May 28, 2019

When something feels Forced, it Might be because it’s Not Ours.


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Uninspired—I feel deeply uninspired.

The sun is about to set behind the roof of my neighbor’s house. It shines just enough light to make it hard for me to see the words on my computer screen.

I don’t feel like drawing the blinds on this slightly cold, fragile spring evening. I desperately want to invite in the last bit of sunlight as creative energy into my mind.

The sun sets and I can see my screen just fine. A half an hour later, it shows a glowing page waiting to be filled, mocking me with its chalk-white color.

I have ambitions. And standards. I want to write, to be creative.

I’ve told my journal I’d try to produce more and consume less. So here I am, trying to come up with something valuable. Something that makes sense.

I wanted to convey yoga philosophy in a creative way. My mind had it all sorted out—what makes me look good as a writer, what people like to read, how I could sound intellectually appealing.

A copy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtras sits on my desk, waiting for me to extract the right information—to find a good angle and have a poignant opinion on Yoga philosophy, breath work, and calming the mind. You know, inspiring Yogi-stuff.

But everything I write feels forced. Every word is a journey around half the globe.

An hour has passed with just one sentence on my screen, and the doubt starts creeping its way into my impatient mind.

What are you writing for? For recognition? For likes? For the future, or for the now? Do you really think you are good enough? Who do you think you are, publishing articles on international websites? No one will read this. You know it!

I look at the page of the Yoga Sūtras I just opened:

Ignorance (not-knowing), identification with the ego, attachment to things we enjoy, aversion to things we dislike and adhering to anything (including life itself) are the reasons for suffering.~ Patanjali, Sūtra 2.3. 

My ego complains: What are you writing for if no one ever reads it?

I listen deeper into myself.

What am I writing for? Am I really not creative enough? Why does this process feel so forced?

Sometimes, I write for my ego—for likes and views, praise and admiration of my words.

I cling to my creative self—to finding the perfect words, and building something that can be admired from afar. All of this is essential to me, because I see it as part of who I am.

Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m writing about.

I thought I knew it all, when in fact, I knew close to nothing.

Sometimes, I write because I enjoy it.

I might be heavily attached to the state of flow, never wanting it to end, wishing my writing to be an endless stream of creativity and wisdom.

Sometimes, I try to write but feel disconnected from myself.

The creative pit, the bottomless hole of convoluted sentences, the meaningless titles, and a deep feeling of unworthiness is not part of how I want this evening to be. I’m sitting knee-deep in aversion to situations like these.

As I look out of my window at the light blue evening sky, I remember what to do if we feel like we’re not getting anywhere:

I surrender to the un-creativeness of this night. I type: Uninspired. I feel so uninspired.

I write, literally, about what is holding me back from unraveling the knots in my mind.

I turn the page.

According to Patanjali, discipline, self-study, and unshakable faith in the guidance of God are ways to ease the suffering we’ve created in attachment.

Discipline is to stay here, in the lack of flow, accepting the now as unpleasant, but neither unmanageable, nor everlasting. Discipline is to sit down and do the work—to try again and again.

If we’re able to detach from the outcome, trying and failing comes just as natural to us as trying and succeeding. It’s not about failure or success, but about doing it in the first place.

Self-study—reflection upon our own stop signs—enhances and hones our skills. We gain clarity when we seek the limiting beliefs holding us back, when we discover where our egos get in the way, and when we ask ourselves if our perfectionism is driving again.

But the unshakable faith—whether in God, the Universe, or ourselves—is the toughest part (although the others aren’t that easy either).

Unshakable faith says, whenever your door appears, it will open.

Whenever something feels forced, it might not be ours—whether our job, our partner, or our writing topic.

To invite flow, trust is a prerequisite. To invite authentic words onto the paper, openness for whatever will happen is a necessity.

When this article started, it was supposed to be informative, not vulnerable—filled with facts, not sentences that start with “I.” And that door is a wonderful door: informative articles and well-researched facts are important, but it isn’t my door. At least not right now.

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