If you have not read my previous post (yet) I would recommend doing that as this is a continuation of that thread.
One of the questions or recollections to ponder after doing the 8 Jhanas practice is, what insights arose? What were they?
I don’t think I had any profound insights (but the more you learn about wisdom is that it is usually the simple, organic truths that lead to happiness and peace of mind), but I did learn a little more about myself.
Over the past few years I have trained my mind to plough through obstacles, to push through exams and nursing school tests and classes. I have developed a powerful brain for learning and memorizing (which a good nurse requires). However, in the process of doing so, I have a really difficult time slowing down, shutting off, learning to relax and enjoy myself. Thinking about what I would find enjoyable right now – hiking – involves pushing along a trail. It all boils down to, left to my own devices, slowing down is quite difficult for me.
That is where the supportive, juicy, slow-paced, organic wisdom of the retreat comes in. Forcing myself to sit or nap for one or two hours at a time was difficult, but rewarding. Poetry arises only when the heart is at ease and open and spacious and relaxed. I have not created much poetry in the past couple years.
If I got any insights from practicing, it would have to be to spend time doing absolutely nothing. Just sit on the couch, look out the window, purposely go slow. Just breathe. And smile. Cultivating joy is so important – especially in a life stretched near the breaking point with work and school. Slow down and do something that brings my heart joy. I want to do more of this in the new year.
It won’t always be easy to attain this. In fact, most days I will have my schedule forced on my by work and nursing clinical days. But those moments in between are mine. I want to spend them relaxing and doing what brings me happiness. And I want to build in more good company. Sitting at home most of the time is less than ideal – sure some down time is necessary. Time with my dog is good. Time on my cushion is good. But I also want to go out and socialize with people who are supportive and on their own spiritual / healing / truth-seeking journeys.
I need to build in the efficiency without the harshness of mere-goal-oriented thinking. Yes getting a “C” or better in nursing school is vital. But I am okay with being close to the bare minimum. And I will need to keep reminding myself of this every day. I am smart so getting a “C” is actually unlikely, if I am disciplined. Yes the NCLEX nursing board exam is a massive undertaking, but I don’t need to fret about that right now. One right step at a time.
I feel like I am walking on the edge of a blade. Teeter too far toward old patterns, and I could descend yet again into a dissociative fog for a few months. Or I can continue to practice restraint, resisting old less-than-kind patterns (computer games, creating board games, etc) and when the time is right, do some virtuous activities. I am changing my skin. The serpent energy is becoming active (again). Which choice will I make at this fork in the road?
I choose to lean into my wisdom and experience, to lean into my ability to be a good teacher down the road. I have started co-teaching bodywork classes with Janet – she has urged me forward into this role and it is extremely positive for me. Now I just need to keep on my path most the time. It is those moments of down time in front of this computer where old weeds start to grow. I must choose not to water them. I intend for beauty and joy to flourish in the garden of my mind – might as well start planting those radiant trees now huh?
I might have to back off the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology (Birth Process work) learning that I started this past summer. Nursing school is enough for now. I intend to go up to Canada again to participate in the 2-week intensive of this potent material (PPN with Myrna Martin). But January through May must be taken up with doing enough to pass nursing, working to support myself, and relaxing when I can.
During this semester I might be temporarily of less benefit to others, but that is okay. I need to find what is sustainable and stable for me first. This is my New Year’s resolution for 2017:
I am cultivating joy in my inner gardens as I embrace serpentine wisdom and shed old skins of ancestral patterns.
Thanks for reading!