This is only a test….
There is an old Sufi teaching story about a character by the name of Mulla Nasrudin. A man is walking home one night and sees Mulla Nasrudin on his hands and knees under a street lamp outside his home. “Mulla, what are you looking for?” He asks. “The key to my house.” Nasrudin replies. The man gets down next to him and helps him look. After they search for a while with no luck, the man asks Nasrudin where he dropped the key. Nasrudin waves his arm towards his darkened home and says “over there, by my house”. The man exclaims “Then why are you looking for it over here??” to which Mulla Nasrudin replies; “Because there is more light over here”.
We find this story funny because it seems so obviously silly. But is it? We all go looking in questionable directions for answers to our problems. Some of us turn to vices such as drugs and alcohol. Some of us become obsessive about things we can control when there are factors in our lives that we can’t. Others get angry and bitter, taking their feelings of helplessness out on those that are truly helpless. How often does it occur to any of us that we may find the answers where it is the darkest? Inside ourselves.
The past several months I have gone through an incredibly difficult time. My very notion of who I am and what I want has been challenged. At times I felt as if I were a balloon that had been severed from my tie. With no control over the direction I was heading, I felt as if I was at the mercy of the wind… bobbing and swaying, drifting all over the place. After many failed attempts to find some sense of place from other sources, I realized that I must turn in and sit with what was happening inside myself. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. To retreat and be still when every bone in my body was screaming “surround yourself with people! go out and party! get out! get away!” was a great test.
Tonight as I was returning home from my walk with the dogs, I came upon one of the local homeless people I see around quite a bit. I have noted that he pivots between two main emotions; anger and euphoria. This evening he was standing by an apartment complex’s outdoor washer/dryer, watching the spin cycle and yelling joyously, “THIS IS ONLY A TEST!!!”.
And maybe, that’s all this stuff really is…. a test. I think we would all react to it a bit differently if we thought that were true. My sits both yesterday and today(okay, okay, so I didn’t post about my sit yesterday… again, I make the rules here, so sue me.) were pretty eye opening. I like to think of myself as an honest person, and I am for the most part, with everyone but myself. As I sit more frequently(3 weeks worth as of today yeeeeeehaw!) I am finding that my ability to be brutally honest with el numero uno(that’s me!) is pretty impressive. I had such a major aha moment with myself two days ago that it sent me into 2 major, awesome panic attacks… now that IS impressive!!! And why am I not freaking out more about the anxiety? Well, it seems the more I sit, the more I am beginning to realize what a sneaky snake this brain of mine is, and I’m starting to find it a bit comical…. I’m finding myself speaking to it as if it is a different entity; “Oh come on! You ain’t slick!”. And it’s really not people, it’s really not. Our minds are just the product of all the different ways we’ve taught it to deceive ourselves… wait what? Yeah, you might need to read that again. We have, unbeknownst to ourselves, created the monster that rallies against us day in and day out. Of course we had a little help. Our society… no explanation needed. Our parents, god bless them, they didn’t know. Our fears, our wants, our needs. And all that is really required for us to take back the night is for us to sit in the dark with ourselves….
So do it. Embrace the beast. See what you might find when you leave the warm glow of the street lamp and search where the answers really lay…. in the dark.
And at the end of it all, we may just find ourselves joyously proclaiming “it was only a test”…… xx