I’ve been sucked into the vortex of my partner’s job again. A torrent of negativity, frustration and stress. My critical mind, always lurking close to the surface, flies into action: so much to judge, so much to pick apart. How outrageously he’s been treated! I’ve had good training in being judgmental: my family and school conditioning were strong. These days I know it as the ego mind believing itself to be superior, creating separation, a divide between me and other. But of course this makes me feel miserable. It feels much nicer to be allies rather than enemies – with anyone or anything in our lives. But still my mind rails. It feels good to be righteous.
Or does it? I realise exhaustion is setting in; physical tension in my body. A feeling of restlessness, a dark cloud beginning to descend. It’s darkening other areas of my life too. I start to take it out on the cats. And then the self-criticism piles in! I know I’m doing it, but I don’t know how to stop. I’m trying to think my way out of it, but it’s not working; I’m getting more and more mired in negativity.
Finally I work myself to a point of such exhaustion that I can’t be bothered to wrestle with my thoughts any more. Sometimes I have to immerse myself in a meditation, book or film, to shift my mood. Or if I just get stuck into gardening, I realise after a while that I’ve freed myself from that nagging voice.
The rush of euphoria as I return to a state of grace. For that is what it feels like. When the ego defences have dropped away and my heart has softened again, and I can once again reach out to my loved ones with a smile or laugh off the frustrations, their’s or mine, and help them laugh them off too.
I love the gracefulness of deer. Sensitivity combined with agility and precision. The way they pick their way through grass or the understorey in a woodland. Grace, to me, is quiet acceptance of what is. It’s dignity and forbearance. It’s not fighting or judging but being fully present, on the most subtle level.
I can’t force it. It only ever arises out of beingness. Ah, grace is pure presence.