From the time we get up (after about 300 snoozes) to going to bed (falling asleep by gradually numbing ourselves down with TV), It is surprising to know how very little time we actually are with/ by ourselves. It is not because we are so busy. It is because we keep unconsciously ourselves busy so we can avoid the boredom of what remains when all else is taken away.
"It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away." - From, "the invitation" by oriah
Our ears are plugged in while in queues or transits.
While with friends, we feel the need to fill all the moments with conversations ~ even if it is boring and redundant.
Every few minutes, We feel the need to check for whatapp messages, facebook statuses and instagram likes and feel like we need to fill it up by initiating chats.
We allow constant interruptions through useless phone calls and messages.
There isn't really an emphasis on and a space for "deep focused work".
We don't close our eyes and sit, come what demon may.
We are no more "committed" beings. Sadly, this is becoming socially accepted.
Somehow, after all these years, the idea sit well with me (the idea that we constantly need to be entertained/ engaged during our waking hours).
Last saturday, i was re-reading a chapter from the book, "The way of superior man" by David Deida (This book is a gift to mankind)
The two ways to bring you right to your masculine edge of power are austerity and challenge.
Austerity means to eliminate the comforts and cushions in your life that you have learned to snuggle into and lose wakefulness. Take away anything that dulls your edge. No newspapers or magazines. No TV. NO candy, cookies, or sweets. No sex. No cuddling. No reading of anything at all while you eat or sit on the toilet. Reduce working time to a necessary minimum. No movies. No conversation that isn't about truth, love, or the divine.
If you take on these disciplines for a few weeks, as well as any other disciplines that may particularly cut through your unique habits of dullness, then your life will be stripped of routine distraction. All that will be left is the edge you have been avoiding by means of your daily routine. You will have to face the basic discomfort and dissatisfaction that is the hidden texture of your life. You will be alive with the challenge of living your truth, rather than hiding from it.
Unadorned suffering is the bedmate of masculine growth. Only by staying intimate with your personal suffering can you feel through it to its source. By putting all your attention into work, TV, sex, and reading, your suffering remains impenetrated, and the source remains hidden. Your life becomes structured entirely by your favorite means of sidestepping the suffering you rarely allow yourself to feel. And when you do touch the surface of your suffering, perhaps in the form of boredom, you quickly pick up a magazine or the remote control.
Instead, feel your suffering, rest with it, embrace it, make love with it. Feel your suffering so deeply and thoroughly that you penetrate it, and realize its fearful foundation. Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. Two hours of absorption in a good Super Bowl telecast may distract you temporarily, but the fact remains. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering.
By eliminating the safety net of comforts in your life, you have the opportunity to free fall in this moment between birth and death, right through the hole of your fear, into the unthreatenable openness which is the source of your gifts. The superior man lives as this spontaneous sacrifice of love.
Ofcourse these words are piercing and moves anyone to take action. Instead of waiting for the "right time" and "right circumstances" i decided to do it right away.
Yesterday being sunday, i didn't have lots of commitments involving other people. Ofcourse i had lots of things to be done (but when does that list every get over?). So i decided to do my own version of experiment.
The experiment parameters are these:
- No computer
- No WiFi
- No TV shows, movies, books, music, videos, entertainment of any kind
- No talking, communication of any kind, No phone calls, no whatsapp, facebook
- Just me, my thoughts, my sleep, my meditation, my quietness
- I thought this up at about 9.30AM. So from 9.30AM till the next morning i woke up.
First half hour was the regular. I remembered lots of things that needs to be done. Bank stuff, work stuff, house hold stuff, new ideas, etc ~ since it involved me using my computer (evernote) and i could not do it, it made me restless. I knew that was okay.
Later, i started taking a note of my immediate environment ~ the books, the disorganized table, the bed and then minute stuff like bed corner, the floor design patterns, the little dirt in the window sill, etc. That doesn't mean anything. No insights there.
Later, i started remembering the words from the books, blogs and words from mentors and wanted to connected to them (which involved me opening www or youtube - i couldn't do it - so frustration again). Look at the compulsive action there. "No, Go beyond" - i said.
Then, i slept off (yeah - that was me going beyond) - as i was tired from staying awake with friends last night.
In the meanwhile, my flatmate arrived and chatting with me. Before he got weirded out and wondered if i was okay, i made a few attempts at non verbal communication. Later i just said "I am tired of talking, i am going to keep shut the entire day" and smiled. He got it and later understood the entire scope of my "experiment" after a while and later supported me and infact i could see he was inspired. When you are convinced about something, people generally are supportive of you. I will ask his honest feedback today.
Last couple of weeks, i was getting good at sitting with eyes closed by myself. Lets call that thing meditation. My meditation zone came to me easier yesterday. Mostly, after meditating, i check my phone (Fine, judge me if you want). Since that was not an option today and getting out of meditation wasn't particularly stimulating, i chose to stay longer post my meditation. I wont say much here. It was pretty awesome though.
I didn't want to go complete radio silent in case i need to take any urgent calls. Atleast i had to leave people the option of text messaging me. I would only reply if it was critical. None was critical and hence i didn't.
I felt bad when some people from whom i was expecting message from didn't reach out to me. The ego part of me was a bit sad - but quickly got over it with some powerful contexts like "Universe is supporting me in the experiment and the big U thought i didn't need any more distractions than already existing ones (the thoughts)". Other not-so-powerful context (but got me through) was: "I am not dying today. I can check whatsapp tomorrow".
Evening now. I went out to the park. Did a bit of work out. Watching people and kids play. Laughed. Got bored. Laughed at myself. Wanted to check phone. Empty pocket. Laughed at myself again. Yelled at an angry kid who tried get away by doing something "bad". i forgave myself for talking. (If you're wondering about the kid, he was trying to hit another kid with my chappel and i had to stop him. I couldn't control a lot about their fighting but some of it i could and i did).
Came back home. Got bored. Found out that i actually did not care where my phone was. Checked for any "critical communication" and left the phone at home and went out again. Forgave myself for that little rule violation.
On my way out, for the first time, i went into the nearby temple and participated in the singing by clapping and dancing as i was not allowed to sing. This became my primary source of entertainment, at that moment. I longed to dance and sing. I laughed. Weirded out some of the grim-faced "bhaktas" there with my smiling.
Went out. Was longing to talk to some one. (i was understanding my own unconscious, compulsive patterns). Again, laughed. Skipped and danced a bit.
Went to 13th cup chai. Interacted with waiter like a dumb person. I was smiling and smiling. Everything was amusing. Played jenga. Invited the waiter to play. He couldn't just stop smiling. He was so happy like he just got a pretty girlfriend or something. Savoured the egyptian chamomile sip by sip (as i had nothing else to do). Walked around the shop and read poster (later realizing i was not supposed to read.). Laughed while forgiving myself.
Caught myself wanting to communicate to some one and then laughed at the empty pocket. Came home. Night. Slept.
The Take Away: For us "take-away" generation
Understanding my own unconscious, compulsive patterns.
Knowing where i have invested my energy and time in and consciously altering it.
Learning that "living" is beyond phone, computer, whatsapp and facebook ~ not just as a intellectual concept but by actually doing it.
Rewiring neuron patterns by new inputs
Adventure is about me, not places
Learning How to BE intimate with someone (not just sexually)
What does it mean to actually focus long term with out distractions