Between Two Worlds

 

BetweenTwoWorldsArt Credit: http://maye6.deviantart.com/art/Bridge-Between-Two-Worlds-374582242

 

It appears to me, at this moment, that there are two worlds, opposite each other, that I am torn between.

One World, the world of money, of material things. A world driven by material success and objects as status symbols. The world of fancy dress, the denial of emotion, the suppression of feelings in order to fit a mold projected upon us by external forces.

The Other, a world of self expression. A place where emotions are expressed and cherished, both good and bad, where the drive to move forward is built upon mutual uninhibited self expression and the desire to explore the deeper meanings our interactions and emotional hangups.

Perhaps, torn between in the wrong term. The more I explore this spiritual realm, the more I realize how much both are needed. One will support the family I wish to create, while one frees my spirit to express itself fully with no limitations or denial or the self.

Is there a way to live in both worlds completely and not feel like I am betraying one or the other?

I have no desire to “use” one to complete the other.

That feels inauthentic.

Someone told me recently that in the practice he studied, there are typically two paths one can take in the spiritual journey.

  1. Nirvrtti Marga – You can break free of all society, and go live in a cave for 40 years in order to reach a higher spiritual plane.
  2. Pravrtti Marga – You envelope your responsibilities, raise a family make money and as you find time in between, progress your spiritual journey as time allows.

I have been giving that some thought as of late.

Are the two really different?

Going off in to a cave to find the secrets of the universe seems somewhat self serving to me. A practice that feels driven by the ego, to separate from the “material” world and only seek the connection to the spiritual plane with no interaction to the physical.

Though, so does fully allowing yourself to be consumed with the pursuit of money or with power or status. Or self abandoning by creating a world or structure that is purely based on gaining money for the support of a family or objects. It seems as if that could have the same traps at multiple levels.

So, I guess I kind of reject that they are truly separate paths.

I feel that once one starts down the path of self exploration, it never really stops.

You cant just, get off the ride.

Not without causing damage in one way or the other that will manifest externally eventually. Whether it be a fight with a spouse, an argument at work or even a drug or alcohol problem later down the line to silence that voice.

At least, this has been my experience when I self abandon and try to pretend I didn’t just realize some deep seeded belief or motivation that has powered all my decisions leading up to this point.

It seems easy to just hide away in a cave somewhere, sure it would have its difficulties, but it seems they would all be internal. There would be no way to “express” or test them in the outside material world in which we are all really a part of.

There would be no manifestation of those discoveries back in the “material” world. No opportunity to see how they shifted, or perhaps even upset the things within it and in turn learn to listen and understand how that shifts back and influences you.

Its my thought that you don’t really know if you have discovered something until it has manifested externally. Our experience is all internal and we can make all the conclusions we want on the inside. Make beliefs that aren’t challenged by anything or anyone, but our own thoughts and perspectives, but where the rubber meets the road is when belief is expressed externally and met with the friction of the outside world.

Only then can we put our discoveries to the test, as well as our conviction, and truly understand how they are felt within AND without.

So, no. I don’t see a difference between them.

I will continue to seek the middle ground between them.

Perhaps, it is a path not yet discovered and there is no one to lay it out for me. In which case I shall just continue to follow the clues I see from the people before me as well as the clues within.

Or, perhaps there is a master along my path who pass that knowledge within me instantly.

But, the latter doesn’t really sound very rewarding.

After all, what use is knowledge that isn’t gained through our own experience or pain of change? Is that truly ours? or do we even really understand it?

I don’t know. Maybe I am just missing something.

 

Colds, Exhaustion, Frustration and Food

I haven’t written in my journal or my blog (obviously) in over two weeks.

When I got back from vacation, I was completely floored for 4 days with, what I am assuming to be, the flu. Since then, I have been trying to get my strength back to practice at full capacity again. My morning routines have fallen away as I have been restless through the night fighting off night sweats and yet to have a full nights rest, leaving me exhausted for much else then trying to get ready for the work day.

I have been to several classes, but as I was not sure if I was contagious I missed a week and a half after I got back. Since then, I have gone to 4.

We are learning the sword in the advanced class, so that has been memorization and the other classes I have been leading or going through the 24. I have picked up some new concepts from the reviews, but over all I just feel extremely distant from my practice.

Without my personal practice time, I loose my connection to my body in class and I am not able to delve as deeply in to the forms, or the movement in general. I begin to look at it again through the analytical mind instead of discovering the movement through my body.

This has lead to a lot frustration internally that tries to lash out looking for someone or something to blame it all on. From my inability to ask the right questions, to looking for more teachers, to wondering if I have ever been actually developing in the first place.

But the crux of it is, I have not been practicing and the blame rests squarely on me and my exhaustion. But perhaps blame is the wrong word, it implies wrong doing, I have just been too tired to focus on full training.

It’s a couple weeks of this built up that I woke with yesterday morning. A morning with eyes open at my regular time (7AM), feeling awake and with more energy I have had in the last couple weeks.

So naturally, I decided to work out AND train.

I have read that working out can help boost the immune system, and in the past when I was training for intense obstacle course races, I had broken this cycle of getting sick during the winter. So the answer must be that I need to start sweating regularly again.

I kicked the morning off with 15 minutes of meditation, to get my mind right. Then I went in to my routine.

Squats, leg lifts, crunches, squat holds, scissor kicks and hip thrusts. Aimed at getting my legs and core activated and the blood\sweat pumping.

It took about 30 minutes total, but was aimed mostly for intensity and I worked up a really nice sweat.

Then it was time to train, I practiced what I learned of the sword twice, then timed 15 minutes of stick work targeting a deep horse stance and keeping my mind centered and focused on the activity at hand,or at least pulling the attention back when I felt it wander. (After almost two weeks without meditation it was quite the greased hog to settle down).

Then it was time to eat, I was feeling really good!

3:00 hit at work, it was time to do Qigong with a coworker. We have been doing 15 -20 minute routines just as a nice afternoon break, yet another thing that has not been done in 4 weeks. (Vacation + sickness + exhaustion).

So, I was all jazzed and feeling great so we went off and did a full 30 minutes. It was probably one of our best sessions, we both worked up a sweat and I was able to correct a couple of movements for him.

Overall, I was feeling pretty good about myself and honestly really excited about being able to start real practice again.

Then about 5:30, I started to feel it.

A flushing of my cheeks and a heat to my face. At that moment, I realized that I had also been coughing today more than the last couple. One that was more insistent than just a nagging piece of phlegm that had dislodged and needed to be expelled.

The worse kind of cough, a dry pointless one.

My girlfriend, out of pure chance, made her famous chicken soup last night.

Perfect timing, I thought to myself.

I gobbled it down, along with tea and zinc for dessert.

But it only helped momentarily.

At 10 the coughing started again, and I could feel the pressure in my sinuses start to build. It was taking hold.

Coupled with an open window last night, and the heater in the house being turned off. I woke up sick.

I was up sneezing at 5 AM, blowing my nose and wheezing yet again.

I woke up long enough to gargle with salt water and write an email to my teacher saying I’m not coming in for fear of infecting others.

Needless to say, I am pretty god damn tired of being sick.

This time I am going to defeat it fully. I am going to be eating chicken soup every day and drinking tea with every meal, I will just take stock of my studies and read some books. Practicing VERY lightly until I feel strong for more than a day.

sick

Energy Vampires

Oh Hello.

How have you been?

Oh, Good.

Yeah, I have been super busy trying to get back into the routine since I got back from vacation on tuesday. It ended up being a great trip, but it made me realize a couple things;

1.) I need a much longer vacation.

2) Driving TO vacation is fun. Driving back, sucks a big fat one.

I ended up staying an extra day up at the cabin with my family, which was much needed as I would have only been up there for half a day if I followed my original plan. In the mornings, my family joined me for qigong outside in the mountain air. I have two nieces, ages 6 and 1, and let me tell you it is the most adorable thing in the world seeing a 1 year old flop around trying to qigong :). One of the highlights of my trip for sure, I only hope my sister ended up getting some video of that little golden nugget.

The week back has been interesting, tuesday I got back into the city at 7 AM after driving all night long and consuming enough caffeine to kill a small horse. I got home and just passed out immediately only waking up for some dim sum before going right back to sleep until tai chi class later that night. The dim sum was a major mistake. It had a nice little food poisoning surprise for me that destroyed my digestive system and I am still (5 days later) dealing with it. Won’t be ordering from there anymore.

Despite the stomach problems, it has been a full week of practice, hitting my regular scheduled times and meditation. Just was never quite centered enough to sit down and write, still feeling a little off, but I felt the pull to get some stuff on to the digital paper.

There is a subject I wanted to at least touch on today, energy vampires.

The things in our lives that eat up our mental energy. These things exist in our heads and in our environment. More often than not hardly even noticed or just absorbed in to our daily operations.

As I was leaving the cabin, my sister mentioned something off hand. She reminded me she had bought a new car and she was really enjoying it. She realized after buying it how stressed out she had been about her old car, always wondering if it would break down, just super tense about going anywhere for fear she wouldn’t make it.

I had some time to ponder this on the car ride; that comment seems like such a little thing. An almost off the cuff realization about just feeling a considerably less stressed. But think about it, that stress was something she was unconsciously living with everyday. A little piece of her mind and energy was being devoted to spinning up the possible misadventures that her car would take her on at any possible moment. How often did that fear prevented her from going out and doing something she may have wanted to do? How often did it affect her schedule? She just lived with it for quite some time. Learned to embody it in to her daily life but was it a conscious decision?

How many of things like that do you have? Stresses that have just creeped into your life that you now live with needlessly?

I have plenty, in fact, I recently just removed one I had.

I needed a haircut. I was long overdue for one in fact, but I just couldn’t get myself out to get one. I was worried the way it would make me look, the time had to find to get one, the instructions I would need to give the barber…etc. Finally, I was ready to get it done, I was at my family home and I was sick of it. Just one snafu, there were no barbers open!

I was done worrying about it, it was currently 105 degrees out and I wanted this hair out of my face. So I grabbed my moms trimmers and shaved it.

After I did, I felt relieved, I didn’t have to waste anymore thought on it. I had been spending so much time worrying about it that there was actually a weight lifted off me. I realize now that weight had been slowing getting heavier as the weeks went by without a haircut, the maintenance was getting harder, the hats weren’t quite fitting as well…just one thing after another adding to the self consciousness of what was on my own head.

I realize that this is a completely ridiculous example. There are much bigger things to worry about and obviously the solution is to just get a haircut more often….but it’s just a minor example of how easy it is for stresses to pile up on our lives. How many of them are needed? How many of them are conscious stresses?

What if every week, we actively removed an unneeded stress? Would that allow ourselves to be more fulfilled? Would we utilize that extra energy for something productive or beneficial to ourselves?

I have no idea, but it’s food for thought. I for one am going out to buy a pair of clippers.

Todays Practice:

  • 1.5 hours Primordial Qigong
  • 1.5 hours beginning tai chi
  • 2 hours nap (Totally Counts)

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