Cafe de Desiree

November 22, 2016

Stillness

Filed under: hiking,life,spirituality — desi83 @ 5:04 am
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Life is full of noise and chaos, and even when I have the opportunity to escape it, my mind plays a┬árecorded loop of noise and chaos. We all do it. We stare at our phones, checking Facebook or Twitter only to stress ourselves out or be entertained by mindless click bait posts. We take selfies so that we might receive validation online. We binge watch shows on Netflix until we fall asleep on the couch. Even dating has evaporated into “Netflix and chill” instead of dinner and a movie for most young people. My job is a constant flow of chaos wherein I have to make quick decisions and improvisations depending on how my young students are behaving or responding at that moment. Sometimes I can go by my script, but it’s counterproductive to continue the script when it’s clearly not working. I’m exhausted at the end of the day, even though I enjoy what I do, it is taxing.

I run and lift weights when I need to escape the chaos and the noise loop. I play music on my headphones to block it out. It works temporarily, and it does clear my mind and rejuvinate me. Yet, when I try to just be still, I can’t. I can’t resist looking at Facebook or reading the news, or turning on the television. When I do attempt meditation, my mind is enveloped in chaos, and I begin fixating on a issue with my job or with my relationship (and even when there isn’t an issue, I create one in my mind sometimes).

I have questioned my spiritual beliefs ever since I was a child when I attended a church, and the youth pastor asked me where people go when they are lost. “The police?” I asked. Everyone laughed. “Hell,” he said, “lost people go to Hell.” Hellfire and brimstone continued to be preached to me at various churches. Later I discovered Unity church, which had a more positive and metaphysical approach to Christianity. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of God. I still can’t. I decided to study Buddhism, and I even attended a few Buddhist meditations. This belief system resonates with me more than Christianity ever did.

I think it is important that people find a spiritual practice to get away from the noise and chaos of life, and to realize that we are so insignificant in the universe, so our problems are definitely not world-ending problems. I struggle with practicing because I am so busy and because I haven’t figured out how to quiet my mind in the stillness. The closest I have gotten lately is hiking. When I am in nature, I feel like I am with God, or at least a spiritual presence that I can’t define. Nature is my sanctuary. Yet, I can’t escape to the mountains in every day life.

In the evenings, I hope to begin the habit of meditating, even if it’s only for five minutes the first few times that I try it. I challenge you, reader, to try it with me. Unplug from your phone, tv, and computer for 5-10 quiet minutes. Go to a peaceful place in your mind, and get lost there for a time. Then, just stay in the stillness until the chaotic noise loop takes over again. The stillness makes the chaos easier to manage. The world will not end if you escape for a moment.

waterfall

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