Upon returning from my last tour, I felt oddly disconnected when I got back to NYC. Yes it was my apartment – just as I had left it, yet it felt like a memory. Relationships with family, friends and everyone here felt distant as if they were a memory from a past life. I had been away almost 2 months and went from daily European trains, planes, automobiles and people 24/7 to – total silence! AHHHHH! 🙂
When I got back I thought – that’s it. I’m gonna be “the monk” of Jackson Heights. I meditated a lot and looked at the contents of my mind. I didn’t want to go back to the “old life” of running around NYC and the b.s. drama of people, family, and egoic pursuit of anything wearing high heels. The quiet and calm felt great and made me feel very in control.
I then had a good taste of the waters that demonstrate “life is not outside it’s inside”. It’s weirdly and beautifully true when you see without a doubt that you, we, I create our own reality.
We assemble pictures in our minds, an add meaning to them. Even if something out of control happens, we create our story and mental organization of what hits our eyes and ears and we are 100% responsible for the story we tell ourselves. (This is a tough one to swallow.)
I realized that many people don’t get the chance to have this quiet experience that I was having – to sit on top of some kind of peak (which felt a bit lonely) and able to look at life in this quiet, still way. I am not saying it was “deep” or even pleasurable. I am just saying it was quiet and clear(er).
I have no kids, no pressing drama, no madness that I am caught up in the way most people are. Most of my friends and family are caught up in the drama of work, the non stop noise of raising a family, psychotic behavior in their interpersonal relationships, the drama of debt, and so on.
To be honest, the quiet and spaciousness was delightful at times and very disconcerting at other times. I’d feel “now I am free and my spirit can now soar into the heavens”. This would be swiftly complimented with waves of lonliness and wanting to also “have a story”, have human interaction and contact. It was equal parts of pleasure and pain.
It’s a helluva lesson to see that everything is okay in one’s life and negative feelings can still bubble up. It’s the cure to blaming others and blaming circumstances. I had to take a look at this and had to admit that I am not done developing and learning.
The little jolts of pain and lonliness were not something though I just wanted to “squelch” and look away from, repress or escape from. “What is this quiet? What is this lonliness?” I thought. Then I’d see how just with my own thoughts I could change feelings. I could make lonliness vanish without actually having other people involved!
I saw one night that a state of “seeking and wanting” rather than a state of “having and loving” was my own responsibility and that the latter would be an attitude of joy, the former resulting in lonliness.
I noticed also – and amazingly – that all these sensations were all inside, and that I was 100% responsible for my reality. Thoughts and pictures led to emotions, and I get to choose the thoughts and pictures. (Another hard one to swallow.)
Unlike most people whose life feels like a runaway freight train of outer circumstances and blaming other people, I got to take a quiet peaceful and sometimes lonely look at the whole picture. It felt sober and healthy to wake up on some chilly sunny winter mornings by myself and simply “be”, and reduce my “thinking and spinning”.
At that point in my spiritual readings the passages about relationships being “the basis for our growth” started speaking to me and making sense. The next biggie to see is that others (YOU) and myself stem from the same source, and that we are truly “one” in nature and not separate. Thus, having others in my life just allows a deeper inquiry into who I am and why I am here. And, relationships with others will surely show me weak spots the fabric of my personality and psyche.
The joys of giving and receiving, the birth of new friendships, and the sometimes gritty dealings with family and close friends are something I am not done with just yet. I felt it was time to dive back in and saw that the perfect situations for spiritual growth can actually lie in everyday relationships.
Straight ahead! Until next time….