Weekly Stab-Let's Sit Still
Let's take a break from learning how to quit...and sit.
Let's sit together.
One thing I have noticed about the Buddha is that he sits. Look at any statue of him. He sits. Eyes closed, free from distractions. The story was he sat under a tree until he achieved enlightenment. I don't think he experienced anything to the effect of floating in the air or a glow of energy surrounding him. I think he sat until he became God. God of his mind. In the depths of quiet he had a chance to watch his thoughts. Think of thoughts as choices on a menu. We can choose what to eat. In this case he learned he can choose what thoughts to digest. Which thoughts to let float away that don't serve him. I have learned the practice of sitting. I have personally experienced a shift when I am forced to sit down. Relief, as if my brain said, "Welcome back. Missed you Fred."
Chattering Fred aka Inner Critic thoughts sound like...
"You can't do...."
"They are going to laugh at you..."
"You are a scrub..."
"You failed already..."
"You are a no good...."
"You are ugly and skinny..."
They run rampant. They stem from my critter brain. They fear change. They resist. I believed them. Sometimes I made decisions because of them. I regretted it every time.
I remember when I set off on this journey of sitting. I was so invested in the television. I was so invested in sports. I was so invested in music. I was so invested in what other people thought of me. I wasn't fulfilled. I had a void. It started in 2008. Prior to that I would go to work, go to the gym, and go home. Sit on the couch. Watch T.V.. I wanted to be like those people I watched. Deep down I knew. My life wasn't the one I wanted. They fed Chattering Fred a disgusting meal of low confidence, anxiety and self hatred. And it was my fault. Life is a menu. No one told me.
Then the signal shut off. Anyone remember the coupon to get the free analog to digital converter for the television? Am I dating myself? The analog signal for television went away on June 12, 2008. That was my birthday. My gift was to not get the converter. No television. What would I do to fill the gap? What about my favorite television shows? What about the news?
By not converting the T.V., I converted Fred.
If you want to know how much time you have in a day, take an inventory of how much of time you spend watching television. Now let's update it to include useless web searching, useless youtube videos, useless facebook arguing with someone who's as buried deep into your beliefs as you are. What are you programming your mind with? There is your time, there is your money, and behold, there you are.
I quit television for ten years. No cable, no Netflix, or Hulu. I still enjoyed my trip to the movie theatre and Redbox. I also quit music shortly there after. Music was hard to quit, it's everywhere. What I did was quit the music with words. I didn't want to be programmed by anyone but myself. No words, no program. Nice beats is the river that fed my brain garbage. I needed to hear what was in me, and I found it difficult when the lyrics under a nice melody imprinted and replayed constantly.
What did I do?
I listened to my thinking.
When it became uncomfortable, I sat through it. When I fidgeted, I sat through it. If I wasn't working on my dreams, I sat. I went to work, I went to the gym, then I came home and sat. Music buried deep would surface. Stay for weeks, then leave. Bad memories came to haunt me. they would stay for a few weeks then I would make peace. I would read. It took a few years but I did quiet my mind. It stopped screaming at me. The inner critic chilled out...a little. Words affected me more than I thought. Some thoughts didn't serve me. I learned to break them. I made new thoughts to replace them. Some things I learned were taught to me. My teachers were T.V., certain music, and opinionated people. I challenged what I learned. I changed some opinions. Life became a menu.
If you sit long enough can you hear what you want to do?
Will you hear what you were told you were suppose to do?
Will you hear what "good" people should do?
Will you hear what (insert group think) should do?
Sit long enough that when you decide to stand, you will see life as a menu. Choose what you want.
I believe we are witnessing the unfolding of subconscious actions based on people who don't know who they are. Their chattering thoughts rule their mind. Thoughts have no power until we invest our intent in them. We are firmly planted in ideas turned beliefs that were fed to us, and we swallowed. We have become what we believe without skepticism. We have better choices on the menu. The pandemic gave us a moment to do just that. And now we are back, but are we ready? 200 mass shootings in 132 days into 2021. I invite you to sit. Listen to you. Question you. Challenge you. Learn you. We can choose better. Just like Buddha, we all need to sit down, and think.