30) Freedom From Overwhelm - Meditate Now
Video Version - Guided Meditation
Audio Version - Guided Meditation
Written Transcript of the Guided Meditation
Welcome to the show.
This is the Meditate Now podcast.
We're going to hang out for a little bit, be present, be still. See what it is that life might want to show us so that we can somehow, some way connect with more love, compassion, and freedom. Which, the more honest you get about your human experience is at the core of everything that we crave in some form or fashion.
The title today is Freedom From Overwhelm, and you know what I like about this time together with you is it's really an opportunity to check out from the seeking energy. At least that's the invitation from my experience.
Because you know how like you can get on YouTube or you can get on social media and you just kind of scrolling looking for information? I really hope that this time together isn't about information. I hope it's not about "tell me something that I can use to fix my future", or "tell me something that helps me get what I want tomorrow."
I hope that this is an opportunity to just stop.
Just stop for a moment and let's just be here together. In a way, it's like you show up in this space and we are going to hang out for half hour, or 45 minutes.
We're not going to try and collect information, we're just going to... be. In that being, we'll touch upon profound gratitude for just being, realizing that "hey, nothing's missing. Hey, I'm whole and complete right now. Oh my gosh, life is amazing!”
Then if you do want to play in the way of creating things or moving toward a playful vision, you can do so with gratitude rather than an anxiousness that is afraid you might not get it.
So welcome, nice to be here with you. I'm going to share some thoughts and reflections on the topic. Then after that, we will drop into a bit of a guided meditation which still seems to be me sharing reflections, maybe more in a meditative tone. But really the opportunity is just to drop in deeper and deeper and see that in some way all is well.
Freedom From Overwhelm
So the topic is "Freedom from Overwhelm." You know, and can I say something real quick about the nature of freedom? Because again I'm using words and going to say a lot of cute little spiritual phrases but so easily these things can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. I mean we're using words super clumsy.
So, I invite you to not really cling to anything that I'm saying. It's almost like listening to a song and allowing it to relax you.
The nature of freedom, I mean this title says "Freedom From Overwhelm," but I would suggest that real freedom, it's not so much about freedom from something, right? Like if I was really free then I'd never feel overwhelmed. Or if I was really free I'd never get scared. If I was really free I'd never be sad. So, we look for a type of freedom that tries to match our expectations of what we think freedom is.
Notice again that expectation is a future image, it's not here right now, it's "I got to get there." That's not really freedom. Real freedom is more like when I'm sad, I'm free enough to be sad. When I'm scared, I'm free enough to admit that I'm scared. When I'm overwhelmed, I'm free enough to admit that I'm overwhelmed. Rather than pretending like I'm something that I'm not because I want to match my idea of what I think is the spiritual prize.
So when I'm scared and I think spirituality means I shouldn't be scared, I'll pretend like I'm not scared because I want to be spiritual. Or when I'm sincerely sad, I'll tell myself that "that's not being spiritual, so don't be sad." This just misses the point.
Real spirituality, as far as I'm concerned, gives you back to you. It lets us know that, "oh, my goodness! You mean it's okay to just be human?" Yeah, that's the point. Truly be what you are. In that, we can empty out the resistance. We can empty out the judgment. We can empty out the fear about the fear along with the worry about the worry. We can just let these things come and let them go and let them teach us in the process.
We Get Overwhelmed When We Focus On The Future
As it relates to overwhelm and I get it, man. My goodness! Sometimes it seems like there are 10,000 things that have to be done. Sometimes it seems like there are too many people asking for your attention, or not enough people asking for your attention and that can be overwhelming. Both sides of the coin are there. Or, we can feel like there are challenges that seem insurmountable, mountains too big to climb, and I get that. Totally get that.
However, I never find any peace and wellness by beating myself up about it. Maybe that works for you. Does that work? Being overwhelmed and then the solution is being hard on yourself. The solution is mental commentary that says, "yeah, you see you're not enough. Yeah, you see something wrong with you. If only you were like this." That just adds to the overwhelm.
I think what happens, at least what I see in my experience, is I start misunderstanding my experience. I get confused. I start thinking that these thoughts about tomorrow, these plans, somehow hold my worth and value hostage.
In such a way that, "oh, my God, if this doesn't work out, it means I'm not lovable. Oh, my God, if I can't make this or that happen, it means I'm a failure. Oh, my God, if I can't reply to all these messages, then these people aren't going to like me."
So, I feel that this overwhelm is trying to get something from the future, trying to protect something in the future. And what it's trying to protect isn't so much a practical thing, a practical human thing. It's trying to protect our silly idea about ourselves. It protects our attempts to be approved of by the world.
You’re Okay, You’re Whole and Complete
Something that I absolutely love to do is look at my direct experience from the past in all the times I've felt overwhelmed.
I've shared this example quite a bit, but it's like the nature of worry. There's like this energy of worry, right? Yet, there are a thousand different stories you can tell about what that worry is about. But really, it's the same energy.
All the stories point to the same sensation. And when I get in touch with that sensation throughout my whole life, it essentially says, "I'm worried that I'm not going to make it." And what do I mean by “make” it? I'm worried that I'm not going to be whole and complete.
When I look at all the worry in my life and I check in with this moment right now, beyond all the stories, I see that what I am is whole and complete.
Throughout the whole journey, never did it go how I ultimately thought it was going to go. But here I am right now— whole and complete. I made it!
I was just afraid of the unknown. Constantly running into the reality that I didn't have the control that I wanted only to discover now I didn't need all that control. Only to discover in the most playful way, looking back, "oh, I could have relaxed."
I could relax even in those times of great overwhelm and again, not that I should have it, I could have, but I didn't because I got scared, and that's perfectly fine because again, at this moment, you're whole and complete.
Then tomorrow you'll get scared, and then you'll remember… you're okay.
It kind of reminds me of the playful nature of this being human, because, my goodness, we can take it so seriously and again, understandably. But we can take this moment together and release the overwhelm, release a thousand projects, release everything you think you have to do.
Again, we're just setting it down for right now, right? I'm not asking you to let it go for the rest of your life. I'm just talking about ‘right now.’
We're going to set it aside, and we're going to check in with the reality of what we are and the reality of what's actually happening and recognize that actually, even though we don't know about tomorrow at this moment, we're abundantly taken care of at this moment.
Do you want to drop into that space with me?
Start of Guided Meditation
Connect To The Present
Let's do that.
Okay, as always, whatever is most natural and comfortable for you. Eyes open, eyes closed, sitting, walking. Let's just acknowledge that here we are, right now.
Not the story about who we are and all of your thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow and who you think you are or who you think you're not.
But right now in life, there's a presence here beyond all the noise in the mind.
We're going to invite ourselves into this presence.
A great helper for this invitation is for us to take a few deep breaths.
We're going to breathe in presence, and we're going to exhale everything that is not here and now.
Let's do that.
Let's just take three big but natural deep breaths.
Reality vs. Imagination
As we draw near to what is real and true, it's amazing how all the quiet things become a little louder. For me, it's the distant sound of cars driving by. Maybe for you, you hear a bird song or maybe even just a gentle hum in the background.
As the mind quiets down, what is here and now becomes more alive.
Can we take a moment and just consciously discern the difference between reality and our imagination?
What I mean by this is it's so easy to be thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking that what you're thinking about is reality, but it's not here right now. It's not alive. It's not present. It's not real.
Reality is what's real. It's what's here now. It's not a thought. It's not an image. It's not a story. It's so incredibly present.
Just recognize that.
Recognize that there is life and then there is imagination. And in that imagination is the 10,000 things left undone. All the demands, all the expectations, the past, the future.
Let's connect with life.
Feel the breath moving through you.
Notice that it's the life that's breathing you right now. See very clearly that you're not doing it.
Beyond Everything, We Are Here
The same power that moves your breath in and out is the same power that moves the wind, rotates the planet around the sun, and allows for all the stars to shine.
And you know what? My goodness, as we become present, as we connect with life, I don't know about you, but for me, it's like, "whoa! To be alive is kind of amazing! It's kind of amazing!"
The only problem that I can find is a thought about what I think was yesterday or a thought about what I think will be tomorrow.
So let's just be here right now.
Connect with gratitude. Not a gratitude for this, that, or the other thing, but a gratitude for life itself. Something within just says, "thank you, thank you, thank you."
In this space, in this presence, maybe we can also recognize that what we are is whole and complete. We're not actually missing anything. Sure, maybe life isn't how you thought you wanted it to be.
Another thought, maybe things didn't go how you planned, welcome to life! But yet here we are. In the stillness of this moment, beyond all the noise, there is a truth that whispers… all is well.
Do you know what else I notice? In the sweetest way, here I am.
This is where I really am.
I thought I was in the future. I thought I was in the past. I thought I was in somebody else's mind. No, no, no. Here I am, gently held by all of life, and throughout this journey of being human, my goodness, sometimes I get so scared, I get lost, I get confused.
Then, I come home, and life helps me to see what's really happening. "Oh, I'm okay." I'm not really a prisoner to all these expectations. Everything that other people want me to do. I'm not even a prisoner to all the things the mind wants me to do. I'm extraordinarily free, but only right now.
You’re Here to Play
And, you know, as it relates to whatever projects you got going on, can I maybe just remind you for a moment? This is about play. Being human, it's not a serious thing. Sure, let the world take it seriously. But this is about play.
It's about you exploring your deepest sincerity— what interests you, what calls you, what inspires you. You're having a temporary human experience that's actually quite magical.
You're here to play.
So, maybe you won't get all of the things done, or maybe you will. But can we at least play and find out? Can we recognize that this life we engage in is not about a future prize?
It's not about getting something in what you imagined to be the future. It's about discovering something beautiful within what you are and then sharing that beauty with the world.
The prize is what you already are.
The prize is in being alive.
It is a galaxy of unspeakable beauty, discoveries, insights, and creativity. It's all love waiting to be shared, to be given away to the world. "Here you go. Here you go. Here you go."
What a disaster this life becomes when we think the prize is in the future because then we're so afraid of not getting it. Then you start thinking other people are in your way.
How glorious it is to see that you not only have the prize, but you are the prize. No one and nothing can take that from you. Maybe your whole life, you didn't even realize you had it. Tada! Welcome home.
Sure, sometimes we're going to struggle, but I invite you in the most playful and compassionate way.
How much of that struggle is a struggle because you think the prize is in the future?
How much of that struggle is a struggle because you think you might not be enough because you compare yourself to someone else? Because you question if it's okay to just be you?
Let it all go, at least for right now.
Make contact with what is real, and what is true, and invite yourself into a great landscape of play.
Thank you for spending this time with me today.