So today, right here, right now, I’ve decided to take my own advice and stop procrastinating. There’s always gonna be less than perfect timing, so I may as well do it while I’m feeling ballsy. Lately I’ve been thinking, which is seemingly all I do with my leisure time anyway, just think. But more specifically I’ve been thinking about this particular math class in twelfth grade. My mind keeps reciting the scenic atmosphere of that day; the fresh cut grass, the warm kiss of the sun and the loud chatter in the classroom. However, the predominant feeling associated with this memory has nothing at all to do with the tranquility that flowed through the campus. Rather it was the berating! Our entire class had just MISERABLY failed a unit test and we got the long disappointed speech.
The only interesting thing I found, among the gibberish, was something she-our teacher- said about the method to our madness. Time after time we get back failing grades, and when the time comes for corrections, we go mad. We gallivant around the room like “headless chickens,” she said. “Look at Chelsea, Theo, Adrian or Taja,” top scholars at the time. “And just look at the method to their problem solving. They sit with the problem, they take the time to think about all the different approaches to it. They don’t run off to their friends or their neighbors looking for the answers.” In retrospect, I could name a few teachers that used this allusion. The funny thing is, not until this year did it actually sprout some significant roots in me.
Over the summer I read a book called, Eat Pray Love, about a woman in search of discovering the pleasures, devotion and balance in life. And in reading this book I got a whirlwind of insight, by the time I was done reading I was a cornucopia of new and exciting epiphanies. The chapter on devotion was written during her stay at an Ashram in India. But what made the author, Elizbeth Gilbert, so relate-able -aside from being a westerner exploring all these new traditions on the eastern side of the world- was her methodical approach to problem solving. In this day and age, in a society that is growing increasingly chaotic by the moment we’ve all developed the ‘monkey mind.’ The mind that never stops going, not for one second, it’s always premeditating the next big move. And as a result, we deprive our minds and our souls of the only thing that they spend all day searching for; quietude. Our own thoughts have become foreign territory to most of us, and we wouldn’t have the slightest clue what to do with ourselves if we ventured there.
In this chapter of Eat Pray Love, Liz talks about a very intensive and ‘ultra-orthodox’ yogic meditation technique, called the Vipassana meditation. This type of mediation requires you to just sit, no more, no less, just sitting. The goal of the practice is, “to offer complete consideration to your thought patterns but allowing nothing to move you from your seat.” No matter how uncomfortable you may become, you must meditate upon the impact that discomfort is inflicting on your mind. Now think about it, in our day to day lives, we’re constantly prancing around things that are associated with discomfort and searching for ways to alleviate the feelings we wish to suppress. In a perfect sense this meditation teaches you that feelings of discomfort are inevitable, whether they’re; physical, psychological, emotional etc, but that nothing is permanent.
In essence I’ve realized that what I have gathered from both teachings coincide with one another. The only way to resolve a problem is to sit with it. It is essential for your mental well being that you learn your ways around the different emotions. It’s not something that comes over night, but like everything else, with repetition it becomes habitual. I have a friend whose constantly in search of love, but he can’t seem to find contentment with himself, with being alone. The best and only advice I could give him was this…To sit with the feelings that bring you discomfort, to dissect the problem so that you’re aware of exactly what it is that you’re uncomfortable with. And then very lovingly, compassionately and confidently welcome those thoughts to a port within your soul.