I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for about six months and it finally hit me this morning while laying in bed while I was trying to fall back to sleep on a Holiday day off. So, here I am at 4:23 in the morning, writing this post.
I used to be a little prejudiced against meditation because I wasn’t ever going to be one of the hokey “ohoooooom” people, though my semi-ignorant disdain for what I used to believe were fake people has loosened over the last year. I look at the ohoooom folks like I would a fake martial artist who claims he can knock people out of a fight with his mind. Unlike the one-inch punch, the “no punch” is pure bullshit. However…
I learned to find me in meditation, though. I can still be the ruggedly handsome fella I am, without having to tip over to the odd.
For the longest time, I would filter my thoughts through a big sifter. Anything I didn’t like, including looking at whether or not my actions were decent, wise, good, or even worthwhile, would be thrown out as a useless thought. I became so good at this, my Tenth Step work took a matter of a minute a day, often resulting in me coming to the wrong understanding that I didn’t harm anyone or do anything worth reproach in a day. I’d come to the conclusion that, if I’d harmed someone, it was on them.
F***in’ hell, that was ignorant. And quite a bit narcissistic.
One morning, about ten months ago, I opened my eyes and found out just how wrong I was. The wrong-headedness was so steep, I couldn’t keep order to my thoughts and the way I perceived them. It was like one of those sleeper waves that looks to be harmless as it approaches but all of a sudden you realize it’s breaking three feet over your head and it flips you for a loop. If you’ve never been hit by one, you’re missing out. It’s a fun ride. As long as the wave is tumbling you helplessly over sand.
The only thing that brought order and peace to the wave of thoughts was meditation. I learned how to pay attention to what was happening in my melon (and in the melon committee) and sort everything out. At first, with all of the activity, it took upwards of an hour. After a time, I managed to get that down to ten to twenty minutes.
Today, usually right after I’ve written a post in the morning and while I’m shaving and showering for the day, I get into reviewing the day before. Did I wrong my wife? How about my kids? Did I do anything wrong to any friends? How about co-workers? Did I speak too quickly, or say something incorrectly, or carelessly? [ED. Normally we do this at night, but I fall asleep easily enough I don’t have to, and I’d rather work on such things when I can do something about them – the morning works better for me]. Then I turn to my feelings. Do I feel I was wronged? Was there anything I left unsaid out of fear that will lead to resentments later? What am I afraid of right now? How are my emotions holding up? Are they holding me up? What could I have done better yesterday? What can I do about that today?
Then, after I’ve cleaned myself up inside and out, I head off to wake up with my wife. I review where I went wrong the day before, if there was anything that needed tending to. We talk about anything in our marriage that needs looking at. Rather than dismiss everything I don’t like as garbage, I assess everything we talk about. I own all of my stuff and tell my wife what I will own and what I don’t, and why I don’t. Perhaps she misperceived something I did, or improperly ascribed motive to something I did. I handle all of this without lying or trying to hide bad intentions with good. Truth is subjective. Not lying and choosing to not be manipulative isn’t. [ED Your truth can be different from mine, but everyone knows when they’re lying or manipulating with untruth to skew an outcome]
What I’ve learned over this time is that I operate on a lot of fear. Fear that my behavior was bad enough that I pushed my wife out of our marriage was massive early on in this little experiment. I held fear that my wife wouldn’t change, of what things would look like if only I changed… I was driven by a hundred different forms of fear, as they say. With my new meditative inventory, I learned to live fearlessly. The easiest way to do this was to acknowledge my fears and talk about them with my wife… and yes, there was plenty of fear in that as well!
As we progressed, though, I learned that my fears were mainly what we call False Evidence Appearing Real. I chose to look at things differently. What I once thought was my wife attacking me (or weaponizing my words against me, as they say) was really my wife trying to help me move through the world a little less stupidly.
Once I took the fear out of moving through the world stupidly, I came to learn that I didn’t have anything to fear in trying to be a better me. I could lay anything out there and we’d come up with a solution together. Shortly thereafter, my wife was talking about her fears, too. And we’d work on those.
It didn’t take long to dispatch with much of the bullshit we used to sweep under the rug out of fear… to a point we had to walk around the freaking rug because it was too high to climb over.
And that brings me right back to this post. I’ve been trying to work out how to write this little bastard for months. And there I was, just laying in bed, meditating… and it hit me.
That’s how it works. Happy New Year’s Eve, eve!
I hope you and your wife (and family) have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, eve, and day 2023!
We are having a wonderful time of things. Thank you, and to you as well!
Well, this post ended up being nice practical advice. But when it started, I did think for a second that you were going to show up with organic linen bib shorts on the next club ride, start clipping aromatherapy spritzers to the handlebars in the Venge and change your name to Moonglow Morningflower.
Happy New Year, and I hope your resolutions include making enough extra money to buy… you know…
Brent, you are awesome, brother. Thanks so much for the laugh. Too good! Happy New Year to you and yours.
Happy New Years! Congratulations on 30 years!
Thank you! Happy New Year to you as well!