As I was sitting in meditation recently, which I don’t do nearly often enough, I noticed something about the patterns of the thoughts that consistently emerged. There were really only a few different types of thoughts that were coming up for me and the category of thought that seemed to be most prevalent and most persistent was what I call “planning”.
Double-checking my mental list of groceries that I need to get next time I run out to the store. Assessing whether or not I have allowed myself enough time to get from one commitment to the other in my upcoming day. Creating mental post-it notes to add to all of the physical post-it notes that line my desk about things that I want to accomplish over the next week, month, year, lifetime.
As so often happens when one becomes newly aware of a certain phenomenon, I suddenly started noticing it everywhere in my life. I realized that it was not just during meditation—it was constant. I suppose you could say that I have taken multi-tasking to the next level or that I am just incredibly efficient, but I know that if I am constantly mentally projecting myself into the future, I cannot possibly be fully experiencing the present. Of course, sometimes plan-making is necessary, but do I really need do be scheduling and list-making while I am meditating? While I am trying to listen to a friend tell a story? While I am desperately
trying to fall asleep?
I have to ask myself why? Why is it so difficult to just be still and breathe? To just be?
I am reminded of an article recently posted by the lovely and wise Jen Pastiloff
on being “addicted to being too busy”. I am pretty sure that I am one step away from “too busy” rehab, but why have I created a life for myself where I am constantly running from one thing to the next, with to-do lists that go on for miles, often wondering if I can actually manage everything I have taken on?
I know what the answer is, but I don’t like it. I’m not enough
. Of course, I don’t walk around feeling this way, but somewhere deep inside me, a tiny little voice whispers those words, and so I work very hard to prove that it’s wrong. I don’t know when this voice started talking to me or who is informing it. We can blame the usual suspects—parents, ex-lovers, society—but regardless of how it found its way into the depths of my mind, it is there.
Only, something amazing happens once you uncover a truth that has been buried deep inside. Somehow, just by becoming aware of it, it shifts. No extreme amounts of effort or overhaul, necessary—I don’t even have to schedule or plan to address it—although I might make a post-it note to stick on my wall as a reminder to be more aware. (I can’t help it. I love post-it notes.) But, as I start noticing the ways that I have loaded myself up with so many activities so that my life is meaningful enough
or so that I feel interesting enough, successful enough
, and, as much as I cringe at using this word—cool enough
, another voice, that is a little bit louder, speaks up and says Enough!
This is the voice I must listen to.
It comes when I have found that sweet spot in meditation or when I'm hiking and feeling particularly connected to the natural world around me, and then plan-making thoughts come, rushing to my front door, demanding to be let in. Enough
. I have enough in the present moment. I do not need to dilute this experience with thoughts and feelings about things that may or may not ever happen. Enough
. I do not need to fill my schedule to beyond capacity to have value as a being. Enough.
I have enough love and time and I am as perfect as I am ever going to be. I am Enough. Enough
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