Here at the Warm Milk Journal, we explore the many reasons or causes of mental stress and an anxious mind which then results in insomnia.
One big reason why many of us are not getting a good night sleep (and perhaps other areas of our lives are not working optimally either) is when our egos are getting in the way.
What do I mean by this? Often times when we are upset about something, it is because we had our expectations about a person, circumstance, or event. Then the person, circumstance, or event did not meet our expectations in some way.We are disappointed. We are upset. We are angry. We are sad. We are distressed. We are despairing. We are frustrated. We are fearful. This is all ego. Our egos have a way of playing tricks on our minds to cause a lot of turmoil and drama in our mental and emotional lives. This can cause many sleepless nights!
Something that has helped me tremendously in recent years to lick my anxiety and insomnia is to learn how to accept and let things go. If my ego gets stung, then I try to recognize it for what it is and just let it go. I can almost have a laugh about it: “Oh, you bad ego, you are up to your old tricks again!”.
Awareness and the recognition of our egos controlling things takes time. Once we do develop this ability, the peace of mind that comes with it is incredibly blissful.
I got an opportunity to practice this just this past week. I have been taking martial arts for a while now and I have been working on getting tested and moving up to the next belt level. Well, The past few weeks my attendance has not been that great. After a full day of teaching my second graders and driving my long commute home, I have been finding that turning around and going to my martial arts class all evening is not what I’ve been wanting to do. I am very excited about developing The Warm Milk Journal and what I really want to do is pour myself a glass of wine and write.
So, one of my Senseis (who also happens to be my boyfriend) announced to me that this coming Wednesday night that they (the dojo) are going to be testing and I will not be invited to be tested this time because of my attendance. Well! At first I was very distressed by this news. I felt I had a right to get tested and get that green belt along with my classmates. My ego was very hurt by their decision. I went to bed that night feeling a little upset.
Thursday morning I woke up still feeling upset. I spent the day angry. I talked to my boyfriend and a good friend about it. Sharing my feelings about the situation did help. But I was still not at peace with it.
Friday morning while drinking my coffee I picked up a book I have owned for many years, The Kabbalah The Heart of Jewish Mysticism by Daniel C. Matt. I just randomly opened to a chapter where he is talking about Ayin, the hebrew term for Nothingness and humility.
A passage on Page 71 really struck a chord with me: “Think of yourself as Ayin and forget yourself totally. Then you can transcend time, rising to the world of thought, where all is equal: life and death, ocean and dry land. Such is not the case if you are attached to the material nature of the world. If you think of yourself as something, then God cannot clothe himself in you, for God is infinite. No vessel can contain God, unless you think of yourself as Ayin.”
A tremendous amount of peace washed over me as this message sunk in. I drove to work that morning feeling at peace. I spent my day with wonderful energy to give to my students. I came home to my sensei- boyfriend with radiant love rather than anger, hurt, and disappointment over the green belt thing.
The truth is I haven’t earned the right to test for my green belt yet. I haven’t put in the time or effort. I have chosen to spend my time and energy on other things (such as my job and The Warm Milk Journal) which for me are more important to me at this point in time. The fact is, when I am ready to put forth the effort to achieve the next belt rank I will do so. There is no injustice here. I have not been made into some kind of victim. I can just tell my ego “sorry”, go away. I am happy and at peace. I can be happy for my two classmates this coming week when they get promoted before me, knowing my time will come when it is the right time for me.
Ways to think of ourselves as “Ayin” or practice humility:
Debra : )
Designed by Colleen M. Messer.