Time out

Our need for silence

Our craving for a time out

To come back to ourselves

Last time I was in India, my friend said “you’re lucky to have so much time to be with yourself”

But we are always with ourselves.

So why doesn’t it feel like that?

How come, that when we are too caught up in the doings of life around us, we lose the connection to ourselves? That we don’t feel our spirit?

So that we even need to RETREAT from the world in order to connect again?

As I felt a strong urge for that this morning, while these words started to take form in my mind, the first reply was : because I have been made into this being who believes she needs to tie herself into a knot in order to correspond to other people’s needs.

And that is true. But it goes further than that.

I could go on here about how society has forced of us into roles and how each generation has left its mark on the person I am today. All the way into the autonomic system, the alerts signal to me when I feel fear coming from outside or inside of my skin. We want to belong. We want to be included. We want to be loved.

So that we can ensure our survival.

So we lose ourselves in the process, the boundaries and needs we have are ripped off as we adapt. This is all true and it explains why we need to take a time out to recess.

But was that the idea originally? I mean, is that the work we have on our spiritual journey? To remember the to retreat every now and again?

I believe not.

Like a Tetris game we go through life hitting corners and boarders, we bounce into something and then we head the other way. Unless we decide to live 100% on our own (and then we complain about loneliness and the wish to share this experience we call life with others) or that we find the ones who are absolutely the same as us, we are bound to ping-pong our way down the ally of time.

Your work is not to go about business as usual and then go for a yoga retreat in some tropical paradise once a year because that is not what YOGA is.

Your work is to bring the retreat within so that you can always stay connected to it.

What do I mean by that?

Well, the conditioning that you do when you meditate or practice (yoga or other mind/body practices) is to be stored and take to the surface when necessary in the daily doings.

Like any other journey, you can only start the peace-road from where you are today. So start here.

It means, no more “When …” or “ If…” but only “ok, I guess this is what we are doing today”.

It means that sometimes your meditation feels completely useless, that the mind goes over all the issues you have instead, that the moment might even make you feel worse than before because all your problems come to the surface. It means that from time to time, your practice is just OFF. That you start and then you sit down and feel tired and bored. That you start and then the neighbour starts their Netflix marathon and all you do is trying to figure out which old episode of Friends they’re watching.

That sometimes you feel weak, inflexible, disconnected and the practice just is not what it should be.

But instead of telling yourself that maybe you need to go on a retreat to get out of this funk, tell yourself “ok so this is what we’re doing today?”. You start your journey here.

You see, the illusion that “over there” things are going to be good, will always exist. That means that “over there” will never be “here”. No matter where you actually find yourself. Because the state of “over there” is not a time line or a geographical location, it is a state of being.

It’s like the feeling of wanting for the vacation to come but because you only focus on the “over there” state, when you are actually on the vacation you can’t really appreciate it.

The only way you can really enjoy the vacation is by taking a lot of photos that you then look at later on and you try to relive the situation. But in the actual situation, you weren’t really enjoying it or you would not even have thought too much about taking pictures. Recognise that?

Because what we really yearn for is something we already have but need to activate. It’s like sitting in front of your laptop with 20 tabs open but not really reading any of them. Just having the IDEA of what they would inform you on. 

The state of “when” or “if” is really what is holding us back. It is the source of the disconnection we feel. The right now is always possible, even if it doesn’t present itself the way we imagine in our illusion. The key is to let the expectations go, the judgement go even.

Can I practice my soulful, my peace here in the business or anger that I’m in? Can I allow for radical awareness to be with me in this moment of being tired/hungry/missing… ?

That is what I need to practice to make it happen.

It’s the reason the monks would lay on nails or walk on coal (well not really the reason, but the goal is the same) : a way to practice in discomfort.

The root of this is:

How can I tune into the state that I want to stay in without letting the external conditions affect it?

For those not at all interested in the spirituality, the idea of meditating and finding peace seems to be “extra”, seems to be “lucky you who have time for yourself”. But what they haven’t been informed on (and many who ARE into spirituality only realises it after years of practice) is that the goal is not to have time for yourself, it’s to create a state strong enough to resist the external conditions. This means: the busy three times mom, the stressed out from work dad, the CEO, the sales consultant, the looking-for-a-lover frustrated person has the perfect obstacle since their external conditions seems out of their own power.

Instead of thinking “if only I could take a time out from this and fly to the tropics where I will just find myself again” (erhm, #EatPrayLoveRetreat) or daydreaming over social media influencers or self help gurus who seem to have gotten it all : how can you practice radical presence when the kids have the stomach flu or when the boss is breathing down your neck. How can I find peace in my life even if the external conditions aren’t all that favourable?

By erasing the “over there” and turn it into “here”.

By committing to yourself, your life … really by stopping the procrastinating (it’s easier to say that if only it was different I would feel different than actually take action).

It all can seem to big when you read “committing to yourself” but what it means is:

Every day, sit down for 20 minutes (even if this means you need to set the alarm for half an hour earlier) and practice presence. It doesn’t matter if your mind is all over the place or only horrible thoughts come to the surface. “So this is what we’re doing today?” That is where you start and the journey will take you back to peace.

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the mind/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞



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