I walked into the Savannah Zen Center in the hopes of telling them where I was going and what I wanted, what I truly desired. But as I have said before, the nature of desire is wanting not getting. I show up wanting, and the advice of Head Teacher Cindy Beach is to be fully where I am.
The here-ness of my present situation is one that causes me angst. It causes me suffering, because there are problems for which I have no answers. My mind works relentlessly to solve them while I do chores, and so I am not entirely in the moment – ever. Doing this and that at the same time has been my norm for so very long. Last night, when I stopped for a while, it was so quiet. I felt neither good nor bad. I was the space in between that spirit had suggested I find months ago. We leave peace. It doesn’t leave us.
Even as I understood and appreciated Cindy’s informal teaching, I observed my body reacting. I say my body, because my mind was okay with what she said. Ego prompted my body though. When you aren’t identifying with ego and watching it, it’s a curious experience. I walked to my car just fine. By the time I’d driven a block away, tears were falling down my cheeks. Energy swirled and pulsed around my heart chakra, but I couldn’t point to one thing that truly made me sad.
When the tears dried, there was a voice that told me Cindy’s advice to “stop striving” did not mean stop succeeding. When had I started equating the two? College maybe. If your field is full of competition, you must strive to be seen. You must strive to have your work seen. You must strive, or your work is worth nothing. Well, you won’t get paid for it. That’s what we all wanted. The rewards of having our hearts’ designs seen were shown to us on field trips to New York City. They were shown to us in the magazines we cut up to make our collage assignments. Oh, to be there. You have to really want it… to get there.
The idols of the creative soul, at least the one’s modeled for an Art major in the late 90’s, were all people who had tried and tried. They worked and worked. They acquired thick skins and egos built for self-promotion. Confidence in what could be was just as important, if not more so, than where we were at the time. Bags under our eyes and catch-as-catch-can diets meant we were on the path to getting. These scars of our professional aspirations were the sage’s walking stick. When we looked in the mirror, our haggard reflections were supportive. Rest, stillness, contentment, self-care, were the policies of one who didn’t want to get there. So, we asked ourselves dozens of times a day: Do you want this? Can you make the cut in a pack of others with the same desire?
Now, I’m 38. My creative soul is now called to spiritual pursuits as well. What do we call that? The path! The ego is something to release. The striving is something to release. Sitting on a meditation cushion is not a form of transportation. It is not for going through your mental file cabinet. It isn’t even for quieting. It just is. I just am. My ego is annoyed and rooting for me at the same time. I’m here, in the here-ness, not sure where here will be next.