July 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm #38521
I am wondering if anyone has any insight on how to tell you are really making progress in getting to know yourself and how you know if you are on the right track with everything in regards self discovery? Ive been on a little journey of self discovery as a lot of people on here are, and some days I feel like I am making progress and I really see things from a fresh perspective with a deep sense of understanding and then other days it seems like I know nothing and I feel lost again like all I have learnt has gone and I worry that I’m not doing enough and I am not digging in the right places & I may lose all I hav e learnt/discovered.. Its so confusing! I’m just wondering what to look out for to know that I really am making progress? Has anyone who has travelled a similar path experienced the same as this during their ‘quests’?
I have been coming out of a long period of bad anxiety and bad habits that have been ingrained for many years, so sometimes when I have some realizations some days I’m like yes now I get it I can move forward now with knowing this and I know what I need to change/stop/start doing then a few days later I will think to myself, oh maybe that was irrational & I tell myself I think too much and I’m being silly. Is that self doubt from all the years of not trusting myself?
I don’t know which side to believe.. its like a tug or war
Would love to hear what you think!
Kirsty xJuly 13, 2013 at 6:30 am #38526
I can only share what my experience has been with self discovery over my 58 years of living. I can definitely say that no amount of knowledge or desire to do better is wasted. It might be invisible at times, but never wasted. Yes, there are times that things seem to go along smoothly and I think, wow, I must have it now! Then life hits me in the face with some type of physical, emotional or relationship challenge. Then I begin to doubt myself because I am faced with something that is making me uncomfortable and I’m afraid.
All the work we do on ourselves doesn’t always come easy. It doesn’t always feel “right” at first because it’s not integrated fully into us. Initially, I find I react from a painful place in my heart. I want to make things right, get people to see my point of view, make people pay for hurting me, and on and on. But as I sit with that, and lately, this site has provided me an opportunity to be heard and receive non judgmental input. I can then try to put all the “emotional” and “ego head stuff” into a different perspective.
I used to think that the more I learned and practice – I would somehow get to this place of enlightenment. That my life challenges would be less difficult because I had somehow changed my karma.
But what I’m learning is that – I am human. As such, I have all the same challenges everyone else does. The names, faces, and situations are just different. Difficulty comes and often I say – did I not suffer enough in my life already – is there any “light at the end of the tunnel” for all the hard work? Tough questions but now I believe because we are human and because life is not perfect and because we live surrounded by challenging people and events – it is just an ongoing process of facing what is before us – the best we can. Sometimes I find I can revert to reacting like a hurt child – depending on the challenge. Obviously we all have our “hot button” issues. Recently I posted about my difficulties in my marriage of 38 years and after writing it – I was astonished at how far I didn’t come (at first). Now I’m learning to look at what about this situation can I change to empower myself in a healthy way. I seem to put much to much importance of what others think and feel, and how I can keep the peace. I’m learning that my life – is exactly that – my life. I can’t blame anyone else for anything. We allow outside forces to affect us.
None of this is easy – I hope something I said helped. This is not by any means any easy journey for anyone! We are very brave souls to want to walk through our lives with some awareness – not everyone chooses that path.
PatJuly 13, 2013 at 10:24 am #38539
I can understand and respect the confusion that arises when we go from feeling clear to feeling confused. This is pretty normal, and happens to almost all of us until we learn the lessons of the confusion. Said differently, the moments of clarity arise alongside the confusion during our development.
Sakyong Mipham, who is a Buddhist teacher and scholar said that many beginning students complain that development (in his context, meditative awareness) makes them even more crazy. Before meditation, they felt somewhat calm, but after they begin, their mind appears to become far more chaotic. He smiles and says that the mind is no different, we just become more aware of how untamed the mind was the whole time.
When we notice that we move from clarity to confusion, we are in a very special place. It is like the sun rising and falling, and the moon rising and falling. During clarity, things shine and sparkle. During the moon, shadows deepen and we are startled by the neurosis of our mind. This is normal. The moon phase deepens our awareness, filling our body with insight and awareness, which then knits together for the next sun phase.
Don’t fight it, the lesson isn’t how to stay in the sun all the time, but rather how to integrate both light and dark into the path of unity. Said differently, you are a being who both smiles and cries, and each is important to who you are.
To relax into this unity, consider cultivating humility. When in the sun, instead of “look at what I know and see” we can say “thank you for the sacred beauty, I will use what I see and know for the benefit of myself and others”. When in the moon, instead of “oh my, I am an utter fool” we can say “thank you for the awareness, I will use the shadows to better understand what needs cleaning and what needs nourishing”. In this way, we have the conditions to let go of the peaks and valleys and develop equanimity (inner stability).
Also consider, your peaks and valleys are actually an upward/inward spiral. With each cycle, we know ourselves better.
MattJuly 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm #38548
Thank you Matt and Patt, I understand both point of views (or facts more like it) and like you Patt I think I am aiming for the same thing, to attempt to have it figured out so I don’t have to suffer as much, and I can float more easily through life but I guess that’s kind of impossible and I understand that there is both good and bad, we will never be 100% constantly happy and enlightened; nit makes sense now why I get so disappointed with myself and what I have learnt (how slow I think im going) because I set such high standards for myself and expect the impossible, overnight! it’s an on-going thing? Maybe theres a lot to do with control aswell, trying to have a handle on everything to ensure a good outcome to avoid heartache always (like many others) but I guess that can be kinda crazy and irrational.
I can see from a more grounded perspective after reading both, thank you so much for the insight its very valuable to me and I love your description matt, I love analogies especially the ones you used above 🙂 gives me such a clear understanding
Kirsty xJuly 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm #38554
I’m glad the words helped! Connecting with a spiritual community is something the Buddha said was one of the pillars of cultivation. Something else came to heart as I read your response.
Consider that control is something that can quickly become rigid as we try to force ourselves to grow. Be patient! Growth takes time, unfolding like the petals of a lotus. 🙂 When we’re in pain, however, our bodies almost demand that we do something. But what?
What some of us find is that it is a good time to let go. Instead of trying to keep the emotion out like pushing closed our front door, we can open up the back door and let is pass through. We can use that urge to control to open up the space around the emotion by self-nurturing… such as meditation, quiet music, nature walks, joking with our friends, taking a bath and so forth. We don’t try to control energy of it, rather give it space to settle.
MattJuly 14, 2013 at 5:59 am #38566
Thank you so much 🙂 I understand 🙂 I am always making sure I don’t ‘feel’ certain things and that I CANT ‘think’ certain thoughts but I can see how that could quickly turn into tensions and obsessive control issues which is what I have been dealing with. Your so right, it’s like letting it come and letting things come and go without judgment or fear? I hear a lot of this stuff when I do guided meditations actually, guess it takes some time to really understand & ‘click’ !
Thank you again!July 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm #38603
Kirsty, one suggestion – watch the Naughty Not-ty words. You can do whatever but you can only do it one day at a time. You only control this minute (second) so learn from what you did but how do you want this minute to be.
I am still learning this and write blogs, books and other articles on this and one thing I know with so many of my clients is that living this minute is a great challenge. You are a PERFECT YOU. Keep loving yourself. Keep valuing your self. And know that if you keep on your journey of discovery, you will be open to AWESOME experiences.
Much love and good thoughts