from home on such a cold day. Just before the light turned green, I saw the truck behind me getting closer. I lightly let my foot off the brake just as I felt a very abrupt lurch forward. The driver behind me had thought the light was turning green and had stepped on the gas too early! She got out and apologized as I looked at the vehicles for any signs of damage. There was none! In fact, my car’s bumper was now fixed and in it’s proper place snug against the rest of the car! I saw no noticeable damage on either vehicle, and we both agreed that there was no need to bother with insurance. We both got back in our respective vehicles and went on our way.

There are many lessons to be learned here. First of all, don’t let life or time push you around. In an increasingly congested socio-economic world, it’s important to take the time for OneSelf to slow down, breathe, regain focus and most of all take your time! Rushing while being in a flustered emotional state gets you nowhere but anxious and in collisions. I also believe the other spiritual lesson here (and earlier in life) for me was that although it might feel like the right thing to do to put oneself through suffering in order to help others, this is a foolish and undesirable thing to do. However, just like my physical vehicle was damaged… the physical body, the “I” that I identified myself with, walked away unscathed each time. Now this metaphor can probably be applied to the physical body, the “vehicle” which we identify ourselves with in this life also. Just like the car, although our physical bodies may end up damaged at some point in our lives, the Real You, the “I” which is beyond the physical body, remains undamaged. Likewise, the ego or intellect “I”… the thoughts and beliefs we identify ourselves with are not really us either. Even if we feel we are “emotionally damaged” or “psychically damaged” in some way or due to some trauma, the Real Us is never damaged and remains unharmed. Now, this is not to say that we should seek out situations where we might put ourselves in harm’s way just to play the hero! On the contrary, this is to say that being the hero in such a situation can be very foolish. Although, according to the ideas presented by Alan Watts, it’s the game or drama we like to play with ourselves sometimes. The first step is deciding what type of game you’d rather prefer. Also, what type of thoughts or beliefs we’d rather hold in our intellect self. These “habits of being” also affect One’s reality and manifested experiences. It is part of the game of waking up and enlightenment to realize the importance of what we really want to choose to focus on and think about.

Finally, I’d like to share a wonderfully artistic video with you, narrated by the One and Only, Alan Watts:

kenshō: a short film by Aaron Paradox

kenshō: a short film by Aaron Paradox