My Experiment: Part 5
(You can read Part 4 here: My Experiment: Part 4 – Breaking Patterns)
It’s astounding how insidiously my mind continues attempting to create programs and slip into autopilot. I’m not sure why that happens. Perhaps because coasting on autopilot requires less mental energy than staying fully aware and responsive to the environment?
Again, I found myself getting really busy and all wound-up in my head, but for completely different reasons this time. My friend Chris was in town for the past two and half weeks (he arrived the same day I did). The last couple days, we were celebrating his birthday and send-off. It was a lot of fun, but a tad hectic… very active, lots of doing, not as much time for being. After he left, I was feeling a bit muddled, a little hung-over and coming down from the rush of all the activity. I don’t regret the adventures, it was a great time, but it left me wanting more, desiring the next fix of excitement.
Fortunately, the stillness and magic of Costa Rica’s natural beauty rescued me once more. At sunset, I went for a walk along the beach. I decided to search for shells and rocks to decorate my apartment, so I started playing close attention to the beach. It was spectacular. The diversity of color in the shells and rocks is absolutely astonishing. The more I looked, the more marvels I found. I felt like a child in wonderland, amazed by everything around me. Soon my hands and pockets were full and I forced myself to stop looking, because everywhere I glanced, another gorgeous piece called out to me.
Then I stopped and sat on a log, immersed in the melody of crashing waves and the dimming light of the gloaming. No other souls around, except for a pair of dogs who cruised past on their evening jaunt. I started playing with my treasures, not really trying to do much, just tinkering with them, examining them, experimenting with their positioning relative to each other. It’s remarkably freeing, to just play in an unstructured manner like that. No plan, no agenda, just letting my creative instincts wander, interacting with the beauty surrounding me. The elegance of the results surprised me.
When I have lots of fun, it makes me want to keep having fun, to seek out ways to recreate the great experiences I just had. My brain starts scheming, plotting, planning ways to fabricate another great adventure, instead of simply experiencing the circumstances at hand. My intellect devises a plan for some future peak event, and then starts judging the situations that unfold according to the plan instead of fully living in the moment as it occurs.
Often, it’s not a fully conscious program, there’s just a loop spinning in the background, comparing the current environment to the last one, deciding if it’s as much fun or not. I think that’s why alcohol and drugs are popular, they help shutdown those algorithms running in the background.
Balance, finding the right balance is a constant struggle. I heard somewhere that you’ll never be balanced, you’ll always be balancing. There will never be a time when everything is perfectly balanced, you continually need to seek balance. Spending all my time alone on the beach is not the answer, neither is spending all my time in town, around people. The trick is finding the harmony between the two, and between all the other circumstances of my life.
I think the key is to let go of all schemes to create the “perfect” experience. When I stop comparing my surroundings to the plan and fully observe them as they are, it’s easier to see the perfection and grace already present in every situation. By releasing my expectations of how things should be, I’m free to live in the moment as it is.
It’s a work in progress, but I feel like I’m making progress🤗.
You can read Part 6 here: Slowing Down.