When I did my first 10 days of silence and meditation last year, it was an experience that made me reassess who I was and want to be. When people asked what I gained from it, I wanna say “dude, like, EVERYTHING” but while it’s true, it’s a) not very useful, and b) I really need to stop talking like a stoned American teenager.
I’ve talked at length about how I’m better at distancing myself from my thoughts and emotions, and how my anxiety has almost disappeared. But there’s another important shift I want to share - what drives me.
See, when anxiety was your main driving force, and that goes away, what comes instead?
Once, a colleague told me he was hesitant about going to the gym because he was afraid he would feel so satisfied after, he would lose his edge, the thing that was driving him to create. I’ve heard others share how they don’t want to deal with their fear of being inadequate because that’s what’s pushing them to grow and develop.
This was on my mind both during and after Vipassana. When you accept everything as it is, what will drive you to accomplish things in life? Push through struggles and challenges? And not just give up, and spend your life smiling by the ocean?
I wouldn’t say I was worried about it, it was more about being curious. If I don’t have to be the person I so strongly identified with, who will I be instead? A happy vegetable with no aspirations?
Then I realized therein lies the answer - curiosity.
The world is fascinating. It’s easy to forget when you get caught up in routines and everyday life. Being human is random, and weird, and I want to experience as much of it as possible. I want to be challenged, I want to grow, I want to pursue every crazy idea I have.
Just to see what happens.
From an outward perspective, it might not look like much have changed. But my experience sure has. And let me tell you, being driven by curiosity is a hell of a lot more fun than being driven by fear.