I recently set off to go spend time alone in silence in the mountains and wound up spending nearly a week camping along a river, basically meditating, eating, and sleeping.
Camping Along the Sespe River
Now you’d think it’d be simple enough to sit down and spend time in silence where everything is great and nothing is wrong, but it turns out that wasn’t the case! Wanna watch the mind go crazy? Give it nothing to do!
Okay, so just a little jibber jabbering. I figured this whole “go out and live the life of your dreams” thing was gonna be a big epic adventure, and in a way it is, but honestly that seems to be a bit idealistic. People keep saying “Oh man! That’s so amazing what you’re doing! It looks so cool and so fun!” and yeah, I suppose it looks that way from the outside. At times it is, for sure, but perhaps the best word I can think of to describe it is RAW.
It’s not so much about experiencing life as I’m finding out, but experiencing YOURSELF. It’s basically about coming out of hiding and being more honest with myself and authentic than I’ve ever been…
Today’s post isn’t about something I know, but about something I’m still learning about and would like to have your input on. It has to do with the topic of emotional interdependence in relationships. The question itself is at the end. The majority of the post is just contextual setup and lead-in.
When we’re little kids, we’re very dependent upon our families for food, shelter, love, and so on. Without those things, we’d shrivel up and die.
As we grow up, we begin to develop a sense of independence. We often start to rebel against our parents in our teenage years, go through a time of trying to “find our identities” and develop an independent sense of self, and then eventually move out of our parent’s place and start a life of our own. We develop our independence.
In this independent stage, we can recognize that our happiness is in our own hands. No one else makes us happy. All our emotions are available within, and our mind can act as a sort of gatekeeper or trigger for our emotional states. Realizing this, we recognize that we can simply give ourselves whatever it is we want. For example, the sense of happiness, peace, abundance, well-being, joy, success, or whatever else. Our emotional state of being is completely independent of our external experiences.
Seeing this, we could then say that we could sit around all day visualizing the life we want, injecting ourselves with the emotional stimulation and visualized experiences that we prefer, but you know what? Life is meant to be lived! Visualization and giving yourself what you need yourself is not meant to be a replacement for life, but an addition to it.
Eventually we may come to see that no man is an island. Although much of the journey within is an internal journey that must be walked alone, there’s more to life than the just internal journey. Other people are very important in our lives as well. We can accomplish much more together than we ever could alone. In fact, there are many things in life that you quite simply can’t do yourself. Other people are not only important, but flat out necessary.
Seeing this, we can begin allowing ourselves to become more interdependence and this is where my questions for you guys lies.
We are responsible for our own emotions, yes. No one else is responsible for our happiness and it’s a recipe for suffering to give someone else the responsibility for our emotional well-being. That said, when we enter into a relationship with another, it can be wonderful to have someone there to cheer you up when you’re feeling down, to encourage you and inspire you when you’re feeling discouraged, and to celebrate with you when you’re feeling great.
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
Nevertheless, the person shouldn’t feel obligated to help you, like it’s their duty or their requirement as part of the job. There’s a balance between standing in your own strength and leaning on another for support, between not requiring another to help you out and yet fully opening to them and allowing them to help you out anyways. Where is that balance?
What Do You Guys Think?
There may not be one “right answer” to this, but in terms mutually supporting one another emotionally from a place of unconditional love, what would you guys say is a beneficial way for the two people in a relationship to relate to each other?
Maybe sometimes you help them heal. Other times you leave them be. Things change depending upon situation, context, personality, etc. and so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
Nevertheless, what have you guys done in the past in your relationships and what’s worked for you? What would you say the role of a partner is in terms of emotional intimacy? This applies both to platonic relationships (friends) as well as more intimate relationships, but perhaps moreso the latter.
I have attempted meditation in the past, but for one reason or another was inconsistent in my practice. Recently, I have begun my attempts again with meditation, and the spiritual enlightenment process- but this time I am very serious about it. I am ready to embark on my spiritual journey, and I am in it for the long haul. Strangely enough though, the past week or so I have become even more stressed, which seems to be counter intuitive to what this whole process is about. When I try to meditate I just become frustrated, and when I think about it I feel stressed and fearful. I know that it is directly due to my ego, and the insecurity that initially comes with one stepping outside of their comfort zone. I read your entry about forgetting all truths, and I think that that is one of my biggest problems. I read about “all of this stuff” and subconsciously develop these unrealistic expectations. I am just having so much trouble letting my mind go blank, is it like this for everyone in the beginning? If you could give me some insight, and maybe some advice/tips I would appreciate it so much. I randomly came across your website, but I am very grateful I did. You have really helped me with all of your posts.
Hey there J. Awesome questions. What you’re asking about are some super common things that arise so don’t worry, nothing’s gone wrong. You’re on the right track.
Frustration and Stress in Meditation
I am ready to embark on my spiritual journey, and I am in it for the long haul. Strangely enough though, the past week or so I have become even more stressed, which seems to be counter intuitive to what this whole process is about. When I try to meditate I just become frustrated, and when I think about it I feel stressed and fearful. I know that it is directly due to my ego, and the insecurity that initially comes with one stepping outside of their comfort zone.
Yeah, we would hope that when we go into meditation, we’d immediately go into a state of incredible peace and bliss. It turns out though, that there’s a little bit more of a process to it than that, which is exactly what you’re seeing.
It’s very common to begin experiencing emotional roller coasters as you begin meditating. Basically what happens is that when you start looking at that stuff inside that you’ve been avoiding in the past for whatever reason, it comes right up. It’s like the ego knows your buttons and exactly how to push ‘em to get you to quit seeing it for what it is.
As you said, it’s part of stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you can just allow yourself to feel whatever feelings arise in the moment, that’s all that’s necessary. The practice of meditation becomes nothing more than an openness and allowance to experience anything that arises without identification with it.
The more you can surrender to it, the more quickly it will pass.
I read about “all of this stuff” and subconsciously develop these unrealistic expectations.
Yeah, even the expectations are products of the mind, ideas that suggest that you should be experiencing something other than what you’re experiencing now. The future should be somehow better or different than what is now. This is just what minds do.
Minds can do amazing things, like even taking spiritual teachings and turning them into more mental gymnastics. Lots of things arise, like these subconscious expectations, that can be consciously let go of once they are recognized for what they are: just more mind stuff.
We continue to go deeper and deeper, layer by layer.
How do you deal with your personal wants and desires? Do you go out and seek to accomplish them? Do you feel that you can’t do it or are unworthy and give up? Do you try to get someone else to do things for you? Do you expect God to do it make things happen for you? Do you try and deny your wants? Do you pray? Do you mainly use the Law of Attraction? There are many, many effective strategies for handling our numerous desires. Pause for a moment and reflect on which methods have you used in your own life and which ones have been most effective in the end.
Let’s take a look at wants and desires themselves and explore yet another way to respond to them.
Why does getting what we want feel good?
Now, we all want things in life and when we finally get the shiny new things, we feel great.
We believe that we feel so good because we’ve satisfied the want and fulfilled an inner need. However, this is actually a mistaken understanding.
The reason we feel good after getting something we wanted is that we are now no longer wanting!
Have you noticed that? For a period of time after we get what we want, we rest in the state of being totally okay, of being fulfilled and not wanting anything.
It is this state of not wanting anything (which is our natural state) that is ACTUALLY what feels really good. Our true nature is amazing!
Happiness can never truly come from outside of us and the universe does a great job of teaching us this.
Think back to a time when you really really wanted something and eventually got it. Hooray!! Yippee!! How long did the good feelings last? A few minutes? A few hours? Days? Perhaps a whole week even? How long did they last in your personal experience?
If that thing is really what made you happy, then as long as you always hold onto that thing, you should always be happy, right? After all, it’s what makes you happy! You should be set for life! Read More …
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