Is There Such a Thing As TOO MUCH Self Contemplation?
There’s a saying in spiritual circles largely unknown to those younger than the boomer generation. I heard it when I moved to Asheville, NC where every spiritual gathering you can imagine was offered including every kind of yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, and circle under the sun and I enthusiastically tried each and every flavor. The term is navel-gazing, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately after my husband recommended I watch a really interesting conversation between Dr. K and Reckful. Reckful is a popular video game streamer who suffered greatly from depression. And what Dr. K was helping Reckless to realize was that the reason he was depressed was that he was bored with life. He illustrated how the times when Reckless took on a new interesting hobby that really challenged him, he was temporarily happy. What he was showing was that while he was immersed in these activities, he wasn’t immersed in his own life. That’s what psilocybin does, too, he said. It temporarily takes us out of our egos.
And that’s why I feel so good when I’m in nature. Given enough time, I melt away. I’m blended with my surroundings just as I imagine it must have been like at one point in time for humans. Nature doesn’t distinguish separateness from the world or all that is and itself. It’s only us humans that do that. And they call this false separation that we construct “ego.” So in many spiritual traditions the goal was usually to dissolve that ego so we could be whole again – back to spirit. I’m not sure that can ever happen for us, and I don’t even know if it’s a relevant goal. I think that feeling of separation must be what we signed up for. I imagine our infinite selves signing up much like we begin a video game. Ooh, it will be so fun to take on this character for a while! I imagine that must be pretty fun for something that’s infinite.
Anyway, what was I saying? Where I’m going is that we’re a self obsessed society, aren’t we? My client is from Venezuela, and I’m fascinated in the paradigm she comes from because in that culture family is EVERYTHING. In many Latin countries and many more I think – the lines between you and me are pretty blurred. This notion of hard and fast BOUNDARIES that we Americans worship doesn’t seem to really be a notion from my limited observation.
Navel gazing refers to literally meditating on the navel. But it’s used as a euphamism for the self obsession that comes from too much self help and obsession with fixing ourselves.
My bible is The Twelve Stages of Healing. It’s essentially a map of consciousness and spiritual awakening. At the beginning is suffering. Then there’s merging with your suffering and then transformation. At the end of the cycle is community and serving others. And that’s because we can’t sit around observing ourselves all day and night obsessed with fixing our own thoughts, analyzing every thought, healing every damn thing. We’ll go crazy!
This, I think, may be happening to a lot of people currently because of current world circumstances. We’re currently mostly at home because of Covid in the US.
Humans need something to focus on. We need to turn our suffering into something. That’s the process of transformation. So while you may not be able to go to bars or hang out at your favorite coffee shop all day, you probably need something to do. And that something that you need to do is your soul’s expression. What gives your life meaning? That can be anything from creating a lovely garden to raising money for a charity to organizing a protest or writing or creating an Instagram account about a topic you care about. I could go on and on and on. You’ll drive yourself absolutely mad up to a point if you stay in self analyzation mode. It has its place. For sure. But sister, you’re not on this planet to meditate four hours a day. You gotta create something with all that energy. Anything. Literally anything. Like everything, it’s balance. Sure, we need meditation. We need self-inquiry. We need awareness. Each of us. We also need sufficient action. Now, if you’ve been running around your whole life, where you need to be right now may be in bed and meditating and reading and doing that shadow work. And maybe you can’t do anything else right now. That’s totally ok. This is a stage. It’s bringing you back to balance. But you’re never gonna be perfect, Mister. Your vibration is never gonna be 100% perfect whatever that would even mean. You’re never gonna know every single shadow. You’re never gonna be in alignment 100% of the time. You might as well just accept that and try to have some damn fun. We all need to lose ourselves sometimes and get lost in something else.