Letting life live in and through me
I like to get up at 6 am. I did this morning but after making my coffee my body decided it wanted more sleep. I woke after 9 am and the coffee was still waiting for me.
It is a Bank Holiday here (the term Brits give to statutory holidays) so I knew I hadn't to be anywhere. Never happens on a weekday. I may allow myself to snooze between 6 and 6 30 am but never beyond that.
I have been practising allowing life to live in me without thoughts interfering beyond their remit. I drove to Birmingham on Saturday and returned yesterday. It is around 130 miles so it gave me the opportunity to turn the radio off and just let life live. Occasionally I turned the radio on which showed me that something within me wants to be occupied with more than life. It is true that a stretch of motorway can become mundane and the radio breaks the monotony however as I just drove there was what sounds like a ‘constant stream of consciousness’. Don’t ask me to remember the details of it because I don't. Perhaps that is the intention that I was just allowing life to live like a stream would flow.
Often at home, I seem to have entered into a challenge with myself about whether I can live without music on. This morning when I awoke my thoughts were a little troubled. I believe the conditioning of the mind knew it was a Bank holiday and for some reason, my thoughts can feel lonely (since when did thoughts feel?). I believe this goes back to my childhood when I would find at times Bank holidays boring almost preferring to be at school. TS is away so I am home alone. I love being alone but occasionally the conditioned mind doesn’t and I assume being alone early on a Bank Holiday Monday can generate not such great thoughts and feelings. There is that bored child in there who wonders what he is going to do with his day.
Yesterday when I stopped at a service station I played another game of trying to write the stream of thoughts. I did not censor. What was different was I wrote them down even the ones that I felt awkward about (ah I see words can generate uncomfortable feelings). But in writing them I was in a way detaching them from me, I am not the thoughts that flow in the stream.
It seems much of the flow is influenced by others, what people think of us whether good or not so good and what we also think. Yet in a sense, thoughts could be pollutants in the clear stream.
I also was watching a drama last night that in part seemed to touch on some of the feelings generated by thoughts from the earlier ‘Name’ game. I guess in our sleep our unconscious brain tries to make sense of all that we have absorbed in a day. Not a surprise then that we awake with leftover thoughts and feelings. Maybe the extra sleep was an indication that the unconscious had not finished processing yesterday.
When I awoke for a second time I was less troubled. I still felt the challenge of whether or not to put the radio on. Only because the radio can distract from our inner flow yet if we watch it as we would a stream there would be no need to be distracted. Of course, the radio like our thoughts has a place.
As I have been writing some of what was going through me on the way up to Birmingham has come to memory.
I have been conscious that we use different language to express ourselves. I am particularly thinking about language about what inspires us. I am specifically focussing on language about God. Within Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) there are different groups that in some way reflect different views. Some Quakers may inherently see Quakers as Christian yet other Quakers call themselves Universalists by which they mean that regardless of religion or spirituality it is all from the same spirit. There are also Non-Theist Quakers who may be described as humanists ie there is only the human spirit.
In allowing life to live in me I become aware that living is an experience and all expressions come from that whether writing, spoken word, music, art sports or whatever. The question for me is when someone is moved to speak at a Quaker meeting what is moving them? The Christian and the universalist are likely to say the divine whereas the Non- theist is likely to say their experience.
So in a sense, we are all moved by experience but give it different names. Indeed forgetting about Quakers we could extend it to us all that we live by our experience. The test may well be the quality of that living on ourselves, others and the planet.