Day 198 – Free

Free as we'll ever be.

Free as we'll ever be.

Zencast 198 – Happiness

I’m filled with a deep, centered inner peace at the moment. I don’t know where it came from or how long it’s been growing, but there’s been a definite shift. I’m sure it has something to do with the 12 days I have left here at work in Oman.

I had been filled with nerves and trepidation. I was getting stressed out and found myself pacing often, sighing as I stood in the middle of rooms wondering what to do with myself. Basically, I was thinking too much.

This week it’s as if my thinking brain has sunk down into my solar plexus and is happy to wallow there in an orange-pink glow of calm. I still sometimes catch myself getting a bit too self-assured about the things that I know, or times when I’m prone to be argumentative. However, when I’m mindful of what I’m doing I realize it doesn’t matter what I think. I won’t be here for much longer and it’s not for me to tell people what to do. People have to make their own mistakes, if they’re going to make them.

Yet, one thing has been getting me down a little. I’m finding that the people who are having a hard time with the prospect of me leaving want to drag me along to their place of suffering. To be honest, I can totally understand it. It’s difficult when people leave and you’re left behind wondering what it will be like without this person that you’ve had around for support. I would be anxious and desperate if the situation was reversed. This is the thought that helps me to find that soft spot within my heart that allows me to smile more sincerely when things get stressful, or to say a kind word when the mood is low. I can’t say I’m always successful, but I’m trying.

With this air of desperation hanging around me there are times when feel like I’m getting pulled down into realms of suffering that I am really not interested in dwelling in. Along with that has come a compulsion to spend, whether to be supportive of others, to keep people happy, or simply to spend quality time with the people I love. I’ve even started planning out some of the ways in which I can spend my money when I return to the States.

What I’ve noticed in this habit of future spending is that it’s a default conditioned reaction to times when I feel uncertain and want to be more in control. When I am anxious about the future and what it holds, planning out things such as the phone plan I will choose when I return Stateside, or whether or not I’ll get internet for my house, help me to feel more secure in my decisions. Or at least that’s what my thinking mind tries to tell me…

Yet, when I really look at the items I’m considering purchasing, many of them do not fit with my values and they do not serve to enhance my life. They simply serve to dwindle my bank account even though I’ll be unemployed when I return. Luckily my remote Sangha is never far away with tips on how to approach my life in a wiser way. People such as The Minimalists, Julien Smith, Ev Bogue and Gwen Bell all keep reminding me that it’s stuff that holds us back. Stuff keeps us rooted, fixed and limited in the life we are striving to liberate and I want to move away from all that. Why leave one place that is un-fulfilling only to repeat the same mistakes somewhere else?

This is where the deep calm undertones within me come into play. Even though I struggle to plan out every detail I can due to fear of what will happen in the future, I also know that I’m making exactly the right choice for this new period of my life to come. This was further confirmed today when I read this article on CNN.

Change is inevitable. That’s a fundamental truth. The question is – how are we going to change? What are we going to do to evolve from this period in history that is clearly failing in front of our eyes? It’s a scary thought not knowing what is to come, having lived for so long in a capitalist society, but it’s exciting and liberating at the same time. It feels as if the sky is the limit if we can simply remember that it’s stuff that’s keeping us tethered to the ground.

Just as Zac Brown Band sings in the video below, ‘No we don’t have a lot of money. All we need is love. We’re free as we’ll ever be.’

This is how I see the next step of my journey. It won’t be how I used to dream it would be: living the high life in Tinseltown, able to afford anything I wanted. Yet, I will be living the high life – the high life of doing what I want on my own conditions in my own Tinseltown of my own making, even if that means making my own clothes in order to make ends meet (eh!).

I believe we’re only limited to the future that has been told to us in the past if we choose to focus on our thinking rather than digging down deep into our own core truth. It’s not easy to do, but when we do it we’re will be one step closer to liberation.

May you take the small steps needed to discover your own core truth, even if it takes you years. And may you find the happiness you seek.



Here’s a great article on Tricycle about Gil’s Zen and Vipassana practices.


On a more somber note, I am choosing not to post tomorrow in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I will use it as a day for reflection and loving kindness meditation. May you spend tomorrow with the people you love and Never Forget.

2 Responses to “Day 198 – Free”
  1. suehealy says:

    Hi, I particularly like your comments on change. We spend a great deal of our lives looking for change, hoping it will come and then when it does we are often scared to make the leap and embrace it. It is by its nature unsettling. However, things change because that is the nature of,well, things,life etc.. evolution, revolution, devolution. Everything changes all the time and we have to learn to cope with it.

    Loving your blog.

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