Tangled Up In Good

inner-logoWe are all trying to be so good. It becomes as unconscious as breathing. If only we could really “get” that no trying to be good is necessary or even useful.

Case in point, the set up:

The other day my partner David snapped at me. I am so very sensitive. There was a time, not long ago, when this seemingly minor event would have sent me into a tail spin for the rest of the day in which I would have relived the event over and over in my monkey-mind ad infinitum.

Let’s note here that the dynamic is the same for a major transgression. It’s so helpful to work it out with the minor events so you learn the skills to use if something major should occur…or has occurred in the past.

My first response was logic. I effortlessly excused his grouchiness because I knew it was his morning quiet time and I was pressuring him for a logistics decision. Besides, he apologized.

I congratulated myself on how easily I had let it go. (Uh, oh.)

Then I went out onto the deck to meditate. I had a delightful meditation in which I did indeed sit with an empty mind and feel myself as a tiny dot of the All-that-is. I could feel that the sublime sense of spiritual connection is the only Truth. The rest is all just good ideas.

In other words, I thought I was doing really well and had moved effortlessly beyond the morning tangle with David.

When I got done, I went inside. David was on the phone laughing with someone. As soon as he saw me, he went outside to finish his conversation.

Whack! Out of nowhere, I suddenly got my feet knocked out from under me, swept into a dark, deep, black emotional hole.
My mind said, “Oh, great. I get his grouchy side and he saves his fun, laughing side for someone else and I’m excluded.”

angry woman
The Untangling:

What to do? I didn’t like the love of my life very much at that point. And it didn’t feel very good to be me either.

Well, following my own advice, I surrendered to the moment. I focused on being the Observer of myself. I stayed with those feelings of being unappreciated, unvalued, no-one-loves-me. Old, old feelings. I just sat with them.

I could easily see that there was nothing here to be upset about. And yet, here I was, still upset anyway and stuck at the bottom of a hole no less. Even after he came inside and shared what he’d been laughing about, even after I admitted I was ensnared in this hole, even then I still found myself pulling away from him. And from me.

The key here is: I never believed the story my mind was telling me. I knew if I just stayed with it, without trying to change it or run away from it, I would eventually emerge out of the hole. Patience.

Then the phone rang. Our friend called with a funny story. I found myself laughing hard and Presto! I was out of the hole. When we hung up, I looked around…no black hole.

That day I learned you can’t have a good laugh from the bottom of an emotional hole. You have to climb up out of that hole to laugh. Then you have a choice, you can go back down into it…or not.

hole w sky
The Moral of This Story

“OK,” you might wonder, “What if your friend hadn’t called with a funny story? Huh? What then?”

And this is where I want to point out the uselessness of “trying” to be good. I had all my bases covered, right? As far as my conscious mind knew, I had moved past the hurt feelings from our little event. I had a great meditation. I was good. See how good I was?

And still those unconsciously swept-under-the-rug feelings got the best of me. Feelings I didn’t want to allow to be.

But by just being Present with them, by being the Observer of myself, I opened a space for the release of those feelings I was trapped in. I opened a space for that phone call, at that particular moment in time, for that phone call to bring in a new, delightful, carefree energy.

If it hadn’t been that call, it would have been some other unplanned intervention, because the space was open in me to receive it.

I caught the gold ring on the merry-go-round. If I hadn’t been being surrendered to just observing, if I’d been trapped in trying to “fix” myself, I might not have even noticed the gold ring was available. I might have succumbed to the hole once more. Instead I found myself back in my center, feeling empowered.

woman at beach
You can try this out in your own life. And here’s encouragement if you already are. Just keep hanging in there, being Present…wait…patiently wait…wait. And watch what blossoms forth…perhaps not what your personality had planned, but right in line with your Soul’s growth.

Much love,

Practicing Presence
a short foundational meditation (8 min.)
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