There are times in life when it just hums along smoothly, with no significant humps. You wake up, go through your day and go back to bed. And then there are times when it feels like a storm is shaking your life ship. We have all experienced those, right?
I have had a couple of those nightmarish storms in my life recently. And I realized in retrospect that I gravitate towards meditation. I got LASIK eye correction done recently – and it is physically irritating. Well, to begin with, it feels like you have sand in your eyes, but you cannot rub them. And your eyes are so sensitive to light that you are attached to the sunglasses for three days. And there is very little to do when your eyes are not working. And I found myself focusing on my breath or sensations. I was extra alert in my meditation sits in the morning and evening as I had to be equanimous with my pain. Throughout the day, I was aware of the sensations and breath whenever the pain would take over, or I would have negative thoughts. Eckhart Tolle’s quotes also come to my mind – like I am not upset about what I am actually upset about. Or, When you live in the NOW, there is no problem etc.
Three days later, my eye pain subsided, and all that was left was a slight blurriness. And I find that I am not as focused on my meditation – I let my mind wander a bit in my meditation sits. This made me realize – why is that? Why am I laser-focused on my well-being when things are going awry but let the alertness slip when things are going well?
I don’t have an answer but theories for sure. One, my conditioning is such that intense situations grab my attention where as daily life is mundane. Or, I thrive when situations get worse. Or, I am so used to the usual humdrum of everyday life that it takes a big event or a nightmare to grab my attention.
Then, I thought about it some more. These extreme events happen fewer times when compared to my daily life. Small things take up the majority of my life. How I conduct myself in the small stuff is the real indicator of how peaceful my life is, right? Any logical person would try to be alert in everyday life and not only ‘wake up’ when things are really going south.
I need to build muscle where I focus on the subtle things in life and not only the ‘in your face’ moments. The subtle things are subtle for a reason – they are so fleeting that they feel inconsequential to our minds and egos. What story can the Ego make of me picking up a glass of water, walking down the stairs, or sitting on my couch with the desire to scratch my eyes? The only stories it can make are when we think of what can happen or what has happened, but if we live in the NOW – there is none.
I will be in the NOW as much as possible – how about you?