Do you remember the lamp post in C.S. Lewis’s ‘The magic wardrobe’? In an old, rambling house, a group of children playing hide and seek, stumble across a wardorbe with a door at the back leading to a magical world. It is night there, but they see a lamp post close by. Using it as beacon, they admonish each other not to stray too far from it to not lose their way back to the wardrobe and home again.
This is a great analogy for life. The further we journey away from Self into the mental-emotional world, the harder it is to find our way back home again. This idea ties in with the Buddhist maxim of ‘the Middle Way’. Initially on the path to enlightenment, we do best to stay in the middle of the river. Too close to the shores of either pleasure on the one side or pain on the other, our boat will be in danger of running aground.
Free from emotional drama
Mentally projecting myself so far outwards into the past or future or into other people’s lives, is intense for me. I have learnt to stay at home more within Self to recuperate from these extremes. This way I experience less emotional drama and the chaotic physical manifestations that go with it. Since I am not in conflict, I’m don’t attract conflict. I am not caught up in the web, the dream of life. I tend to simply observe it like a passing parade.
Negative thought patterns are the first signs of becoming caught in the web. They create emotions which pull us far away from the lamp post. As a result, we can’t see where we are going and what we are doing. If we stray far enough, we may lose sight of its light all together.
I have also noticed that slight internal shifts when I’m close to the lamp post ie when I am centred, bring big adjustments further away from it. As within so without. The image of a wagon wheel comes to mind. If we follow the spokes of a wheel from the centre to the rim, we observe that not much turning seems to happen at the centre although the spokes spin with great speed at the rim.
The stretched elastic syndrome
Leaving the Self state is moving away from oneness with ourselves. Our focus shifts from on ourselves as the creators in the now, to attachment to the creation in time. Whenever I feel emotionally over-stimulated and it is time to return to Self, I feel what I call the stretched elastic syndrome. As I extricate myself from the stimulus, I inevitably miss the tension and I grasp at straws along the way to recreate it. Isn’t it interesting that we can miss something even though it exhausts us?
I deal with this by being firm but kind to myself. I withdraw into meditation or in extreme cases, complete rest – sleep. I know I am ready to face the world again, once I feel unattached: grateful for everything, not needing anything in particular, appreciating whatever comes my way.
Centred in this way, when life moves on, ever-changing as is its habit, I can freely move on with it to stay in the flow. There are no attachments, no hooks. There’s no hanging on to what could become or what might have been. I don’t feel compelled to bulldoze into the next experience to escape myself. I experience and then return to centre smoothly.
I have noticed that the more rooted in my path I am, the more I can experience intensity without losing my way. I stay in the experience itself and don’t lose myself in the mentalizing of it.
In an unattached state, the little everyday pleasures are incredibly fulfilling. When I am attached, in contrast, even the big, out-of-the-ordinary pleasures leave me wanting. The overall effect is that I feel lost, rudderless out at sea and at the mercy of the waves, in anxious anticipation of what may come next.
If this describes where you’re at right now and you’re ready to change that, get in touch with me here.
Non-attachment is the reset button when experiences get too hectic. With it, we can retrieve our power from people and situations at will.