In The Moment

One of the goals of meditation is to experience mindfulness all the time, even when you aren’t on the mat. Nearly every moment of our waking life is spent thinking about a potential future or mulling over the past. There is certainly a need for planning in life, but most of our thoughts are not really about planning. The wheels in our head are spinning but we are going nowhere. Meditation brings us back into the moment and, ideally, that enjoyment of the “now” (which is all that truly exists) can enter our everyday life.

In a lot of ways, meditation is a lot like MDMA for me.

When I take Molly I am truly in the moment. I feel my body, connect with my loved ones, and enjoy reality without concern over the past and future. This is a truly revolutionary feeling for someone who is kind of introverted like me. Usually, I live in my head, I live in the past and future. With Molly and meditation, I live in my body, the here and now.

I’ve often wondered if introverts tend to prefer Molly while extroverts tend to prefer psychedelics. That hypothesis kind of makes sense to me, though I’m not sure if it can really be tested… maybe someday.

I’m trying to take my meditative practice off the mat, but it is really difficult. Hell, it is still difficult for me ON the mat. But I trust the process and believe meditation will improve all aspects of my life. I just gotta stick with it and take moments each day to breathe and consciously bring myself back into the moment. Instead of showering and thinking about what my day might bring, I can shower and enjoy the feeling of the water, the music on the radio, the joy of being alive. When I drink eat breakfast I can admire the flowers and enjoy the sensations of eating instead of my mind wandering to something embarrassing I did in middle school (god, I hope nobody else remembers the stupid shit I did….)

Living in the now is important. It is all we have. Trapping ourselves in the past and future is a waste of life. I’ll keep working towards “the now” and use all the tools at my disposal, meditation, MDMA, and other practices that appeal to me. Maybe I’ll get back into fire dancing, that had a lot of flow.

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Worry

I meditated today for the first time in over a week. My practice was thrown off by the trip to St. Louis and returning to Myrtle Beach has been stressful because we are in the middle of trying to move to Wilmington. I wish I would have stuck with my practice in St. Louis but, unfortunately, I found myself caught up in the day-to-day and am always kind of embarrassed that someone is going to catch me meditating. I don’t know why there is a bit of shame or discomfort about it… I should probably work on that.

Anyway, today was likely the most difficult 10-minute meditation I’ve ever had. I couldn’t get my mind to calm down at all and I felt like I was dragging through the whole thing. I beat myself up and judged myself a little bit, but eventually I just let the wild mind happen and made the best of it. My mind mostly wandered from worry to worry in my life, but upon examination I realized that my worrying was mostly a waste of time. Almost everything was beyond my control, or the things that I had control over I was already doing the best I could.

This election season is the most batshit terrifying of my life. Both primary candidates are unacceptable by most of the electorate and one only seems appealing because of how awful the other one is. There are all types of things to worry about how the President and government will run next year… but that’s the thing, we shouldn’t worry about that at all. It is 100% out of any of our hands. Our votes don’t really matter (particularly outside of a dozen or so “battleground” states), and even if our vote does matter all we can do is go to the voting booth in November and vote. We shouldn’t waste any real mental energy on it at all. Getting angry or afraid of the future only damages our own happiness.

I’ve also been stressing about finding a suitable house in Wilmington. I thought we found one but someone swooped in and turned in their application before us. I was angry at myself for not acting more quickly, except I shouldn’t be angry at myself. The past is the past, it is unchanging, it is a waste of my life to concern myself with it beyond using it as a lesson to change my behavior in the future. And I’m doing just that. I’m doing all I can to make sure we are in a position to apply quickly when a suitable house comes up. It is probably worth thinking about this process occasionally to make sure I am truly doing all I can, but when I am convinced that I’m doing all I can I should stop worrying.

Similarly, I have some interpersonal stress going on that involves some other people… but I can’t control other people. I can express how I feel and hope they change their behavior, or I can alter my behavior to “punish” them or try and hold them accountable, but if those actions actually make my life worse then I should just let it go. I only get to control my body and my mind, but those are the most important things. 99% of my life experience comes directly from my body and my mind, the rest is just noise. That is where I should focus…

  • If I feel like my body is unhealthy I can cut out unhealthy food and habits, eat better, and exercise
  • If I need more money I can sell things I own, cut out unnecessary bills, or try to work more
  • If my mind feels unstimulated I can start reading more or watch a documentary
  • If I’m unable to focus I can change my environment to make it more suitable for creation
  • If I am having trouble sleeping I can cut off the computer 2 hours before bed and get into better sleep habits
  • If my mind is a wild beast that can’t be tamed I can meditate or barf my thoughts into a blog post

Nearly every aspect of my life is within my control. And the things that are outside of my control I shouldn’t worry about because they are outside of my control. By focusing on them, stressing about them, letting them create anxiety, fear, or anger I let them creep into other parts of my life and give them control. I forfeit my relationships, happiness, and health when I worry about things that I can’t change.

So, I will strive to do better. I will work on me and not concern myself with the rest. My happiness belongs to me.

Magical Refocus

This last weekend two people who are dear to me and I decided to eat some mushroom that had psilocybin in it. I’ve done this a few times in the past with limited results, most times I feel next to nothing and feel like I just wasted $15. I did have one really good trip at Burning Man this last year and really that encouraged me to try it again.

This weekend trip was great. Like most drugs the greatest benefit for me is learning about myself and shrooms are a great tool for that. I have really settled in on the fact that drug use for me is an intimate experience and I prefer to be alone or with a small group. I also tend to like darker environments, well lit places tend to hurt my eyes (physiological or psychological?) but mostly I just feel anxious. I feel much more comfortable laying down in a soft place with low lights and my thoughts. Some people take shrooms and enjoy laughing and talking, that’s great for them but not for me. I do think that with the right people and mood tripping could be an incredibly sensual and intimate experience for people who love each other to share, hopefully I get to really dive into that in the future.

Anyway, I really did some analysis into myself to look at my own prejudices and what I want in the future. I feel much more refocused to work on my writing and am starting on that tonight. By coincidence a image came across my Facebook feed yesterday as well that really struck a cord and I’ve included it below. I feel like my book is really starting to get some structure in my mind and I’m excited about the future. Hopefully as I write I will actually be able to hash out some of my ideas and spend some time proof-reading and refining. I never proof-read and I constantly find errors in my writing, it works for a blog because I do this for me and I don’t care, it won’t work for a book though.