Lesson 3: Restlessness & My Runaway Mind
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain”
Life in the forest is slow, steady and calm. Physically, I found myself becoming more deliberate. I cooked slowly and deliberately, made the fire carefully, and began to attune to the pace of the forest. But my mind was out of control!!! I had never noticed how fast it revved, going from one thought to another in seconds. Having conversations and making plans, worrying about things, having fantasies – on and on. My mind was a runaway train.
My journal entry from Day 3:
Long night last night! Felt I was awake for most of the night. Couldn’t stop thinking.
I notice I’m very restless. Constantly up and down. I started the genny (generator), charged the torches and made a fire. I’m not calm inside.
I really hope and pray that I can drop lower! Get below this business and restlessness. I pray I can get to presence – to be aware.
Later, I wrote:
I’m going up the hill to find God 🙂
By now I was becoming desperate with my thought patterns.
By Day 4, I was spiraling down:
I’m a bit low physically and mentally today. I feel alone and pretty down. Hunter has wanted to play but I just don’t have the energy for it. I am noticing more and more how my mind trips – it constantly goes on daydream type fantasies. I’m not present!!!
Carl Jung says there are 3 distinct processes involved in individualisation. These are simple:
- Courage to change
- Endurance (Consistently having courage and living differently)
By Day 4, my awareness was growing. I couldn’t observe myself. I caught myself continuously caught up in my though patterns. I couldn’t change it. The more I fought it, the worse it became.
As a counsellor, I know the theory “What you resist; persist”. I have taught mindfulness strategies like “watch the leaf float down the river and let it go”. I have meditated and prayed diligently for years, but the forest was teaching me something. The forest was showing me that in my aloneness, when I couldn’t be busy, my mind was in full control and hyperactive.
Ekhart-Tolle says “95% of our thoughts are repetitive and totally useless.” I think his estimate of 95% is being kind.
I write this little blog as an invitation to you. Very simply, to begin to observe your mind. What do you think about? How often are you full present to your environment, and the people you love around you?
Please don’t take this as a challenge – it’s just an invitation to you. An invitation to gently become more aware of what’s going on inside you.