This morning, while on my pre-writing jogging routine, the feeling came back again. The feeling that has been quietly around for about eight years, but somehow just occasionally penetrates the awareness full throttle.
For the first time, as I can remember, I experienced it while in Morocco on an intense retreat, lead by a French ex-ballet dancer. We were staying in a traditional Tuareg tents among the dunes of northern Sahara, spending our days getting in touch with our bodies and movement, practising our presence, awareness, with nothing in our view but dunes, dunes, dunes… Although the retreat and the activities were utterly enjoyable, I felt something was starting to build up within me and finally came up one day, while we were doing some exercises on these sandy dunes. Suddenly I felt I just could not do it anymore. My whole body felt ultimately tired after being forced for decades, and my mind felt tired of forcing and bossing the body around. I just crashed down and remained lying flat on my back, staring at this Saharan sky, motionless, not wanting to move. I totally seriously felt I wanted to just rest there, completely unmoving, for at least a hundred years. Yes, no mistake, for at least a hundred years. I felt tired like the whole planet, though I was not tired of the activities we did during these days, but tired of all the forcing of my body I did throughout my life. It took the French guy and his assistant quite some time to persuade me to get back on my feet. Finally I did it out of empathy – I really did not want to drive him crazy like this.
Today this feeling came back. The feeling that I have been forcing myself my whole life, using my will in order to do, to change, to move, to go, to sit, to run, by the schedule, on time…
About twenty years back or so I was practising, for a couple of years, a type of yogic natural meditation in which you, for 90 minutes per day, basically just let go of the control over your body, mind and emotions and let them follow whatever natural impulses they may have; rather than trying to superimpose even more will on them, in order to concentrate, put the body in a specific position… So in general terms you aim to take the wilful control off and let your whole being get in back in touch with the natural impulses and then follow the natural course. Well, the result was that for the first half of the year I was sleeping throughout my meditations. Immediately after the beginning of each meditation, my body fell down and I slept flat through the hour-and-a-half meditation periods. Day after day. The next half a year I was just dozing through meditations, half awake, and only after a year or so my body and my mind would remain awake for the assigned period of time, doing something that somewhat resembled the concept of meditation…
Anyway, if I put my focus on my body and my state of beingness, one of the main feelings I can identify is feeling damn tired. As simple as that. And I just want to stretch out on the couch and not move for years. Stare at the clouds through the window, sleep, perhaps watch really dumb movies, so that no thinking effort would be required. But if I do this I know, out of experience, I will soon start feeling really bad in my body and also pretty depressed in my mind and feelings, so existence does not get any more enjoyable really. But getting up and going somewhere is an effort, jogging and swimming and bicycling and all of that, it is an effort and forcing my body into something. And I am fed up with efforts and forcing in my life.
So, I am really a bit confused. Since I don’t think I am alone in this overall tiredness, I am wondering whether we have, by becoming “civilized”, lost all the touch with the natural energy flow and are now trying to replicate it by physical exercises, rest and all of that, neatly scheduled and programmed? I wonder whether it is possible at all to exist and live life 24 hours per day in alignment with your energy, to enjoy resting and to enjoy moving and making effort. Perhaps this is what animals do. Or maybe they don’t, but they at least don’t make a big fuzz around it, like I do. At least when I look at our cat, she seems to be feeling tired most of the time, but that’s why she simply sleeps most of the time. Problem solved, case closed.
Or perhaps this is what Zen masters have been saying all along: “The true Zen is in eating when you are hungry, and sleeping when you are tired.” Yeah. I seem to be doing something dreadfully wrong here.
Or perhaps it is just the age. I am 43, after all. Maybe I just need to get used to a somewhat lower level of energy then I have had when twenty years old. Because after four decades, isn’t it that the tiredness somehow builds up and the energy level goes red? Perhaps human body is really not meant to live as long and should be switched off after 30 or so… Or is it something in the food? Perhaps global conspiracy of illuminatis? Or invasion of body snatchers? Or climate changes?
And here comes the last dilemma; do I really even want to become less tired (and then have more energy so as to work more, oh no no no no!), or do I really just want to rest more, not really minding being tired. You know, just happily resting my life away.
Right now the second option seems more appealing.