Today, the darkness behind my eyes was too much. I struggled with my meditation. The darkness felt like a void. A dark cave I couldn’t escape.
I know there are some out there who want my posts to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. Or to be more profound. This isn’t going to be the blog post for you. Or it will at least require you to read to the end.
Today’s meditation was about wanting clarity on where I should go in life. You’ve heard me talk about this here quite a bit. I start down a path. Feel certain. Then I don’t.
The last few days there has been no path. I’m standing somewhere that looks like nowhere circling around looking for a trail, a street, a sidewalk, a road. Anything that resembles a direction I can follow. But nothing is there.
Today, there was only that black canvas draped around me. My closed eyes seeking for something I couldn’t find. Lost.
Now that I’m writing it, that I’ve stepped away from that moment, I see that I can take that black canvas and project whatever I want on it. Picture the world just as I want it. But during my meditation, it felt suffocating. Too dark to handle.
My eyes flitted back and forth behind my lids. I tried mantras. Focused on my breathing, but none of those little tricks worked today.
I played the same thoughts over in my head. Things that have been said. That I hold onto this feeling, this feeling of being lost and not knowing where to go because it makes me feel special.
But I don’t feel special. Not remotely. Today, especially in that dark cave behind my eyes, I felt pointless. The opposite of special. There was nowhere for me to go. Nothing to do. I had no purpose. No calling. No reason for existing.
Is that depression? Maybe. Dark night of the soul? I don’t know. Do those things exist? An existential crisis is the logical explanation. But special it is not.
It was overwhelming. My mind raced. My breathing shallow. All I could feel and see was the blackness. The emptiness. Spinning ’round, looking for a path that wasn’t there.
The strange thing is that I did a yoga practice this morning that I felt good about. It wasn’t challenging in the strength sense. The challenge was more about slowing down. The pace was even slower than a normal yoga routine. It really focused on the aspects of your life and practice that have become mechanical. Being aware of the mind-body-breath union.
I was in a good mindset going into my meditation. Then the darkness arrived. So, here is a little trick I have found. I’ve only done this a few times. Perhaps it works for me because I have the ability to stare out a window for hours and literally not have a thought in my head.
If your meditation becomes too much. Too dark. The thoughts gain momentum rather than becoming clouds that drift by. Open your eyes.
For me, this works. Become present. Continue the meditation, but open the eyes. Instead of focusing on a mantra or the breathing inside the dark room, focus on the world in front of you. I sit by windows or french doors to meditate. I like to feel the sunlight. Or at least sense it if I’m not sitting directly in front of it.
Sometimes I focus better in the light than in the dark. It’s a simple adjustment. Focus your eyes on something and be knowledgeable of it and your place in the world.
I wasn’t in a dark room of despair. I was in my living room seeing the magnolia tree in my front yard. The shades of dark green mixed with a few golden leaves that will fall soon. The wind gently swaying the limbs back and forth. Seeing how the sun reflects off the glossy side of the leaves.
That is where I am. That is where I’m supposed to be.
I think the yoga practice actually opened something up to me. That is why the darkness was simply too dark for me today. In slowing myself down. Living and experiencing the movements and the breath rather than just performing them, I realized that I rush myself. That I think I’m being present but I’m going through the motions.
The darkness behind my eyes was simply me trying to rush toward a future I don’t know. Instead of embracing the not knowing, it overwhelmed me. Opening my eyes allowed me to refocus on the now. Where I needed to be. To see that majestic magnolia tree in my front yard. To experience the world in front of me at this moment in time.
Answers will come when they are ready. Make a decision to open your eyes and live in the now. See what is in front of you. Feel what is present now. Act on what you know now. The future will change. You will change. That darkness will always be there and it will always overwhelm you if you don’t recognize the present.