I spent a tiny fractional increment of time in my body yesterday. But as an increase compared with nothing, it’s an infinite difference. But I barely think about my physical self for 99.9999% of the day. Really. It’s kind of shocking me now that I’ve drawn my attention to it. Sure, I’ll notice if I have a stabbing pain or a cold or something, but somehow even those things I can manage to notice at a remove.
It’s like I’m working as the operator of a machine or system, and the sensations it’s experiencing are only relevant in terms of the data they’re reporting. They’re not the actual life themselves.
I’ve been living my life all backwards and then wondering why I’m feeling so dissatisfied.
I was complaining the other day about feeling like I’d a cloud on my forehead, a fogginess in my limbs and a dragging sensation in my gut. All I wanted to do was escape from it, ignore it and ingest media or any other numbing agent until it all dissipated. I tried running – it didn’t go. I tried eating – I just felt worse. In the end I waited it out, but the option I didn’t even consider was giving it some attention. And now I feel pretty sure that could have made all the difference.
Look, I’m not meaning to under-value all my existing efforts to do things better and to help myself and listen to myself, but I can’t deny I’ve had a block. My therapist has said meditate, and externally I’ve said “Yes, I’ll do that.” and I’ve certainly felt as though I’m trying to do that. And I even like it when I do it. But …? Secretly? Maybe not so secretly, I guess I’ve been pretty honest about it … anyway, for whatever reasons I just don’t do it. And I get a bit of an “ugh, really?” reaction to thinking about doing it. Then I do it and I feel good about myself. It’s not unpleasant, I can add another tick in the column of “self-care” for the day.
But I’ve never really developed a meditation habit, and I’ve really struggled to understand why.
Running is way more difficult, more time consuming too. And I’ve managed to make that a pretty strong habit this year. Writing this blog involves a fair amount of vulnerability and also time and self-introspection. Of all the things I do to help myself, meditation practice – even just five minutes a day – should be the most accessible, the lowest barrier of entry, the smallest investment for the greatest return.
But no, I just don’t /won’t /can’t (I don’t know!) do it. It hasn’t been happening. So what’s going on? Am I scared? I don’t think so. I think I just haven’t believed in it. I think I’ve believed it in the front of my head, in some kind of logical way. And any parts that don’t have so much faith in it, I’ve written off as – well, that doesn’t matter because I’ll just do it anyway, because it’s low cost for high potential return.
I didn’t realise that I had to get invested in it. I didn’t realise that I’d sabotage myself in doing something that my heart and guts didn’t believe in.
It’s weird because it’s not like I don’t get pretty instant and noticeable results from time spent in meditation. So the evidence was there for my very own self, and yet? Was it because it isn’t hard enough? Who knows, I guess that doesn’t matter now. I have my hook.
Here it is – without spending time in my body, I’m just living in a world that is completely constructed by myself. I’m just dreaming my life away. The SOMA analogy works great for me.
I do not like that thought at all. I want to live a real life. I want that soul swelling feeling that comes with breathing in the cool Autumn air and feeling the crisp air as it passes my nostrils. ALL my lasting memories come from the moments I’ve spent being present – as opposed to half-planning dinner and schoolwork in my mind while ostensibly spending a family afternoon together.
I’m not going to be unrealistic. I’m not going to say “no more living in the future or past”, but if I could slowly shift that focus to even a whole 5% of present living in a day, that would be huge. And I think it would be different. And I think it would be a whole lot less cloudy.