I was sitting at a red light today and was considering my Lenten intention to become more conscious of my impulses, those things in my life that feed my ego and keep me from Presence. In that moment I was struggling with an urge to check those texts that I knew had come since I left my destination ten minutes ago.
As I glared at that red light, hands gripping the wheel, waiting, resistance erupted in me: What is so wrong with checking one or two texts? Why do I struggle with such an "easy" temptation? What is wrong with me?
In another moment the light clicked to green and I was released from my anxiety as I drove off, but the swell of shame and disappointment stayed with me, marinating onto my soul and threatening to affect my day.
This is how negative thoughts can be intrusive and harm us. We are thinking and sensing beings, and often these thoughts go unnoticed and simmer underneath our consciousness like a toxic underground stream. These thoughts, we are taught by our Buddhist sages, are better known as clouds drifting by.
Sacred curiosity maintains that we notice, then, let go.
We are challenged daily to move towards or away from our holy center. We choose when to check those texts, keeping ourselves from noticing the vibrant coral sunset, or seeing the congregating birds lined up like little black beads on the telephone wire, or stealing a glance at the precious drowsy child in the backseat. I miss these tender moments of Spirit working when I am overbusy, overworking, overchecking. And I miss the next moment when I am critical of myself for being imperfect.
I'll never be perfect, and I'll forever struggle with moving consistently or easily towards my holy center, but I'm hoping that with practice those clouds will drift by more easily, and I can settle into the moment like a babe in a mother's arms.