Instructions for Living without ‘Me’ (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

I’m going into a 10 day silent meditation retreat tomorrow. As of 2 pm Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be somewhere in Massachusetts. I will surrender my phone, books, journal and writing equipment. For the first time IN MY LIFE, I will deprive myself the ability to write and record my thoughts. That alone is giving me anxiety. lol. I will cease making eye-contact and I will not talk to strangers. I will be spending time with my…self. For 10 days.

I’m kinda scared. I can’t lie.

From what I understand, I will meditate from 4am-9pm. I will eat my meals in silence. I will have only an hour to talk to a teacher about whatever comes up. I will hear lectures to which I will be unable to respond. My thoughts will be my companion, until I learn that I don’t need them.

I’m hoping to get instruction for living without…my self. My ego-self can sometimes be an uncomfortable companion.

You’d think, having a blog about men, myself and God and all that, I’d have spent lots of time blogging about this. I haven’t. I haven’t spent an extraordinary amount of time blogging about this because, well, I’m snot sure how I feel, but I know I have to do it. Preparing to do this has been a deeply personal experience, and – to blog about it – makes it a little less personal. To spend too much time talking about the upcoming experience felt like I was feeding into the drama and ego-nature of the thing. I have an unusual reverence for this ten day silent retreat. This is not a feat of strength or some spiritual masturbation. This is me taking time to commune with the center of myself. This is me, afraid but committed to communing with the deepest parts of myself. I want to stop being afraid of the places within my psyche that I don’t like to visit. I want to love and know myself unconditionally.

Though I’ll only be gone for 10 days, knowing that you are going to isolate yourself makes you relax into the imperfection of incessant connection. I am savoring my addictions: reality televisions, friendship, my iPhone, red meat. In the weeks leading up to this endeavor, I find myself laughing from the belly. I find myself enjoying comfortable silences I’ve experienced with people who know me well. I find myself breathing through uncomfortable experience, dancing around my apartment and smiling to myself as I reach for my crutches: a pencil, fried food, the remote control, Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve found myself happily and pleasantly attached.

I’m excited to come back more centered and present so I can deepen my experience of living. That’s what I hope to get out of this time, a deeper capacity to live from the center of my soul; A more balanced approach to coexisting with my ego.

So today, I’m scared of these next few days, but I’m learning the difference between absolute enjoyment and fear-based attachments. I don’t think there’s any harm in savoring the sweetness of life, as long as we know that all things, eventually perish. And, God willing, I will learn to savor isolation as well.

I will learn new ways of living with and relating to my….self.


What are you learning to savor?