Must we be good?

January 16, 2010

The last few months were pretty hard for me. Nothing was happening outside, but inside there were realities collapsing, there was death and distraction, pain and sickness. There was opening and falling and reconstructing and falling apart. It kept me very busy, always focused inward, inside. I haven’t seen it like that though, there was no inside and outside, there was only what was real to me. And for the last few months the stories I told myself were the reality. My mind was reality, my trauma was reality. I was sure it was. I had no time, no energy, no attention to spare for the rest of the world. The rest of the world didn’t seem nearly as important, as pressing, as interesting. And so, as I withdrew from the world, so did the world withdrew from me. Phone calls stopped, clients disappeared, jobs did not show up anymore. A couple of weeks ago, after paying my rent, I realized that I have no clue where the next paycheck is going to come from. I knew it’s not good that I don’t know that, I knew that I should be concerned about it, and yet I wasn’t. I tried to focus on the fact that I have nothing to do anymore, but somehow I could not bring it into focus. There wasn’t pain or fear in the idea of having no work and no income, there was only fog. Everything was blurry, there was nothing to hold onto, nothing to think about, and I realized how incredibly unconscious I am, how very not present I’ve become. So I begun to look, I begun to pay attention. I begun to distinguish feelings, emotions, and to accept them, feel them, let go of them. I would look around, I would listen to what people would tell me, to what my husband would tell me. I would look at my reactions and follow them to their cause, and let go of that. I would choose to be present, I would choose to be myself only, over and over again. I could feel a difference in my presence, a difference in how I experienced reality. Everything became sharper, more distinct. I noticed sounds and smells that I wouldn’t have noticed before, too focused on myself. I’ve begun to notice my husband again. After a few days I got the first phone call from a client, then more followed, until I had enough work to keep me busy, and enough money to not have to worry about bills for another few months. Today morning, as I was making my tea, a thought occurred to me: I thought that I was always taught, as we all were, that I have to be good to be happy. I was told that I have to give away, and then I’ll be given in return. I was told that if I’m loving and kind and caring I will be taken care of. I was told that when I don’t think about myself, when I focus on helping others, I will then be given what I need, that the universe will provide. But I was just given what I needed, the universe provided exactly what I was asking for, and I was not being good, kind and loving. I was being present. I did not focus on loving kindness the last couple of weeks. When I realized how lost in my thoughts, lost in my mind I’ve become, I did not attempt to selflessly forget about myself and focus on helping others. After months of being distant and irritable, of being short and snappish, I did not decide to be nice, loving, supportive and attentive. I decided to be present. I decided to be present and I was given all I needed. And I did became kind and loving. Because I was back in my body, back in the world, I was available for relationship. Because I let go of my mind, of all the stories, traumas, problems, fears, I could see others clearly, I could be with others, relate with them as who they are. My mind was not in the way, my stories and ideas of me, of who I am, were not in the way. The change in my relationship was so profound that my husband asked me few times if I’m pretending, playing a game, because who I am is so unlike me. I did become open and selfless and giving and loving and kind and happy naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly. I did not try to, I did not want to, I did not strive to achieve it. I chose to be present. I did not do anything else, just became present. And everything changed.

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