My goal with this blog is to write a post each week, but since I’ve been busy with kid stuff (progress reports came out this week), volunteer activities at the church and new classes, I missed a week of writing.
In the past, I would allow myself to become so busy that eventually I would be lost in the momentum of all the doing. I wouldn’t eat well or sleep well and quality time with my family would suffer. But like a spinning top on an uneven surface, I would lose momentum, sputter, wobble and eventually fall over.
Subconsciously the only thing that would stop the mania was a bad cold or a flu. Consciously I knew, as many of us A-type personalities do, that I was feeling ill because I allowed myself to get run down. Eventually however, I became very aware of the feeling of relief that accompanied the cold or flu. I became aware that being sick was the only time that I allowed myself stop…I could just lie around in bed, sleep and recuperate. In other words the cold/flu cycle was part of a very predictable and larger unhealthy cycle and served a great purpose for me. Whether it’s a cold, a bad back or a migraine my intuition is that this cycle is the same for many, many people.
The other part of this cycle is how our sense of self is tied up in what we do, what we have and what group we belong to. Material gratification is transient or short lived. You get the house it’s beautiful, but eventually you have to fix this or that, or you need new furniture, or you need to knock down a wall and expand the kitchen. There is nothing wrong with having beautiful things; the problem is when the mind says, “Now I am happy,” or “Now I am somebody.”
The key phrase is “I am.” “I am” is a declaration of being. When we say “I am” in conjunction with something that we’ve earned or didn’t earn or something that we have or don’t have, we are setting ourselves up to continue this cycle of “doing” and then “burning and crashing.” I believe a Buddhist would call this the cycle of samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. But all spiritual seekers beware! As one of my favorite spiritual teachers points out even spiritual pursuits can become another form of ego, “I am a spiritual seeker.”
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, ‘I am.'” Nothing more needs to be said about who we all are, except “I am,” then everything else will be “added onto you.” That is all the material stuff, relationships, food, clothing, transportation, work, and creative outlets, all flow forth from the great “I am.” So over the course of the next week or more, let’s contemplate together “I do because I am,” and break the unhealthy cycle of “I am because I do.”
Photo Credit: Austin Schmid