A month ago, a friend had challenged me to sit for an hour, just to concentrate – and maybe pray – about where I want to be, what I wanted to. It was a goal that was fairly open-ended.
I did. I sat on the floor, on my yoga mat (shaddap) with a pillow behind my back. I did this for an hour, at first in mediation, and then thinking/praying. Just going over stuff.
I came to a few realizations.
I’m an angry person. Have been, ever since I was a teenager. People generally didn’t know this, because it’s not obvious. I am. I’m angry. So….this introspection….this navel-gazing, if you will…. sought to figure that out. Why was I angry?
Years ago, my therapist suggested that anger is not a bad thing or a good thing. It just is. (What do you think? Do you agree? I’m really interested in your thoughts on that) . Anyway – that’s the approach I took today. I guess that anger, like pain, might be there for a reason. It’s a messenger, a warning, that all is not right. There’s an imbalance. Something that needs correction.
So…..why was I angry?
I couldn’t approach it head-on as there were no answers there. I just know that sometimes something will trigger me, and I’ll go off on a passionate rant. Last night I ranted on a friend’s blog. When I woke up this morning, I found myself ashamed and regretful. I had told him the truth, but maybe it was overkill. Maybe I didn’t need to show quite so much passion. Truth-telling is enhanced by alcohol, in that booze relaxes your inhibitions. The bad news is that it also inhibits your judgement – and I’m not sure my judgement was where it needed to be last night. Anyway… spilt milk….water under the bridge. Regrets are only good as lessons for the future. They have zero effect on their origins. You can’t take anything back or undo what you did.
So… Anger. Anger happens when you find yourself limited from your potential. Anger happens when you find yourself subject to fear – and once again, inhibited from doing what you know you should do.
And I have been so very angry. Sometimes it comes out as a reaction to whatever excuse will serve at the time. I recognize its deceptiveness by virtue of its overkill – all out of proportion to its catalyst.
I have dreams that I’ve let slide. The time of reflection and meditation made that clear. There’s a need to create. To indulge some creativity. To act. To play music. To write. To – and this is kind of the crux of it all – help people.
It’s tough, being so acutely aware of people who failingly struggle with expectations. I see people who are bound – hogtied – to rules and restrictions that they thought were imposed on them, by their friends, their church, their friends or their workplace. The brutal truth is that they’ve chosen to bind themselves. Whatever the case, the end result is that they’re bound. And they think they’re alone. And I *need* to shine some light.
At the same time, I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that I have so many blind spots too. So I can’t brag about any of this. I can’t pretend I’m not deceived on occasion too. Self-deception is the worst, isn’t’ it? Mostly because you have no idea you’ve done it. No clue that you’ve lied to yourself. It doesn’t even cross your mind.
I find that someone will say something and I’ll realize (hopefully immediately, if I’m lucky) that what they said just bumped me. Like the universe pinched me hard on the bum. And I realize, once again, that I’ve been fooling myself. Damn it – I wish I could be more specific here, so that you had some idea of what I’m talking about.
That hour-long meditation is key: especially in a world where stuff is happening all of the time, and you have no room to think. It’s a time that you schedule, just like anything else, where you sit by yourself, quietly. And listen. And talk out loud too.
I don’t know how it would work for you but here’s how it worked for me: I sat on the yoga mat and closed my eyes. The first thing I did was concentrate on my breathing. I slowed it down and took deep breaths, which I held for a few seconds before letting out. As I did this, I noted the rest of my body: where my limbs were, what they were touching, whether there was any pain or twitches or anything at all. I didn’t judge any of it or try to make anything better. I just accepted it. I also noted the noises from outside of my apartment: not in an irritated way, but just acknowledging that they were there, and accepting them.
After a few minutes of that, once there was a rhythm going, I started deliberately thinking about all of the above. Digging down deep into my motivations. Figuring out what it was that caused me anger. I don’t know why anger was the focus, but once again – I didn’t judge. I accepted it. It might be different for you though: you’ll know if you try this.
Then, I decided that since anger was a signal, I needed to pay attention and figure out what it was telling me. I found a few things: I wasn’t creating. I wasn’t playing piano. I wasn’t writing as much as I needed to do. I was resentful of my job, which takes up so much of my time. I need money to live – and my job was the surest way to do that. I wasn’t physically fit.
There’s an awareness of a need to reach out to people too. That’s the main thing. I thought of how many times I’ve been lifted up by music. Pretty much catapulted out of a threatened depression and dropped into joy – because of music. I’ve done the same thing when I’ve created and played music too. The clearest example was at the death of my father: a man that I truthfully hated for much of my life. Yet, my emotions were ambivalent. He wasn’t a total asshole. He did some things right. He likely did (as we all do) the best he could with what he had. He was limited (as we all are) by so many things, some of which were obvious, and others of which were hidden. At his funeral, some of these truths made themselves apparent. It wasn’t completely conscious though. On the eve of his funeral – for some strange reason – I decided to compose a musical eulogy to him. There were no words – just music. I remember setting up the electric piano at the Catholic altar of the church, and playing the piece. It was a bittersweet number: grounded in pain but interspersed with streaks of joy. I couldn’t articulate it in words at all.
The best thing: it fit, and not just with me.
It was the first time I was conscious of the powerful effects of music.
I need to do that again. There’s a need to meet the mark of the joy, the potential, of music. And of writing. And of being in the best health possible. And of so much more.
Do you dream? Are there things you wish you’d done? Do you find yourself irritated for no apparent reason? Or apathetic?
Are you where you want to be? Are you satisfied? If so – how did you get there? Did it come easy, or did you need to do a lot of introspection? Did you have to make some deliberate choices? How so? How did you do it?
If not – have you accepted your “station in life” as inevitable? If so, why? Is there fear? Of what?
Or are you truly happy with your choices?