How many of our problems are caused by conceptualization? How much suffering do we experience in response to ideas we invent inside ourselves? I spend a lot of time talking about how it’s dangerous to cling to things in the external world, but internal life can also be troublesome when not coupled with a reflective practice.
In meditation, we get to know ourselves. We uncover the truth by sitting with all our internal irrationalities, insecurities and inconsistencies. We let everything come and go; we see what remains. This knowledge of the self builds slowly over time, with consistent practice. It isn’t an active debate with ourselves; it’s more like a support group. You listen to everything your mind does. You remain silent. You don’t judge. You just let everything surface.
With this knowledge comes a deep inner-confidence. It’s not the sort of confidence we’re used to. It’s not about flexing your skills, advancing in your career or attracting a mate. It’s the confidence that unlocks your intuitive mind. Instead of getting all wrapped up in concepts and abstractions or fearing an uncertain future, you can devote yourself to the present tasks at hand. In doing so, you allow life to unfold naturally. You build strong foundations. You move slowly, simply, consistently.
This approach to living, in my experience, pays off a lot more than rabidly chasing X or Y, or grasping at an idealized grandiose future. When you stop trying to control everything, you can focus your attention on what’s actually important. There’s a Russian proverb, “When you chase two rabbits, you catch neither.” When we live purely according to concepts, aspirations and fantasies, we do this. We try to make life conform to our dreams rather than allowing our dreams to be flexible and open ended. When we try too hard to impose our will onto life, life bites back. We become rigid, stubborn, inflexible. But when we allow each moment, day, week, and month to unfold naturally according to this deeper intuition, we experience oneness and balance. We allow ourselves to adapt to life as it constantly changes, since this is its natural state.
There’s no reason to always be playing catch-up or constantly trying to force progress and change on your own ideals; life will force change upon you on its own. It’s your job to skillfully navigate it, to go with the flow with grace and precision.
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