Lessons in the Lows

I am known by most to be a fairly disciplined person. More often than not I eat healthy and workout regularly. I create space in my day for silence, prayer, and meditation. I get to bed at a decent hour and wake up early. I clean my dishes after I use them, etc… You get the point. 

Why do I do this? I think some people see it as rigid, strict, or stern. It doesn’t make sense to them. But the way that my system works almost forces me to be this way. Because when I am not disciplined and I choose to say ‘f*ck it.’ I reap consequences that are not a fun time. 

I’d imagine all of us reap these consequences but many of us become numb to them to the point where they don’t seem to bother us anymore. The fast food and the late night pints of ice cream have become the norm. Watching hours of television and stacking dishes in the sink is the routine. There is nothing wrong with that. 

But once we have a taste of a better way, it makes it extremely challenging to go back to that old way. There is a quote by Oliver Wendell Homes that describes this: “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” That is true in my experience. 

Yet the truth of my experience is that I still fall off often and it’s really interesting to me. I know that having certain disciplines and practices supports me in maintaining a certain level of happiness and overall wellness. However, there are often periods where I still say ‘f*ck it’ and I reap the consequences. I am just coming out of the other side of one of those ‘f*ck it’ periods at this moment. 

Why do I do that? Why do we do that? If we know certain practices or ways of life are better for us then why do we choose the lesser option? Obviously it can be hard to form new habits and make a start so I understand that component. But even still, once we make the start and form the momentum it is far too common to slip back. The drug addict knows the consequences of one bag yet he/she does it again and again. The binge eater knows what one pint of Ben and Jerry’s will do yet he/she does it anyway. The bipolar boy knows what not taking his medicine will do yet he decides not to take it again and again. I know that healthy eating and meditation are vital to my wellness yet I choose to push them to the side again and again. Why is this? Why do we do it?

It’s almost as if we have this innate part of us that is wired for chaos and hardship. It’s the Original Sin, the Maya, the Veil of Illusion, the Demonic Ego that we all have inside of us that can’t imagine a world full of peace and bliss. Because we say we want peace but so often we don’t choose the action that brings peace. We say we want love and happiness but our actions certainly don’t align with our wants all of the time. 

What is the solution? What can we do? That is the question I am pondering as I sit here after another meditation-less, binge eating filled weekend. I am grateful for my awareness. I am grateful for the knowing that I will shift this week. I am grateful for the green juice and the nature filled meditation that I had this morning. But I am still left wondering, why do I do it to myself? 

The answer that arises for me is that this life is filled with ups and downs. We are in a world of opposites or duality and that is how things work here. We have good times and bad, highs and lows, happies and sads. A part of mastering life in this plane is mastering the downs that come with it. Because it’s generally easy to feel well when I am on top of my game. But it’s challenging to cope when I chose to fall once again. I believe the ticket is learning from the downs. It’s being aware of the lessons that are there hiding in the lows. And it’s integrating them and shifting in order to become an even better version of myself. 

So while I have some residual guilt and unpleasant feelings left from the weekend, I do know that it’s all perfect. I know that I am not the only one who experiences this. I know that writing this now allows it to flow through me. I know that letting others in allows Light to shine in on it. I know that I get to choose how to see it. And that brings me comfort.

To anyone who took the time to read this, know that you are not alone. 

Until next time…

Joe Beck