Today it began to become clear to me what has been the reason for my more emotional swings while on this trip. As you know if you’ve been reading lately, there’s definitely been more variance in my moods than is usual for me. I think the common theme has to do with “disconnection.” As a general rule, I feel much more secure and at ease when I feel connected and much less so when I feel disconnected. I know that may seem obvious to you, but I don’t really understand it, where it comes from, why it arises, etc.
An obvious question immediately comes up: “connected or disconnected to what?” I remember when I was in Istanbul recently and I wrote a post entitled “Istanbul – Outside the Fishbowl.” At the time I was definitely struggling and I think the main thing that was happening there is that I was not at all feeling connected to the place or the people there – I was outside the fishbowl looking in. Many people were friendly but there were a lot of “let-me-be-your-best-friend-so-I-can-sell-you-an-overpriced-magic-carpet” people there as well. I felt somewhat similarly in Sri Lanka,where for much of the time I didn’t really feel very connected to the place. So the first issue around connection appears to have to do with place and whether or not I feel connected to wherever I am.
The next connection/disconnection factor, which is perhaps more powerful, has to do with whether or not there are people around that I am close to or in some way feel connected to. Through Istanbul and Sri Lanka I was largely isolated. My favorite moments in both places took place when I was having more meaningful contact with people – praying in the mosques, having tea with someone, having a more relaxed conversation with someone who wasn’t trying to sell me something. When I don’t have those kinds of interactions for a longer period of time I start to struggle.
Traveling seems to flare up both of the reasons listed above, as it can be easy to feel disconnected to the place where I am and also disconnected sometimes from people. Once I settle into a place, or if I go to a place which is familiar to me, or if I’m traveling with a friend/lover, these emotional swings seem to diminish.
Then there is relationship connection. As I look at this issue, I can’t help but notice how important it can be for me to feel connected to a woman. It doesn’t mean we have to be physically together, just a psychic connection seems to be sufficient. Even having an attraction for someone I may be interested in can, I think, satisfy that need for connection. If I’m actively in relationship and we are together, that feeling of disconnection is much less likely to arise.
There’s one last issue which is probably the most impacting – the extent of my connection and disconnection from myself. This may sound peculiar to some, as how can someone be disconnected from his/her own self? In my experience, the more we are living in our mind and identified with our thoughts, the less we are living life aware of our bodies or of our immediate experience. When I have a regular meditation practice, do yoga in the morning, dance, drive while cycling through my prayer beads, spend less time on the computer, exercise and get out walking in the world, I tend to feel much more connected to myself. The more connected to myself I feel, the more the other issues I’ve written about lose their power. The less I do these things, the less connected I feel to myself and the more vulnerable I can become to the other flavors of disconnection. It’s almost as if fostering a solid connection to oneself is like an inoculation against any number of externally generated ills. I imagine this is the main factor that can explain a Nelson Mandela spending 29 years in prison in South Africa and emerging as a beaming spirit – he must have been a strong connection to his own being during that time. I think I’ll have to learn more about him and what he’s learned.
As I’ve written this, it has become very clear that the key here has to do with staying connected to self and not letting my mind take me too far afield from living my life in this moment. The mind seems to love re-living the past or imagining or rehearsing the future. Can we catch our mind in the act of not being in this moment and simply bring it back. As Mooji says, it’s here right now. It’s not something that we have to wait lifetimes for. The trick is to keep remembering, keep coming back.
I’m so glad that I’ve come here to India. I just needed to rest a little in the arms of something more supportive of my inner life. Much of my time lately has been spent feeling unsettled in the external world, and it’s fostered this experience of disconnection.
One deeper connection certainly worth mentioning has to do with being connected to something even greater than ourselves. People use different terms, including a connection to God, Source, Presence, Jah, Truth, Being, Love, Buddha Nature, Krishna consciousness, The Absolute, The One, The Universe, The Infinite, etc. . There are many names to express this and there have been many many times when I have actually felt this connection to something greater, but most of the time I reside in my more logical mind which considers God (or those other names listed) a mental construct used to explain experiences of a more mystical nature. I’m not at all claiming to know one way or the other. In fact, I simply don’t know,. Perhaps it’s this obvious disconnection in my life which is at the root of all these other forms of disconnection.
Here in India I am feeling much more connected and thus at ease. I think that has mostly to do with my own meditation and yoga practices which have re-emerged here, feeling the reflection of Mooji’s presence, and also being settled in to a nice place with a beautiful view which helps provide a sense of home and thus connection.