April 9, 2019|From the Director Newsletter

The River’s Mouth – No Strings Attached


No strings attached

I’m no good at meditation.  Every time someone has ever told me to focus on my breathing, I feel like I’m about to suffocate.  But, I very much value stillness and corresponding silence.  Here’s why.

As I’ve experienced life so far, it would appear that most of what’s happened to me has been conditional.  If I do this, that happens, if I’m “good” this happens, if I’m “bad” this happens.  And therefore, I’m “valid” provided I do these things.  That I’m deemed a success by a social mirror.  However, what would happen if I lost everything? What would happen if I became homeless, went “mad”.  Am I as “valid”?  And this seems to be the conundrum – that my view and acceptance of myself is conditional on my external ‘success’ as the world would have it.  I think social media and perhaps the media in general has a role to play, to bolster this.  I walk on eggshells every day.

But really?

In an ideal world we would all feel equally “validated”.  And, in sitting still, in silence, perhaps attuned to nature, we might get a glimpse of this.  Scary at first, peaceful if attained.  And that peace is a feeling that comes from something unconditional. After all, you sit there, in the present, doing nothing – yet feeling “valid”, that is – unconditionally loved.  Waves don’t care whether you’ve been good or bad, cool or uncool.  They simple keep splashing.

I think that life being conditional, though practical at times I admit and accept, does put lots of pressure on many of us.  We walk around feeling stressed in groups without that drink, we feel stressed at work.  Why?  Because we know that we’re being judged.  And basically – we hold that fear of the consequence of “stuffing up”.  I must say, if we put less conditions on each other, if we were all just that little bit less judgemental in effect, I wonder if that would help decrease a collective anxiety and indeed, increase a collective sense of unconditional love.  Far fetched – perhaps.  Yet able to be practised in little ways – for sure.

Now I’ll throw a curve ball out here and say that there is a famous school of psychology – logotherapy, pioneered by Dr Viktor Frankl.  The basis of this theory is that we all feel a sense of anxiety and or depression if we fail to capture an individual “goal” to our life, and by corollary that our internal tension, if channelled to a worthy meaningful goal, ultimately leads to our happiness.  I think this does hold true for many people who find a cause to motivate them.  Yet still, if that all falls apart for some reason, and indeed if you never pursue something “grand” – that’s fine, if you ask me.  I believe that each one of us should be free to sense that peace and calmness which comes from sitting still in silence as we reconnect with the truth that we are in fact all valid and unconditionally loved for simply existing and being a part of life.

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