Striving not to Strive

For those familiar to the world of meditation
You may have heard the concepts of non-judgement and non-striving
They are surprisingly simple to understand
Yet in practice, it doesn’t quite go as planned

Non-judgement is simply applying the principle
It is neither good nor bad
It simply is what it is
This is not unawareness, in fact it is quite the opposite

It is seeing something clearly
Without jumping to conclusions too quickly that can distort reality
It is recognizing times when events in our lives are more likely neutral
And jumping out of the spiral of rights and wrongs that can have such a pull

Non-striving is the intentional act of ceasing to goal set
You do what you do simply for the act of doing it
If you need to make a goal, let it be to just try
And then write on a piece of paper and let it fly

Perhaps you’ve recognized this is incredibly counter-cultural
To our faced-paced western society where goals and judgements
Seem to be taken as a matter of survival
Where doing has taken the place of being
Acceptance has been displaced by protection from perceived rivals

Perhaps that’s why in part it’s not quite as easy as I might have imagined
As I’ve written, these principles rarely go as planned

And that’s just the thing
You’re not supposed to even have a plan
And even using the word supposed to is a judgement
So perhaps you can start to see
Where this is really about unlearning something you’ve done
Perhaps since you were the rapidly absorbing age of one

See for me?
I’m great at striving
I’m a planner and goal-setter
Visionary and go-getter

Of course the idea not to strive
Does apply to all aspects of your life
Rather it is to learn how to simply be
Without going anywhere or doing anything
It’s not about doing it right or wrong
It’s just about being along for the journey

So is that for ten minute or thirty?
You learn too that’s not a question than needs answering
Practice is just practice
No more and no less

And in having these momentary times
Where I try to cease to strive
I realize how much I am doing it
In so many other parts of life

I grew up in a family
Where I was 4 and 6 years younger
I’ve realized now this influenced my pace
I didn’t just see my peers
I saw those who were in drastically different grades
When I was learning to write my own name
They could understand every joke on the latest sitcom
I just watched and laughed along

It was a blessing in disguise as hard as it was at times
I learned to chart my own way
In adult education, music and poetry
But still I never truly questioned this unrelenting goal seeking direction
In part because it was cause of much celebration

My partner often teases me that I really don’t need another degree
At least if I do we better make some room on the wall
For he believes what we do matters
No matter how big or how small

The trouble with setting so many goals
Is it becomes difficult to simply stop
Even for moments
Everything somehow needs a purpose

I saw my partner sitting on a couch
And asked what are you doing?
Sitting, he replied
Would you like to come sit down too?

Yes, I responded
More than you know
You see I’m trying not to strive
Yet, I think even in trying I’m not quite doing it right
And even in thinking I’m not doing it right
Well, that’s a judgement

See non-striving is not easy for me
I’ve always been one self-motivated cookie
This has it’s ups and downs
I will keep on this journey
Exploring the here and now
Where I’m learning to unlearn for awhile
To let the moment pass with recognition
Yet, without the need for directed action

I’m striving not to strive
In these days of our fast paced lives.


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