I am an intellectual person. I do not say this as a way to boast, but merely to put into words the way in which I encounter the world. Simply put, I live in my head. While at times the habit of allowing my mind to be the ruling center of my life has its benefits (i.e. school and other academic pursuits), residing in my head is rather exhausting. Often I feel as though I have trouble being present. Whenever I interact with others I am always overly conscious of my body language and the messages it is sending, whether or not I am talking too much or with the proper inflection for what I am trying to convey, or I allow my mind to wander. Rarely can I allow myself to simply be. There’s simply too much to consider, too many things to observe, for me to let go of my thoughts and enjoy a moment. I fear I am out of balance. I place too much emphasis on my mind and not enough on my body and spirit, and I’m feeling the consequences.
Lately I’ve been working on noticing where in my body I feel my emotions, especially stress, and I have been focusing a lot on my breath. The books on mindfulness and meditation are piling up next to my bed and on my to-read list. The issue is that it is all too simply for me to read about how to do these things, but applying what I intellectually learn into my life is just so difficult. I can understand the importance of letting go, but the act is so difficult. My disconnect from my body is not simply expressed throughout my emotions and breath; my relationship with my physical health is suffering. I had once lost a considerable amount of weight, was exercising regularly, and eating healthy. No longer is that the case. I’ve started to gain a bit of weight back, eat terribly, and avoid working out. The motivation to care for my body just isn’t there right now. On some level I want to, but again, I’m just not too eager to put my desires into practice.
Spirit is a bit more difficult for me to even define, but right now I’m thinking of it as religious spirituality. Again, a very difficult concept for me. I can read texts and understand concepts, but I struggle with prayer, I worry that about my micromovements during communion, I just don’t feel connected to God (which I’m still trying to understand intellectually anyways, regardless of experiential (dis)connection). I think about religion and spirituality all the time, but I only experience it through my mind, not on a spiritual level.
I’m seeking better balance, but it is difficult. How can I simply let go of my thoughts and just allow for experiences to come as they do? How can I be fully present in the present without worry of not being present? How can I be without analyzing how I am? These are the questions that plague me during long drives by myself.