Here I Am

Just a few minutes. To live. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. But right now.

Just a few minutes. To live. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. But right now.

We never turn it off.

Ever.

Our minds, like a humming hard drive, always buzz, buzz, buzzing, jumping from one thought to the next. From a distant memory, to a worry about something that hasn’t happened yet, and might not.

It is our most-important physical asset. Nothing functions without our minds. We are not even ourselves without them.

Our minds are the things we use to experience the world. Writer and speaker Andy Puddicombe said it best during his 2012 TED Talk in London: Our minds are what we need for happiness, contentment, emotional stability. They are what we use to exhibit kindness. We require them for focus, creativity and productivity. And yet, we don’t take any time to take care of them.

We change the oil in our cars. We wash our hair. Brush our teeth. Vacuum the carpet. Mow the lawn.

We spend so much time maintaining things in our lives.

But rarely our most-important asset. We don’t take time for it. And then we get jacked up when shit goes wrong. We experience it as stress, anxiety, fear. We experience it as sadness, anger, depression.

We spend an estimated 47 percent of our waking lives reflecting on the past or thinking about the future. Nearly HALF our short lives, given to times that don’t really exist.

I want to learn how to be present.

I want to learn how to be mindful.

I want to learn how to live in the now.

At work, I sometimes get lazy and don’t shut off my computer each night before I leave. Regularly restarting my computer allows all the necessary security and network updates to load. It allows the machine to take a break and reset so that it’s performing optimally when I need it.

When I fail to restart it, the computer will often bog down. It will have trouble performing too many tasks at once, and I often am forced to restart it just so it will work properly.

Our brains function much like computers. More powerful than any man-made computer. So much to do. So much to control.

Yet, we don’t perform routine maintenance. We don’t let it rest.

Reset Your Mind

Meditation never made sense to me.

You mean, you just… sit there? Doing… nothing?

Precisely.

What a waste of time!

I used to think that very thing. Who has time to do… nothing?

Never mind that I’ve wasted approximately 600 billion hours high, drunk, playing video games, watching movies or television, or doing something else equally unproductive.

Over and over again as I’ve navigated this new life of mine, I’ve read books or blog posts, or listened to podcasts from people I really admire. People who are living life like how I want to be living. And over and over again, I noticed a common theme in so many of these people I respect and admire: They were meditating daily.

It was time for me to try.

Many of you may already know this, but I didn’t: Meditation IS NOT a bunch of Ghandi-looking monks sitting silently by gardens and waterfalls or in temples or little worship huts.

You CAN meditate that way. But that’s not what it is.

There are people in my life who are curious about meditation. Intrigued by the concept when they learned I was going to give it a shot. People not unlike me. People who have been through hard times and are trying to grow into the very best versions of themselves.

What do I tell them when they ask? What IS meditation?

I Found Me

In a quiet little church I’ve driven past hundreds of times on my work commute and never really noticed, I found myself tonight.

I, for the first time, subjected myself to a guided meditation I’d been curious about attending.

I was not struck by lightning. God did not audibly speak to me. And I’m no wiser about what my next major life move should be than before.

But in that quiet little church, I was ME.

No stress.

No worries.

No pressures.

No responsibilities.

No chores.

No phone.

No speaking.

No texting.

No typing.

No nothing.

I sat in a chair, and with the guidance of the woman leading the class, I was able to achieve a state of relaxation I didn’t know was possible.

I have a body. But I am not my body.

I have emotions. But I am not my emotions.

I have thoughts. But I am more than my thoughts.

And you let every ounce of bullshit in your entire life go.

And you just let yourself… be.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know that I want to try. And I’m sure the experience is different for everyone.

It was truly profound.

But not BIG and LOUD.

More like a whisper.

What is meditation?

Peace.

It’s peace. And I want more.

I used to toss and turn and fret about finances when I didn’t know where my next paycheck would come from after an unexpected layoff a few years ago.

I used to sleep in a guest room and feel sorry for myself every night while I tried in vain to save a failed marriage.

I used to shake and cry because everything about my life felt broken and wrong.

All I wanted—the ONLY THING I WANTED—in those moments was to just not feel shitty anymore.

I needed all the ugly to go away. I needed to feel peace. I needed to be me again.

My little personal-life comeback tour has caught fire.

I’m making healthier choices.

Walking a higher path.

And seeing the fruits of my self-improvement efforts paying off.

I am—dare I say it?—something very close to happy. In the deepest recesses of my soul. I am close.

In the evenings, when I do the right thing and shut down my computer, my machine performs like a champ.

In my life, when I do the right things, my body gets lighter and stronger, my mind gets sharper and confident, and my spirit feels peaceful and whole.

It wasn’t that long ago: not attractive enough, not smart enough, not rich enough, not strong enough, not tall enough, not good enough.

We cannot change the things that happen to us.

We can’t.

But we can change how we experience them.

Just breathe. In, then out.

I’m tall enough.

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34 thoughts on “Here I Am

  1. justagirley says:

    Tonight….this was needed.

    Like

  2. lyndzeerae27 says:

    This is a beautiful piece of writing and so much more. Thank you for sharing :)

    Like

  3. Ah, Matt. Meditation: you’re doing it right.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Hey. I forgot to respond to this. It made me smile and feel good. Thanks for getting and validating it.

      I can’t wait to go back. And in the meantime, it has me rethinking the way I handle things day-to-day.

      In a very good way, I think. :)

      Like

  4. Robin says:

    Wow, I can almost feel the peace you felt… Great writing. I want that. Not so much tall enough…but just ENOUGH, you know? Good for you :-)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      :)

      I am a little shorter than I prefer. But I promise it’s mostly just a metaphor.

      Thank you so much, Robin.

      Like

      • Robin says:

        :)

        I figured that was pretty much the case. We all strive to be “enough” of one thing or another, or multiple things. I figure I’d just like to strive to be “ENOUGH” all in itself.

        Like

  5. So many of our thoughts are repetitive, so when I meditate, lots of times I picture a big tree and I give my repetitive thoughts a leaf. And then give them permission to live their life cycle and bloom and die and float down and become compost. My thoughts have permission to move on and be useful elsewhere. :)

    Like

  6. mewhoami says:

    Great post! Life is all about change. We change our mindset, we change our world. I actually posted something much shorter, but similar to this today. Glad to hear these changes in your life.

    Like

  7. That made me feeling amazing! It’s been awhile since I meditated.. I think I will do that tonight.. God knows I need it! Good job Matt, glad to hear that life is getting better for you :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Jenny.

      I don’t think I have a better analogy than restarting your computer.

      It, just, helps, and keeps operating the way they were designed.

      Like

  8. […] This post was inspired by something written by the ever-wonderful Matt (MBTTTR) here on WP — here is the link in case any of y’all are curious… https://mustbethistalltoride.com/2014/10/01/here-i-am/ […]

    Like

  9. girlseule says:

    This is a really great post about something I need to start doing more of. Scary we spend half our lives living in the past or future and not NOW.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I could agree more. We don’t let ourselves exist in the present tense as much as we should.

      I hope I can make this a regular part of my life. Because I think it’s a path to balance.

      Like

  10. Samara says:

    Hi. :)
    There are so many forms of meditation. Scrubbing my kitchen floor is a type of meditation.

    I’m glad you’re happy. I wish you peace.
    xo

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Scrubbing your kitchen floor IS a type of meditation! Are we supposed to scrub our kitchen floors?

      Because I’m not afraid to tell you that I’ve, literally, never done that before.

      Gross?

      #wetswiffer

      Like

      • Samara says:

        Yes, I use the #wetswifter too. But every now and then, yep – I do it the old fashioned way. And it’s a true meditation.

        Same for the bathroom floors. Try it. You get mindfulness, upper body workout AND a clean floor. #multitasking

        Like

  11. Deepa says:

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to get back into meditation, or at least trying. Stilling the mind is way harder than I ever imagined. …but worth the pursuit I think.

    Like

  12. martha0stout says:

    Aye, taking the time to restart our ‘computers’ is what we need. Sometimes, it just takes a little longer than we initially thought it would and we need to have patience for it, because once it’s done, we’re ready for whatever comes next.

    Like

  13. Great to read that you have experienced such beauty, recently, Matt! To me it sounds like you are having one breakthrough after the other on the path to a new happiness… :D

    The experience you shared in this post is something I can relate to very much. I am not exactly going a path that goes conform with how I’ve learned the world “should” be. And there were more than just a few moments when I wondered if I might just go crazy. Had I not learned how to maintain a healthy mind, I maybe would have. ;) – And it is a constant “challenge” (in lack of a better word).

    Synchronicity:
    In the beginning of this week I wrote two blog posts (not published yet) which are talking about two issues that you have mentioned.

    “I was not struck by lightning.” – I nearly chose those same words when I described how some of the most profound experiences in my life actually came true.

    “And I’m no wiser about what my next major life move should be than before.” – Yep. I just wrote about not knowing and how that is okay for me.

    Sending much love to you! And a big smile from the heart.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you so much, Stefanie. Things have been going well. I feel exceptional.

      I used to think “feelings” were sort of bullshit. Like, if we just ran around doing what we “felt” like all the time, the world would be totally chaotic.

      But when everything’s… just… broken? Your world is chaotic.

      Chaos isn’t good.

      I don’t think feelings are bullshit anymore. We need balance.

      I need balance.

      And I’ve been working hard to achieve it. Getting closer. :)

      Like

      • Thank YOU Matt! – Exceptional… that’s just wonderful!

        We need balance – I totally agree with that. Also I am with you that feelings are not bullshit. (Actually, they have been the best inner guidance for me – feelings as “opposed” to emotions.) And yes, feeling broken and confused is totally not a place where you want to move and build your house in the long run. – Well, I don’t.

        I’m not so sure about the chaos, though.

        Maybe chaos often does not feel good to us because we learned that we need to be the ones in control? (And because we try to control everything we only experience chaos through crisis and catastrophies…) – But as you said so aptly in one of your previous posts: We cannot control the things that happen in our lives.

        Also, I begin to notice increasingly that chaos is the point of the most creativity. It gives us the chance to make new choices; to learn things we would not have experienced, otherwise. Like you did during the meditation, for example. :)

        And there we are at the point of balance, again. Maybe a bit of (creative) chaos is part of that…? Like, a dose which still allows us to feel good?
        Just wondering…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Dawn says:

    Bravo. Meditation is tough…shutting off your mind when it seems like the switch is broken.
    Peace…it’s the goal, right? Peace with ourselves, our situation…
    Thanks for posting. I’m currently getting myself back to a place of peace. Learning to shut the voices off, re-focusing on the things I can control.

    You remind me that it is the right path…

    Like

  15. RR says:

    Kudos. It takes balls to slow it down, rest, recharge. It takes balls because in those moments we can subject ourselves to more intense scrutiny. But from that much peace can be gained. Achieved. Held on to.

    My little guy often takes time to sit and rest his ‘brain computer’ – he once told us it is responsible for so much it is his job to give it a break. Wise words from a four year old. :)

    Like

  16. […] wrote an amazing piece on meditation on his blog Must Be This Tall To Ride. I loved his closing […]

    Like

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