I love my city – but sometimes it can be a challenging experience to live in the middle of a busy, bustling place like Sydney. Walking around, absorbing the sights, sounds, and the energy of the place can be overwhelming, and it’s no surprise that we have to shut down and deaden our senses to cope.
This ‘shrinking’ of our natural selves to fit in with our sometimes claustrophobic surroundings can take its toll, and it’s no surprise that we can begin to lose that connectedness with our inner world, with our natural state, and with the solace that space, quiet and calm can provide. Instead we look to external forces to reassure us and tell us who we are, and we start to measure ourselves and our worth through our jobs, our income and our possessions.
It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of materialism, to define ourselves through what we have, rather than who we are at our ‘core’. Yet the things that create a sense of purpose and identity in us are really just illusions – even our personality and ideas, our beliefs and desires. So who are we really, without all these distractions?
Many of us never fully find out. Even the more spiritually-minded amongst us rarely spend much time questioning who they are behind their identities – and often it’s because it can be a scary place to visit. After all, without work and entertainment, the internet and tv, mobile phones and tablets, our books and music, the sex and the drugs, underneath all that, many of us are pretty fucked up and lost and desperate. So to stop, and sit, and face the core of ourselves without all that can be a rather challenging thing.
Yet you don’t need to go on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas for five years, devote yourself to a higher ‘god’ or guru, or live in a cave far away from civilisation. You only need take a few minutes on a regular basis to fall back into your self. Some people call this meditation, but even that can have off-putting religious connotations for some – so let’s just call it ‘being’.
You don’t need fancy expensive courses to teach you how to ‘be’. It’s innate and natural for all of us – yet the less we practise it, the harder it becomes and the more alien it feels. So take just a few minutes each day to sit quietly, to feel your feelings without judgement and to become more aware of your body, and you’ll begin to shift your focus off the external, and redirect it to ground yourself in who you really are, and in the here and now.
If you find your head is full of chatter, focus on a point one inch below your naval. This is a useful spot for resting your attention, giving you centeredness and grounding, and more body (rather than mind) identification. Don’t force it. Simply allow your focus to be on this point, and when thoughts start to seep in, gently redirect your attention from those thoughts back to this point. Become aware of your sacrum and tailbone, adjust your posture and breathe into it.
Take the time to discover your essential self, and over time, you’ll enjoy more of the innate peace, strength and balance we all crave.
In love and light,