We are who we think other people think we are. Maybe that's why we behave differently between different groups of friends and our families. We're constantly trying to conform to their perceptions of us, changing our speech, tone, and body language. I still struggle to expose my friendly, curious, silly side to my parents and other immediate family members. There's a lot of past baggage and blockages that I still have to look at and clear in relation to how I used to be in front of them. I was a very talkative and curious child, pestering my dad with questions until one day he told me to talk less. So I did. I withdrew, and it wasn't until I was 23 that I began realizing this.
How I act in front of my parents is a snapshot of how I used to be. I'm afraid to expose the new me because it conflicts with who I was, and this conflict might be a cause of discomfort for them, and especially for me. Perhaps its because the way I used to be, the apprehensive and shy me, still exists deep down within me. My inner child. My deepest and most vulnerable identity. My most imaginative and curious self. The deeper we explore this dark, fearful, and vulnerable state that lies buried within each of us, the easier it becomes to a more expressive and free version of yourself. Because the deepest, darkest parts contain the walls which are the barriers to our potential.
My longboarding accident, which I mentioned in the video, has led me to an amazing journey into my inner self. Wounds are wombs. The two weeks immediately following the accident, I could barely lift my head up while lying down on the ground due to the muscles I had torn in my abdomen. I couldn't do the things I normally did for those few weeks. No more sports, working out, or dancing. All I could do was meditate and practice qi gong. It gave me the opportunity to discover new areas of my mind and body. In the same way that an accident I had during my childhood did. I received major burns on my entire right quadriceps and bits of surrounding area when I pulled scalding water onto myself as a one year old. I've had painful muscle imbalances all throughout my life, and it forced me to discover my body. Self massage with the foam roller became my haven in my mid 20's. It was a conduit into my body and mind, and into the present moment, due to sheer necessity. I most likely wouldn't have ventured as deep if it had not been for those misfortunes. There are no limits to the depths we can reach. Each layer unlocks new possibilities.
In the province of the mind, there are no limits - John C. Lily
In my last post, I mentioned the book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, and how going into the body in order to let go of past experiences and baggage is so essential. Our minds try to move forwards, into new habits, but the body repeatedly pulls us back into the past. The book highlights the power that our brainstem has on our mood. From Wikipedia:
The central nucleus of the amygdala has direct correlations to the hypothalamus and brainstem – areas directly related to fear and anxiety. This connection is evident from studies of animals that have undergone amygdalae removal. Such studies suggest that animals lacking an amygdala have less fear expression and indulge in non-species-like behavior.
Within the brainstem, the amygdala is the fear center that keeps feeding us negativity, and we have to breathe and relax, investigate it. I've struggled to change my unproductive habits for so long. The desire for that change was coming from insecurities, and changing the reason for my pursuit was a total game changer. I was trying to deny a part of myself that I found deficient, my poor memory, my stiff muscles, my limitations. These were all ME. I had to go into the insecurities, and learn to accept the limitations, and appreciate the fact that my limitations also limit my attachments. My limitations allow me to be more present. It's that holistic realization that a price is attached to everything that ultimately allows us to let go of our negative self judgements. To explore the body and breath, in order to gently allow a part of ourselves to dissolve so that a new butterfly may metamorphize.
The cycle of death and rebirth is constantly ongoing. From the micro level of our cells, to our entire bodies, and then the macro level of stars, and galaxies. It's a constant state of flux. The same is true of our ideas and perceptions. The most meaningful conversations are the ones that involve the reexamination of ideas. It's a harmonic dance of letting go of what we believed in, in order to gain new insights. Breaking down and building up. Catabolic and anabolic. That's why the examination of our ideas, our self, our true identity is so essential. It involves the process of breaking down and rebuilding.
Everything ultimately decays into nothingness. The void is so vast that its utterly terrifying to our human minds. Yet the more familiar we become with the sheer magnitude of the unknown, the more we let go, and then eventually there comes a time when there is nothing left to fear. We allow ourself to dissolve into the ether. In this very moment, lies the singularity of our minds. The point at which possibilities come out of the darkness, and we ascend at an unlimited rate. Transcendence.