Everyday default life grinds. Work, bills, renovations, keeping fit, shopping, volunteer work, blogging, housekeeping, studying, building a business plan, market research, raising a child, managing a relationship…
There seems to be hardly a moment for myself. I have a long backlog of TED Talks that I haven’t watched yet. I’m not keeping up with the few blogs that I follow. My studies are barely moving forward. I rarely go out to meet friends.
I’m slipping back in to a very isolated, stressful lifestyle where my priorities lie on doing things for others just to prevent larger negative consequences.
The remodeling of my lifestyle is going backwards again.
Sometimes, this needs to happen to lead one to better things, so I cannot classify what is happening as “bad.”
Without this impetus and realization of what is happening, I would probably never have considered taking a sabbatical. In this case, a sabbatical from the everyday rat race.
I’ve recently sent off an application to my local Buddhist center to become a monk for one year. I don’t know if they will accept me because I explicitly mentioned that I want none of the religious trappings. I want to focus on practicing meditation, happiness and unconditional love. I think I need time away from the pressures of everyday life to find that focus and really internalize it so that when I return I can move through the city again with peace and love flowing freely from me.
Now of course I realize that such a sabbatical will not be enough to relieve the stress accumulated over years, nor the stress that will continue to hit every day, but the goal is not to be as peaceful and loving as a monk who has been practicing all their life. It is to achieve an inner well-being that will be a good foundation to continue practicing for the rest of my life. At least to the extent that the everyday pressures of modern life will not drag me back again – in other words, to gain a positive momentum to peace and enlightenment.