I watch you play In the shadows of my night When my body is weak From my heart’s fading beat You strengthen, and you fight With your desperate, angry claws Vying for attention To sate that hunger deep But I see right through your pain I see the child there Crying out for love Beneath the daggers and the blame For I am that child Yearning to be held And I take that child sweet In my open, loving arms I breathe deep and slow To invoke a wisdom beyond This mortal body, weak From my mind’s uncertain beat I remember that I am Connected to a light That with love we can outshine Even the darkest night * * *
I wake with a jolt, snapping out of a dream where I’m laying crippled in a hospital bed. In this reality, the heavens are splitting open with tropical rain, in the eerie shadow glow of that time before dawn: when the night is just starting to offer a clue that a new day is coming, but that prospect is still veiled in obscurity. In the Mayan language K’iche, this time is known as aq’ab’al.
My instinct tells me to leap out of bed and I race to grab my things off my desk: laptop, journals, and some scattered tarot cards belonging to my housemate. My room is completely open to the jungle outside, with no external walls or windows: despite the long eaves of the roof I can feel the wind stirring spray from the torrential downpour inside. I remember my guitar and grab her (fittingly, she’s named aq’ab’al), to place her in a corner that’s most protected from the weather.
I plunge back into bed but feel that I won’t sleep now. I’m swirling in a storm of my own thoughts and emotions, just as the storm whirls around me. My ego is haunting me: a bruised ego that has been craving external recognition and affection and bringing me down to dwell in a place of lack and need. Then I notice feelings of judgment inside me: judgment towards these aspects of myself that I don’t like so much, and the fact that I’ve descended into this egotistic place at all.
But judgment feeds the ego. It fuels the desire to prove ourselves to others, to convince others that we are right, and deep down to actually trick ourselves. It keeps us in repetitive cycles of blame, excuses, self-pity, fear and hurt, in a place where we abdicate responsibility for our own actions and reactions: either because we project our emotions onto someone else, or because we paralyse our growth from the negativity of our self-judgment.
The ego likes to create a storm to get attention, to make it seem strong and powerful, when deep down it is in fact small and fragile.
A meditation that I use in these moments to break the cycle, is to place one hand on the stomach and one hand on the heart, and imagine a channel of light between these points. The stomach is where we push down a lot of our negative feelings, where our shadows lurk, where we hold onto our pains and traumas. Imagine the light from the heart flooding down to greet and embrace that rising darkness: acknowledging those feelings and shadows, noticing them but without judgment. There is only love in the heart, and by breathing deep and focussing on that feeling of love, the storm of the ego recedes.
I come out of meditation to a ray of sunlight streaming down upon me. The rains have cleared, and the dawn has come.