I am married to an Englishman who loves football, or soccer as they call it in the US, so I have been watching many of the World Cup soccer games and really enjoying them. I am actually surprised at how much fun I’ve been having. There have been a lot of nail-biter finishes being decided by penalty shootouts. I’ve found myself not wanting to look and being compelled to look at the same time. The pressure has felt intense and enjoyable even if the team I was rooting for didn’t make it.
What I noticed is that when I experience internal pressure as part of a game it is really fun, but there are other times when I experience pressure, and it feels very unpleasant. The area I am experiencing this most right now is when my younger daughter drives. She has her learner’s permit, and she is getting her driving hours in. She is actually doing quite well, but my level of internal pressure when she is driving does not reflect this. It feels really unpleasant.
I had a thought when I was sitting in the back of the car recently. She was happily driving us down Topanga Canyon feeling more confident on the curves. Angus was in the front passenger seat taking the responsibility of being the driving instructor because I couldn’t handle it. I was in the back seat with one hand gripping the beige leather upholstery and the other tightly wrapped around the metal tube under the headrest. My chest was tight. I had jittery feelings in my stomach. My mouth was dry. I focused on a tuft of white husky dog fur stuck on the mat longing for the ride to be over. And then I realized — This is anxiety, and it is completely out of proportion to the situation at hand.
Before it just made sense to me that I would feel this way with a new driver. My emotional state looked like it was being determined by the situation, but on that ride, I saw it was all in my head. I also realized that many of the sensations I was finding unpleasant were similar to the feelings I felt during the penalty shootouts. One situation was fun and the other felt excruciating. I was struck by the arbitrariness of this and how much more fun my emotional experience is when it is part of a game and not feeling like life or death.
This helped me to see the bigger picture of playing the game of life. No matter what I think the stakes are, I am only ever playing the game of life. There is no winning the game by staying alive that is not an option. And me holding onto a headrest is not going to make the difference between whether or not I exit the game of my human experience. This helped me to see how many other times I take things too seriously. Times when I feel the stakes are high, but really, what is it I am most afraid of at those times? As Franklin D Roosevelt said in his first Inaugural Address, “Only thing we have to fear Is fear itself.”
Death is a certainty, and I will have to face it in whatever form it takes for me, long and drawn out or short and sweet. That is not my decision. Seeing that what ultimately makes me uncomfortable is only ever my own fear simplifies things and in that simplicity makes everything seem more manageable. Whether I’m driving with my teenager, presenting a workshop series, writing a book the stakes are all in my head. I am simply in the game of life and experiencing my internally generated emotional experience as I play.
I am struck by how precious all of it is. And I am so grateful for the teachings of Sydney Banks for showing me how to enjoy the vibrantly emotional nature of my human experience rather than spending my time longing for and seeking out the bliss of oneness. I have a feeling there will be an eternity to enjoy that, but this bittersweet crazy ride of human being human is over in a flash.
Are you enjoying your ride of human experience? If the stakes are feeling high in your life, here are some Sydney Banks’ resources to explore: The Enlightened Gardner, The Missing Link, and Second Chance. His teachings gave me a level of psychological freedom and comfort with my humanness I didn’t know was possible, and I am committed to helpings others see it is available for them too — that includes you!
Rohini Ross is excited to present The Soul-Centered Series in Santa Monica starting October 2018. She is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a transformative coach and trainer, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, rohiniross.com.