I sit here at 800 am on a Saturday morning, listening to the latest Chris Cornell album, ready to teach an English lesson to a friend, the day after my regular fast on a Friday.
I feel good; fresh, awake, alive, enough to appreciate the cup of coffee mocha next to me which will be sipped gracefully over the next few minutes. Like everything in life, I am taking time more time to “stop and smell the roses ” in more ways than one. Instead of just spending my life in one continuous stream of sensory satisfaction, from 800 pm on a Thursday to the same time Friday night, I am learning what it is like to have an empty stomach, and listen to it making various noises and rumbles as it cleans itself over those 24 hours.
Lately when I eat, instead of my up till now usual “inhalation without mastication”, I am actually chewing my food; instead of just gulping my drinks down, I take a mouthful at a time and actually try to experience what is happening moment to moment. Maybe for you this is all well and known, but for me its all too easy to get caught up in the world around me, and I have got to slow down and be more in the present with this life that could be (theoretically) already half over.
For me, when shit hits the fan at work and in my personal life, I normally look for ways to distract myself from the situation till it passes or resolves itself, hence the food habits et al. Now, at this point in time in my life, I am tired of running, and I want to face my own fears head on.
Hence I have a boxing lesson today, another of my pet fears.
I grew up with an elder brother who not only was the toughest guy in the neighborhood, was also unpredictably violent at home, perhaps due to the fact that my father was also a very aggressive person as well, and me and my younger sister lived in fear of both of them. Because of this, I never really had a chance to express my physical nature; not sure why that happened, but I was always the one who would burst into tears.
That’s not to say I didn’t have fights- I did, I just avoided them at every possibility, but I was an easy mark for any bully who had any sense of the mind game that often goes on behind the human balance of power. So, at 43, I am going to get over it, and get used to having someone give me a smack in the head, and learn that if I have to, I can fight back.
As a meditator of 20 years plus, I have learned to extend my awareness in the world around me, and spot trouble long before it finds me. Most of the time this works well, and I have avoided strife and predicted its happening long before those around me had any idea it was about to happen. But one day, its going to get in real close and not allow me a chance to escape. I may have to defend myself. I do not look forward to violence, but I do not want to be the ready and waiting victim any more either. I want to know, to be sure that if I have to, I can stand my ground. Lets test out those fears!