(for those who seek to Do Shit with their minds)
By Steve Marks
“The centre that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.” – W. H. Auden
It was one of those days, battling through the moderate morning traffic, forty minutes or so ’till I’d arrive at work, where waited conflict of its own. While pulled up at a red, staring blankly at the crowded intersection, carbon dioxide leaking out of my car and into my lungs, I was hit with it again. The ‘rat-in-the-race, speeding towards its own destruction’ revelation. It was a physical pain in my gut. A life trying to break through. A higher calling? Whatever it was, it had happened many times before.
“I’d find myself frozen; trapped between contemplating the actual value of a life lived like this, and not quite being ready to cut the ties necessary to be free.”
Is running away to a monastery still a thing? Maybe that’s a little drastic. But the stabbing pain can’t be ignored forever. I resolved in that moment, that if I was to continue in this life, that this ‘voice’, needed to be heard. I made a silent commitment to seek a more mindful state, to make some time hear it whatever it had to say…
I looked in the mirror. Not hairy enough to be a hippie. Not hip enough to be a hipster. Not clean cut enough to be the wealthy, powerful business type…,
What was I doing this all for?
Still probably registering as a bit of a wanker, I pulled a face and had a good laugh. But my intent was pure, coming from a genuine place, and that was more important than my judgements. It was 10 days since my ‘moment’ in the traffic. I’d just completed a ‘Foundation’ meditation set on Headspace. Dave, my brother in both angst and creativity, had put me on to it. It was just the easy, comfortable entry point that I needed. Some dude called ‘Andy’, through the Headspace app, was there to help build up the practice over time. His calm, reassuring and encouraging presence guiding me, helping over time to gently reign in my restless, scattered, crowded and sometimes dark mind.
Getting into a routine and prioritising the time was the trickiest part, but it wasn’t long ’till I’d completed the ‘Foundation’ levels.
“I’d also surprised myself by successfully dissolving a few intense moments through the ‘Stress’ series, and was now getting re-engerised through the ‘Creative’ series, tapping into the surging comsic energy that was holding it all together as I sped through the expanding universe.”
So, needless to say, the guided meditation was actually helping. Probably the biggest gift was that I had emerged empowered with new techniques and the discipline to explore meditation further for myself. There had been other more immediate practical benefits too, such as avoiding a meltdown during one of the most troubling periods of my career. And just a couple of weeks in, and by no means an expert, mediation had indeed provided me with what I needed to feel like I could actually acquire a better balance in my life. But having taken twelve months leave-without-pay from my workplace, hopeful ne’er to return, I suspect there to be some obstacles ahead to maintaining my newfound peace…
“Ahhh, there it is. Pfffffft!” I blew the dust off the Chakra book I’d bought over a year ago. Back then I’d only got two chapters in. The cover, equipped with a rainbow and butterflies, “Sonia, why’d you have to do that!?” I was reminded again that, to obtain a balance in my existence, I’d have to have a good look at what was I was filling it with. I decided to take the next seven weeks to explore, develop an understanding of, and attempt to balance each Chakra. I didn’t know how much of its origins I adhered to, but saw it as a good structure for examining my life, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but more internalised or organic or something.
My first week was unpacking the first Chakra. The root system, the goal ‘to eliminate fear and to exist within the abundance of the universe.’ I visualised having a root system which grounded me, that tapped into the natural resources and would provide all the nourishment needed. I massaged my feet, bought better sole support, organised my junk, cleaned up my room, did some gardening and had a picnic. Check! Now on to the second Chakra, Sacral, the base.
“My goal this week; ‘to eliminate guilt and to enjoy the sensual pleasures of life’. That’s right; guess who’s bringing sexy back this week?”
So the journey has begun, who knows where it will lead, but the aim is more mindfulness in every moment and a more balanced life. In pursuit of a better self, for the purpose of a better world, for the benefit of the universe.
“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” ― Robin S. Sharma
Interested in giving any of it a go? Here are some tips from someone only a few weeks down the track from where you are now!
Get started with some assistance! There are quite a few Apps if you’re into that. I liked ‘Headspace’ because of the consistency and the options. Andy’s quite personable and good at getting you up and into shape. It’s like having a pocket monk, ready to help you when you need it most. You can get a free trial and if you’re too poor they have some charitable partners that I believe can help you out.
I’m sure there are a billion books, and this one might not even be the best one (feel free to add in the comments if you’ve got some recommendations), but True Balance by Sonia Choquette, provides the info in a pretty accessible fashion with ‘common sense’ things you can put into action right a way. A warning to those with fragile masculinities, or just have an aversion to books with butterflies, maybe just buy the digital copy.
I thought these YouTube clips were alright if video is your thing. ‘The Truth About the Chakra’s, Kundalini and Everything You Need to Know’, for the coolest explanation you’ll ever get. If you’re more into cartoons, the Last Airbender will show you through in ‘How To Open Your 7 Chakras’, a good simple introduction.
I highly recommend learning with all senses. I found me some meditative tracks to keep my ears happy, but don’t be afraid to make some playlists to match each level, as mentioned, JT will be keeping me mindful this week.
For the sight and touch, pick up some crystals to match the Chakras, dropping the stones in your pocket is one of the best ways to remind yourself throughout the day. Splash out on some essential oils or incense will engage your best sense. Why not get your taste buds on board with expanding your awareness you’ll have to do some research on matching it up to your dietary requirements, but it’s totally worth it.
What are your experiences in trying to obtain a better balance in life or become more mindful? Share it with us!
Original Artwork by Steve, check out more of his killer shit on RedBubble here.