NomadYogi: Let Your Self Go
My dear friends,
Did you miss this little blog?
Did you miss my ramblings – my barely organized, ~1,000 word essays on Life, travel, existentialism, and theory of Mind? My half-diary, half-journal, half-outpouring of emotion that I am helpless to stop? (I know that’s too many halves, but math isn’t my strong suit.) Well, apparently, a few of you do. …and I do, too.
I miss writing. I miss the effusive state of mind that compels me to write. My “normal” life, if you can call it that… (well, I can’t call it that. Scratch that.) My point is that my life back home doesn’t drive me to write. I am too comfortable. I find that when I am out of the country, the words flow easier.
And yet, this time, the words haven’t come yet. I was in Thailand for almost 3 weeks and, although I’d started writing this entry several times, I had not felt like anything good was coming out. Good. As in, good-enough-to-share. Because, I want for my submissions to be worthwhile. I want to say something to you that makes you think, or laugh, or both, and, so far, nothing compelling has come forth.
And so, I’m writing now, not so much for your benefit, but for mine. So, bear with me.
It is good for me to be here alone. Traveling alone has a way of shutting down some of my programming… and it’s better that I go through that by myself. My mind becomes confrontational and, in having less to do each day, I begin to experience thought loops. Questions arise: Why am I working so hard? And on what? And for whom? Should I be doing something else? Could I be doing what I do in a healthier way?
I see people here who are living their own lives, independent (it seems) of the vagaries of my mental circus. Certainly, they don’t have it all figured out. But they have figured something out. I mean, they are living in paradise. Here, I see people who are traveling the globe. And they seem to have a perspective on life that seems much lighter than mine, no doubt due to a life on the move, replete with experiences of different cultures, individuals, and, I’m sure, probably surviving a set of personal crises that can only result in a life of this kind of exploration and adventure. So, yes, they are lighter. And a bit freer.
Because I am so serious. I am constrained by serious things. And, in trying to make a difference in the world, I have focused on a world that is beyond my control. It’s as if I have scripted a mental story about myself that results in my caring, way too much, about things I have neither the skill nor power to influence: my past, my parents, the destruction of the natural environment, eroding privacy rights in the new paradigm of the information age, global finance, military movements. It sounds stupid, but I have invested a lot of my time and energy into understanding and struggling with these things.
Where is the joy? Where is the pleasure? Where is the relaxation that can be had in a life that is focused on the misery of the 24-hour news cycle? What kind of fulfillment is possible, living a life that is subject to what other people do and think?
As I end my first month outside of my home country, I’m pleased to report that I’m already suffering from the whims of my overactive mind. Well, the good news isn’t that I’m suffering, exactly. It’s that I’ve actually recognized that I am, and how. One cannot find freedom, if one cannot recognize the prison. Yes, this kind of suffering is the good kind. This kind of suffering makes one desperate for resolution. And desperation, my dear friends, is sort of like a pre-requisite to Satsang, which I entered this week, in India.
I am learning that the only response to suffering, you see, is it to let it go.
I never knew how important it was to let go. Surrender is not given a high value in the West. In fact, we strive towards the opposite. We believe strength is demonstrated through unyielding determination, courage, and will. We believe softness, flexibility, acceptance, and surrender are terms that connote weakness. We’ve been taught to rage into the night, rally ‘round a fearless leader, strive towards a better life that is evidenced by material possessions, and never give up.
But perhaps a better approach to life is to learn to let go – to find safety, if one must, in fluidity, adaptability, and a little bit of chaos. To let go of your expectations, your shouldn’t/should’s and rather, appreciate life, itself, as it is, accepting the natural limitations of everyone and everything, with a respectful understanding of the natural cycles of progression and decline. Easier said that done? Maybe we only think so. We will all have to let go when our turn comes for the final exit. Why not learn to let go, voluntarily, and see what Life is really about before that time comes?
You’re right, that probably is easier said than done.
In the future, I’m going to link my essays to my 8tracks page so you can enjoy some new music, too. This time, however, I present to you, a link, which will, upon clicking, enable you to download a full 2 hours of continuous Electronic Tanpura drone. (This will be especially valuable to my Mysore friends in Mill Valley.)
What is a Tanpura? It helps keep the key-note for players of various Indian musical instruments such as the Shehnai and Sitar, similar to how a metronome keeps the tempo for the piano, or whatever. Used on it’s own, it can create a trance-inducing state that is great for mediation.
Or, if you’re not into meditation of any kind, it can be really boring.