“In the depth of winter, I finally learnt that within me lay an invincible summer”.
It’s October and the shadows have been stretching right the way over my head like a pair of opaque 60 denier tights with no holes for eyes. It’s the mask of a joy thief and this obtuse hosiery has addled my brain leaving me stranded in a place where I am fully myself. That is, I am fully inside my shadow and I’m not denying any of it. This curious period of intimate self-knowledge lasted for around four weeks and was a source of great wonder/amusement/terror for both Pete and myself.
As I emerged from the shadows and lifted the tights for a gasp of air, I found that inside the fibres lay a lurking fear. A loathsome creature with mean teeth, eating away at my hopes and dreams. Opposing my will and almost stopping me from doing almost anything even vaguely dynamic.
We wanted to host a retreat in Bali. I wanted to teach in Ubud. I want to teach. Full stop. It’s time and I miss it and I yearn to be back in community after my long reach inside. And the days and months of self-practice and self-inquiry have served their purpose. It’s time to manifest and create and bring things to life but doubt and hesitation were cultivating a foisty environment that was leaving me to fester.
Maybe we should just go home. Maybe we shouldn’t extend our trip. What are we doing with our lives? What if we fail? What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m supposed to have a semi-detached house and a car and some children and I’m forty soon and how did that happen and and and …
And then I meditated
I meditate everywhere. In the concrete garden of a Malaysian guesthouse, on the boat surrounded by Indonesian fishermen, overlooking the main road, on the plane, in the bed while Pete is sleeping, on the floor while Pete is typing, in the garden while the kids are playing, on the rocks, on the sand, in the toilet cubicle, in a quiet corner of someone’s roof garden, in the prayer rooms at the airports. I don’t give a shit. When I wait for a yoga class to start, I’m dropping right on in there. I’m tuning in, finding the still frequency beneath all the noise and nothing is going to pull me out. I don’t care if I look like a weirdo – and that, in itself, is huge progress. It’s my secret laboratory where I activate my magic powers and I get present. It’s how I listen and get clear. It’s how I move past the blah blah blah to get real on what is actually happening, why it’s happening and how to move in, through and out of it.
So, as I sat in the shade, safe from the scorch of the Perth sun, peaceful in the garden of my dear old friend. I drank it all in. The unfamiliar sounds of the Australian wildlife. The new language of the Southern birds. The blessing of the cool winds, whipped up from the nearby ocean. The concrete beneath me and the sweetest sounds of the kids squealing with joy in the house behind me. All these anchors calling me in to the sacredness of the moment and each singular element inside of it.
I’m still now and the stillness is running in and through and all around me. I’ve slipped under the sounds and I rest here a while. After maybe twenty minutes I start to ask for guidance. What is the truth? What direction should I take? What do I need to know to move forward? And after a few minutes of stillness these simple words come through, ‘It can be done’.
Now they might seem like pretty obvious words to you. Yes, it can be. Anything can be. But when you’re in a state of doubt and fear and hesitation, those words are far away. And those words didn’t come from my rational brain. It wasn’t an analytical, reasoning, interrogative process that led me to this clear and simple conclusion. It was the deepest part of me telling the voices in my head what the reality was. It can be done. It can all be done. Trust and keep moving in the direction of truth. Move past the critical voices, the doubts and the fears and reach into the highest level of consciousness that you can possibly drop down into. And there you’ll find the guidance you need.
I smiled when the answer came because I knew where it had come from. And when I came out of meditation, I went to see Pete and was all ‘let’s do this’. I was all, yeah man, we rock. I was all clear and confident and grounded in what was true.
So that’s why I meditate. Besides the ripple of bliss that runs through my body when I tune into the stillness. And besides the sanctuary it offers me, wherever I am and whatever is happening. Besides the luxury it affords me as I learn to witness my reactions and see my shadows more clearly. And besides the physical benefits of calming my nervous system and listening to my body-mind. Besides all that, and a whole lot more, it helps me to discern my reality. To move beyond the stories and the limiting beliefs to reach a place of clarity and truth. Where the deepest voice inside of me becomes more familiar and I can learn to recognize my intuition and let it lead the way.
It shows me that it can be done. Whatever it is. And, beyond it all, there is an invincible, endless summer inside that can shed light, warm me up and give me a bit of extra colour when I need it most.