Writing this on 3 hours sleep as I wait to board the plane. Feeling exhausted. Started meditating intensively as of 2 days ago and I think it saved my life, to say the least. Pushing myself to the limit at work everyday for the past 3 months has made me more impatient and short-tempered. Having to make the decision to tear myself away from work and devote time to friends / family just stressed me out even more. That made me even more short-tempered. I didn’t like the person I was becoming, at all.
So I closed my eyes and started to breathe, then begin to practice Vipassana. I do it every moment I can spare, when I wake, in the car, while I’m walking, just before I sleep. I dedicate between 15 minutes to an hour each session. Finally, my mind can rest.
It helps tremendously because mental exhaustion is the worst kind of burnout to have. The mind has no rest, it’s constantly agitated, jittery, replaying unpleasant scenarios over and over to the point we actually start to believe our own fears and give in to them. Result: internal inferno. I found myself snapping at people, when things don’t go my way or to get things done right.
It’s so easy to lose sight of God’s purpose when all you do is chase after money all day. Granted making money is very important but for me being grounded in compassion is how one practices selflessness. To divert from this moral compass will only result in misery.
When I tried meditating again after a few months of not doing a proper sitting, it was tough. It was hard trying to control my stress and doing a determined sitting meant a lot of pain. Noting along first few sweeps - I detected many blind spots. Also many gross sensations which manifested as aches, pains, especially through the neck area and chest. Where I used to be able to detect vibrations easily through my hands and feet, my mind has become dulled to that. The key is not to react to these unpleasant sensations when you are aware of them and just remain equanimous. It’s like endurance training for the mind. Vipassana practitioners know their greatest battle is not against the world but within their own minds. With that realization, they strengthen the mind to overcome all obstacles.
Some food for thought in this well written HuffPost article: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2855336/
I attempted to be social after a crazy hectic 3 months of work and travel. I had to drag myself out, spilling negative vibes all over because I was already tired from getting into Jakarta close to midnight. Worked till 2+AM, got up around 6AM, worked some more, attended a CARI event 3 hours later to witness the launch of the Asean LTB reports which I worked on in my previous role. I listened to the speeches whilst frantically working on my laptop.
Fast forward a few hours later, I was caught in major traffic on a Friday in the heart of the Jakarta CBD. There was no laptop. I couldn’t open 14MB files on my phone. I was getting angrier by the minute. I never felt so agitated. When I finally arrived at SCBD, I was angry, exhausted, frustrated, and a whole host of other negative things. So much for being social.
Friday night didn’t turn to be an utter disaster after all, but I accrued massive damage on my credit card by buying ridiculously expensive items at Lafayette. I felt I had to do it the moment I stepped out of the cab. Poor planning and a hectic work schedule contributed to this impulsive shopping behavior. After 2 years in Jakarta I ought to know that traffic would always be horrific on Friday evening. I think the long hours at work when I’d leave the office 10PM-12AM regularly, just dulled that fact because I didn’t need to think about anticipating traffic at that time.
Once I got into Potatohead I didn’t feel like leaving for the next 4 hours. Jakarta’s not the kind of city where you can drive around and barhop as you please. Traffic is such a major issue. Normally people would set 3 meetings at just one location and not budge, because traffic alone can take up half their day. I was at Plaza Indonesia and I regretted not staying there to meet people. Instead, I ended up shuttling back and forth from PI to SCBD and back, which is a very, very bad idea on a rainy Friday night. You need to have infinite patience, or drink heaps to get through the ordeal.
Thankfully the new female bartender at Pohe was amazing and she created awesome cocktails for me that wasn’t on the menu.
So I ended up getting some rest in the car on the way back, but drinking is a brief respite from stress and it reduces work productivity by 50%.
I should just do away with evening drinks from now on and just attend parties that start at 11PM.
Currently stuck in one of the worst traffic I’ve been in Jakarta on Sudirman FY2013, thanks to a rainy Friday night (a lethal combo that ensures standstill traffic for hours), and all I can say is:
I can literally feel my head exploding from the stress of just sitting through this nightmarish sea of cars all stuck together. Not. Moving. At all.
A million thoughts went through my head. What a waste of 4 hours of my life. I could be at my laptop doing work. I should have taken the damn bus. The busway is clear! But I didn’t bring slippers or an umbrella. Mental note to self: always bring slippers and an umbrella in Jakarta, rain or shine. Or I could have just walked barefoot. But I don’t really want to risk stepping on rusty sharp objects.
After an hour we have barely inched 5 meters.
I tried meditating, bringing awareness back to my mind but every microsecond I’m reacting over and over; the reactions are just way too strong. As a result, my mind gets overwhelmed and I sink down under, buried in a sea of seething, silent rage.
God have mercy on my soul.