Last weekend I had the house to myself with one goal: to relax. I rarely get time on my own so when I do, I build it up in my mind to be AMAZING. What I realised about an hour into this glorious weekend is that I am incapable of relaxing. Even when I try to switch off, my brain is like a bullet train trying to collect as much information as possible.
The problem as I discovered is that when my mind isn’t being stimulated or receiving fresh information, I freak out. Which naturally got me thinking, how much of our lives do we spend distracting ourselves so that we never actually have to be alone with our own thoughts?
It’s not like I’ve got anything to complain about. I lead a happy life, I’ve had a good career, I’ve got an amazing partner and family, I’ve written a book recently and I've got great friends. Life is pretty good, but I’ve definitely got some fears and unanswered questions I choose to ignore because Netflix is easier.
My subconscious on my relaxation weekend:
Me responding to my subconscious on my relaxation weekend:
The great and scary thing about the world we live in is we could spend our entire lives ignoring our deeper, darker, more uncomfortable thoughts in favour of an outer world that is simply more entertaining and relaxing. Leaving our purpose and potential happiness untapped as we tend to easier, shinier things.
However, by ignoring what we know is there we do ourselves a disservice because our feelings/longings are trying to tell us something. Whether it be our purpose, that we’re in the wrong relationship or that we should be traveling instead of being chained to a desk. All the answers we need are inside, we just need to be brave enough to face them.
Back in early 2016 when I felt like something was missing I started meditating. Turns out it was my purpose I was choosing to ignore. My meditation practice only began as 5 minutes a day, but what it gave me was a way to observe my thoughts. All of them. I wasn’t necessarily ready to acknowledge that my career wasn’t right for me anymore, but I was happy to watch these thoughts float by so I could at least take a look at them from a safe distance.
What meditation proceeded to bring me on a random weekday was the spiritual awakening that led to my first book, Conversations with Krishna.
My meditation practice now sits at around 20 minutes a day and it's my way of wiping my mental slate clean before I start the day. What comes up in meditation can then be mind mapped if I feel the need to work it through further.
The feelings we have about the lives, careers, and relationships we’re in shouldn’t be ignored. If they’re coming up for you, they’re coming up for a reason, so don’t ignore them. Take them as an opportunity to create change and boost your happiness. It might be uncomfortable initially, but I promise you it’ll be worth it in the end.
If you’re open to trying meditation as a way to begin observing your thoughts, here’s a few links to help you start:
Calm has guided and unguided meditations that range anywhere from 2 minutes to 8 hours. Start with what you can manage (even 2 mins), what’s definitely do-able and go from there.
If you’re open to doing something for a bit longer and you like the idea of ‘Om-ing’, the ‘Journey Within’ meditation by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is my current favourite and goes for 20 minutes.
The trick with meditation is to find a format you enjoy and someone you enjoy listening to. If the person’s voice drives you crazy, find someone else. If you prefer the sound of a bubbling brook over the sound of a crackling fire, find that.
Alternatively, if meditation isn’t for you and you’re looking for a shortcut to get the answers you’re looking for, we can always ask some questions to the powers that be and see what they have to say. You can seek that guidance here.