I have had quite a few people who regularly read this blog ask me why I decided to take a pause in my weekly blogging. That’s really kind that people are actually interested in following my journey. I appreciate that immensely. And so here is the answer…
As some of you may know from reading this blog, I had my own spiritual awakening a few years ago. Prior to that, I was a stressed out, anxiety-ridden, middle-aged guy building my career and trying my best to balance home, work and my own sense of self. But it was a battle every day to fight for my sanity in the midst of all of the pressure that I put on myself. And I realize now how common my own personal struggles were. I was far from alone in that regard. Everyone around me seemed stressed out of their minds!
And so I just woke up one day and realized I was miserable and wanted to make drastic changes to my life. I left a promising career — actually, I left a company I had built from scratch — and I went searching for some truths. Truths about me. About the meaning of it all. About how to find true inner peace and joy in this life.
For several years, I just consumed all I could about spirituality. I discovered yoga and meditation. I became a Buddhist thanks to my amazing wife who had been in the practice for most of her life. And I really found my happy. I learned how to live a mindful, stress-free and purposeful life. That’s where this blog came from. I wanted to share all that I had learned and was learning with my friends and family. I felt that by sharing my own struggles and discoveries, perhaps someone else could relate and help them in their own journey. And my blog grew into something really special and meaningful.
But most recently, I noticed some changes in the air. My new career, one that is full of joy everyday was growing in intensity and activity. Blessings for sure. I noticed, too, that I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the political landscape and found myself being drawn into that vortex more and more. I saw myself attaching to some thoughts longer than I had in a very long time. And I realized as a result of these collective feelings and a general sense of my thoughts occupying too much real estate in my mind, that the tools in my toolbox needed to be sharpened.
I also felt like I was slipping in my own practice. I had plenty of excuses about how busy I was and how I was still doing a great deal of studying and practicing. But I needed to challenge myself more during THIS time. It was getting more challenging to practice my mindfulness. It was as if I had been driving on a beautiful country road which I had all to myself but suddenly, I was on this super highway with tons and tons of traffic. To me, that’s the best time to reinvest in myself. Not when it’s easy and convenient. When it’s hard, noisy and messy. That’s actually what my Buddhist practice teaches, that the universe sends you signals when it’s time to grow and evolve. Hard things in fact which I now only see as blessings.
Therefore, I knew I needed to take my practice to another level. I wanted to go deeper in my knowledge of myself and my ability to live in a place of true zen. I needed to strengthen my mental muscle. I know how hard this is in the sense that I don’t live in isolation and I have a fairly intense job and home life. But why can’t I always experience that kind of mental clarity and peace everyday in the midst of a storm of flying thoughts that may surround me at any time. That remains my pursuit and self actualization goal.
After much internal study, I came to the realization that what I really needed was a more regular mental cleansing to help strengthen my meditation practice. I knew it wasn’t as strong as it should be. Since I saw that more thoughts were coming in, more distractions appearing on my radar screen and my free time was becoming compromised, the only solution for me was to work harder at this. And I felt like it needed to be physical. Just as many people love doing cleanses for their body, I determined I needed to embrace this for my mind. And by doing that, I would be better prepared to withstand the flow of noise that enters my thoughts.
This was my realization.
So I have decided to meditate longer than I ever have and do so in regularly scheduled isolation and silence. I am designing my own silent retreat to really strengthen my ability to control my thoughts, center myself when I feel I am losing control of my mindfulness and to build a mental muscle that is able to withstand everything that comes my way with real equanimity.
So, less writing in the short term and more meditation. That’s the simple explanation if you read this blog and wondered why I decided to hit the pause button. I hope to be able to resume my writing in the not too distance future.
Until then, I wish you peace, love and happiness on your own journey.
PS-for a great simple read on starting a mediation practice, check out this article.