This is my fourth post on Living Vipassana. I have been excited about being a contributor here from Day 1. It was exactly the right addition to my week; it fits perfectly with how I am carving out my life and where I want it to head. For example, although regular meditation has always been an important part of my life that often doesn’t get done, weekly contribution on a meditation blog keeps it in the forefront for me.
Experiencing change and reflecting on change are distinct activities. Experience happens in the moment. Reflection is after the fact; reflection involves analysis and introspection, resulting in deeper intellectual understanding. Writing–as a weekly habit with accountability–forces me to make time for reflection. Reflection, by my definition, needs quiet introspection and analysis, which often gives rise to questions in me that I haven’t discovered the answers to yet. This, in turn, brings and keeps meditation in the forefront for me. What a beautiful cycle!
During one of these reflection times a question arose in me: in spite of the excitement that I have for writing on this blog, why haven’t I told people that I am writing here? A couple of very close comrades know–like, my significant other, my sister, and the close-knit group of my accountability group. Other trusted individuals discovered on their own because they’re frequent readers of this blog. What about others, though? Why don’t I mention this when “so, what else is new?” echoes in a conversation? Am I choosing humility or safety?
I think safety. Notice the choice of words above: close comrades, close-knit group, trusted individuals. If I were coming from a place of humility, that would be wonderful. Unfortunately, however, I think I am coming from a place of fear. By choosing only close and trusted individuals, I am avoiding possible difference in opinions, difference in interests, possible judgments, and/or active and passive conflicts.
The bare truth is that my fears are imaginary, created by my own mind. It is impossible to know what someone thinks or how someone feels without their sharing. Thus, the imaginary consequences may or may not take place in actuality. And by coming from a place of fear, by choosing avoidance, by keeping myself “safe”, I indirectly choose to betray my own true self.
My true self loves writing, takes meditation seriously, and is passionate about self-growth. Sharing these with only a close-knit group of trusted individuals,
- keeps me in my comfort zone, and
- keeps my comfort zone small.
It’s time to expand. It’s time to take even more ownership. It’s time to more tightly embrace myself for who I am, and allow others the opportunity and pleasure to be a part of it.
For the coming weeks, I will be more aware of how I am integrating the above resolution in my life and actions. The changes this brings will be fascinating to experience and observe.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t be here without Vipassana.
One thought on “Truth over False Safety”
I resonate a lot with your post. I too feel like I hide my spiritual path from many people in my life. When a moment arises, such as someone might ask “so whats new with you” and I may have just been to a satsang sitting or perhaps just returned from a silent meditation retreat – I often pre-judge on whether this person will be receptive (and positive) about my sharing the experience with them. Its interesting that the ‘positive’ part is quite important to me. Now I can see this in two ways – There are moments when to do so is perhaps not a reaction to fear, but an intuitive knowing that the person is not in the right place in which to be open to such topics and I know its not something I feel drawn to debate about with someone coming from such an opposing view point. However, on the other hand, in some cases I simply do not want to be judged as being ‘weird’ or ‘too full on” and in particular judged on a subject that is in fact a very sacred part of my enquiry into life. My hesitation to be open runs most clearly into how I choose to use my Facebook page. There are so many articles and videos that I would naturally feel like posting on my page – but choose not to. Its interesting to recognise when I make this choose, I am not thinking about the many people who might appreciate such a post, but one or two individuals in particular who might be freaked and surprised to see me posting such topics.
I recently let something slip, quite unwittingly, at a friends party. The topic came up about terminally ill children. I said almost without thinking that I would like to work with people who are dying as death is an important part of ones life to consider while alive. One person found this a completely morbid and disturbing notion – and continued to press me in quite a firm way as to how contemplation of death could in any way benefit someones life. When I could not give him a good enough reason he concluded that I was just mad, and perhaps somewhat disturbed. It was not a pleasant encounter. But what disturbed me more was the fact that I myself was not able to give myself a clear answer – I was shaken by how fragile my enquiry was. With hindsight it gave me the opportunity to see where I needed to enquire further, but in that moment it pushed me to almost question whether I was in fact mad and morbid to be even considering such things.
Now a teacher once said that ones enquiry into the nature of your self and your evolving insights are like a newly growing bush. At the start, you have less clarity and truth in your awareness, the bush at this point is thin and sparse and can easily be nocked backed by people. However as you develop on your spiritual journey, this bush becomes thicker and stronger. This leaves me pondering that perhaps with time, as I develop awareness and understanding, I won’t feel so compromised when sharing this aspect of myself with people. Perhaps its a question of spiritual maturity that can only come when one is more strongly grounded in a deeper truth.
For now however, my enquiries and insights feel fragile, like saplings hidden amongst the shade of a woodland. The uncomfortable encounter about the question of death in ones life showed me that. And perhaps I am choosing to grow them under this shade, tending to them while not many can see, until a time when that sapling has grown much stronger roots in which to be able to stand tall in the face of any wind that may come its way.