It’s always been a dream of mine to have a cabin in the woods. That space to disconnect from the outside world, to relax while I put things into perspective.
I know I’m not alone in this dream but one year into lockdown, I’m sure that, for most people, a cabin has lost its appeal. I suspect it’s because we’ve experienced our own cabins shrinking with each passing day, leaving us with an intense feeling of socially isolated confinement. It’s feeling hellish and out of control and we’re entertaining ideas of all the things we’re going to do come summer but the more we focus on the future the slower things move.
But what if it we’re looking in the wrong direction and this is really a gift in disguise. As you read this, what have you noticed over the last year? Who do you want to connect with more? Who’s really got your back? What has it taught you about who you really are? What have you learnt about how much stuff you have in your house? About how vulnerable you feel and what’s really important to you? How about how busy your mind really is? That constant chatter and push to live at the speed of thought only to be slowed to life speed and the frustration that tips you over the edge.
Humans are social animals and most of us are not accustomed to living like this but what if instead of moving away from that discomfort we moved towards it. What might we learn?
What if we could learn something fundamental about ourselves and our world that encourages us to grow emotionally and spiritually?
My assertion is that we might learn a great deal of the nature of the cabin – that the cabin ‘just is’ and it’s really the cabin of the mind that’s causing most of our suffering.
Here’s a little experiment I’d love you to try:
Find a quiet space or get sat down with your headphones and just sit with your thoughts. As you sit there you can notice the volume of thoughts that enter your awareness and as you notice that you can observe they’re not alone. These thoughts drag feelings with them. Some are easier to identify than others but they’re there. Just notice that it’s not so much the thought but the feelings that pull you from pillar to post, and the stronger the feelings, the more it hurts.
As you sit just watching, notice how you’re moved in time by your thoughts and feelings – things from the past…ideas about the future. Notice how many of these thoughts and feelings bring you to the present moment and when you’re in the present moment how much pull they don’t have on you. I’m going to guess that you’re realising that being in the ‘cabin of now’ doesn’t feel so bad.
When you can watch your thoughts with detachment, you’ll notice the feelings, when you notice and curiously examine these feelings, you’ll begin to see them for what they are. When you practice, you’ll probably forget to notice that they don’t come so often, and you’ll find yourself in a different cabin.