I have no idea why it is we’re as hard on ourselves as we are. For some the level of excellence we demand is great. Such an approach to life is grueling. Such an approach is one I know all too well.
But along the way I came to discover that my ego, the mind that twirls with as much anxiety and fear as it does hope and excitement, responds best to a light touch. I am not my mind. I am the teacher, my mind the student. And it is through my loving guidance that my mind responds best. An iron fist rarely solves anything, both inwardly and outwardly.
When I’m buckling under the stress of life, demanding exceedingly more of my skill, intellect, time and energy, it is my inner being that calls my attention back to where it needs to be, and says: Go easy on yourself. The pressures owned by each of us are great. True, if all were to stand in a line and share stories, there would be those whose troubles are small. Just know each of us carries a burden or two regardless of size.
So when the world has clouded over, and the words needing to be said have escaped you; when you haven’t the answer for the problem requiring a solution; close your eyes. Breathe deep. And within your mind see your thoughts transformed into words. Then see those words as sentences traveling across the landscape of your mind like trains traversing along a single track – one after the other. Look closely. You will notice your thoughts are separated. There is a gap showing itself between the trains. This gap is the silent place of meditation that sits behind your thoughts. It’s always there. But you only see the trains as you move throughout your day. These trains fill your mind, blocking what rests beyond. They demand of you your attention as they chug and billow steam. But for a moment, focus on the gap between. Within the gap is silence. Within the silence is peace. Stay there not with forced focus, but with a soft gaze. The trains will pick up again. But now you know how to find the place of silence within yourself. Now you have proof that it was there all along.
Give yourself a moment sans thought; a reprieve from having to solve all the problems that face you. Keep catching a glimpse of the space that exists between the sentences that fill your mind. God can be found in those spaces; a quiet peacefulness. So whether you are ending your day or just starting anew, notice the trains that fill your mind. Catch a glimpse of the gap that rests between. Go into the gap, and if you can – stay there awhile. There will be plenty of time for the trains later. But for right now, focus on the gap.