There are always so many thoughts swirling around in my head… but lately they aren’t just trivial ones about planning my day and working my way through my to-do list. They’re bigger than that. They’re actually less like thoughts and more like feelings or deep yearnings. You know, the sort of questions your heart starts to ask whenever your mind and is quiet for long enough to hear the gentle whispers that come from within.
Since the start of this year, I’ve been meditating more than I ever have. I wanted to be more intentional about having a clear mind and clear goals for this year, and after practicing yoga for so many years and loving the way it continually helps me feel centered and balanced, I felt like I needed a new challenge. Something that would help me grow on a deeper spiritual level. I also started reading Joe Dispenza’s book, Becoming Supernatural, in which he explains in great detail the science behind meditation and how it actually changes people’s lives. I immediately felt inspired and compelled to deepen my own meditation practice. Which for me, just meant intentionally setting aside time every day to do it.
Meditating isn’t a new thing for me. And to be honest, I don’t really think there is much difference between prayer and meditation. Growing up in a Christian household, I started praying when I was a child, so the practice of communicating with the Divine isn’t a new concept, nor is the desire to connect to Spirit a new experience. I’ve always felt a strong spiritual connection to something greater than myself. Call it God, the Universe, Mother Earth, whatever you want. I’ve just always felt like there is more to this life, to this reality, than what we are able to grasp with our human minds and intellects. I’ve never been a super facts-based person, but I have definitely developed an appreciation for science and facts and understanding how things work over the years.
All that to say, despite how my various spiritual practices have evolved over the years, the thing that remains the same no matter whether I am praying in a church or meditating out in a forest is a deepening knowing that this flesh and blood, physical experience that we are all having on planet earth is just a shadow of the truth. There is something more than this reality. And I don’t know what exactly it looks like or what the point of this life really is. I just know that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is love.
I know that might sound cliche and over-simplistic. Yet it is the very thing I keep coming back to. I don’t know why some people in this life are born beggars and others never have to work a day in their life for what they have. I hate that so many people in the world are struggling to put food on the table, all the while I have more than I could ever need. The imbalances and injustices in our world seem cruel and intentional and I want to do more to bring balance. But love is the only force I know that has the power to do that, even if that seems like a somewhat vague and naive statement.
There are so many people and powers that are stronger than me. It is easy to become cynical and wonder what I could possibly do to bring any kind of greater change to the world. That’s why I was drawn to work in the film industry. I figured at least then I would have a platform to spread some kind of message that might influence people. But I’m just working in a restaurant now, so does that mean my job isn’t important? That I’ve missed the mark and all my gifts and talents are going to waste? And what about other people? And all the seemingly insignificant jobs they fill. The hotel housekeepers and public school janitors, the fast-food workers, and street sweepers. They may not have an audience or any area of influence, but does that make their lives insignificant? Who’s to say that cleaning up trash off the street has no meaning?
I hope this doesn’t sound ranty… I just think that we tend to overcomplicate things a lot. And that we like to have formulas for how to do everything instead of learning to be present and doing what feels right in the moment. I think we place certain lofty ideals on pedestals and strive to achieve things that in the end really don’t matter when we could find meaning in the simplest of things if only we took the time to appreciate what’s already in front of us.
I think there’s a whole lot wrong with the world, but I also think there’s a whole lot that is right. And I believe every person has value, no matter their position in life. I think if we really want to see positive lasting change, it starts on the individual level. And I think the best thing you can possibly do for your community, your country, and for the world is to become the best version of yourself. To actually do the hard work of healing yourself, examining your prejudices and biases (see my previous blog about self-awareness). Doing so is no small feat, and it’s super important work.
I was really inspired watching the presidential inauguration yesterday, listening to Biden’s speech and Amanda Gorman’s powerful poem. I love how words can empower us to dream and inspire us to take action, and I hope that theirs spoken yesterday really take root in our hearts. I agree that we must seek to understand one another, laying our arms down, embracing each other with arms open wide. But in order to do that, we first have to get close to people that aren’t like us, to brush shoulders with those that don’t think like us or talk like us. We have to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations and work to keep our hearts and our minds open and not closed off in defensive protection.
But how many of us have ears that are ready to listen and hearts that are ready and open to discovering the truth? It takes bravery and courage to examine the ideas and beliefs we’ve long held as true. Are we truly ready to build a bridge over the differences that have kept us divided? I don’t know, but I have hope that we are.
I know this post might seem kind of all over the place, but I hope I hope that it might encourage you to go deeper wherever you are on your journey in life. To consider that perhaps the person you are actually matters in the grand scheme of things and that even the ordinary mundane parts of life are a necessary part of your journey to becoming the best you you can possibly be. It matters that you are here. You’re not here to simply take up space. So figure out who you are and do it on purpose.