A year ago today my dad died. And most days since he died I would scream at myself for being slow, unproductive, unfocused and lacking the required discipline to get my business growing properly. And then, knowing that this beration is in itself unhelpful, I would then attempt to do some meditation to quieten my mind or I would remind myself that my experience of suffering is merely thought generated.
Late last night I finally really felt the irony of my frantic attempts to be stoic and zen. I'd been aware of the dissonance of anxiously wanting to attain peace and the hilarious futility of the approach. But it was merely a surface understanding that I would brush off - the way one would do with a fleck of fluff on a table - and I would return to berating myself for making excuses for my indolence.
The past year I have read books, watched lectures, attended seminars, listened to podcasts to learn more about the nature of thought and how to obtain clarity, partly in the hope that I would gain insights personally and partly to improve my training programmes on decision-making.
I'd taken time out to rest, I'd gone to spas, I'd taken up running (for crying out loud!), I had practised mindfulness daily, I had baked soft dinner rolls (mmmm delicious!) and then last night I recognised that I was doing what I always do when troubled - I was driving myself crazy with an overwhelming amount of activity/experiments/learning in pursuit of a solution to a problem.
In fact in writing the above sentence, I remembered that I wrote something very similar a few years ago when I attempted to fix my depression and the noisy battles in my head. It's funny, not haha, that when we are at our most vulnerable, we exhaustedly gravitate towards the bad habits that cause or perpetuate the very problem we are trying solve. And the deeper we are in the situation, the harder it is for us to see or feel things clearly enough to revise our behaviour.
Fortunately sometime after midnight last night, possibly almost exactly around the time that my dad died last year, the frenzied mental treading stopped and it finally felt like I wasn't in quicksand any longer. And in that (sadly brief) moment of clarity, I once again appreciated the dual importance of acceptance and letting go and the resulting peace that comes from not trying so hard.
And (miraculously!) I remembered not to whip myself for taking a whole damn unproductive year to get the above insight! (ahem).
If you're struggling and treading mental water too, just see what happens if you stop, you may find that the ground was right below your feet all along.
Anyway, I thought it would perhaps be apt to resume my personal blog today given both the insight last night and the occasion today. Here's to the beginning of yet another chapter of life.