Meeting the Silent Witness at the Edge
For the entire drive from Los Angeles to Mammoth I had a feeling of dread. A little knot of fear in my stomach. "Are you excited?" my friend, my companion on this road trip, asked me as we made the almost-5-hour drive.
"No. I don't even want to snowboard. But I'm making myself do it."
"Then why are you going?" she asked.
"I just have to."
I explained to her how afraid I was. But that I felt the need to do it anyway. I was afraid of hurting myself. Wasting time and money. Not having a good time. Annoying other people and getting in the way of more experienced snowboarders with my lack of skill. My mind was full of chatter and fear. More reasons to not strap in to a snowboard and instead sit by the fire and enjoy the view.
When I met up with my instructor, Sarah, I explained to her that I had several seasons under my belt. I was still a beginner but had the basic skills down.
"Sounds like a confidence issue. Let's work on confidence."
I nodded and took a few deep breaths.
She talked me through a few basic reminders, and we began our day on the mountain. By the end of the weekend, I was making my way down the most challenging runs I had ever done, I felt confident enough to go on my own and try new runs, and other skiers and snowboarders were apologizing to me. I had found a moving meditation. And was having a lot of fun! I was already looking forward to the next snowboarding trip.
When we let the ego drive our thoughts and actions, we miss out on life. We miss out on joy and lightness. We miss out on growth. We get stuck in maladaptive behaviors that keep us small.
When we listen to the silent witness within us, the one who pushes us to break out of habits (AKA the comfort zone-- which is actually no comfort zone at all), the one who challenges our thought patterns, and the one who interrupts those old patterns that have kept us locked in suffering and fear -- we discover a more expansive experience, a more joy-filled life, a powerful ownership of our thoughts, words, and actions, and so much more.
Choosing to listen more to the silent witness and less to the ego is like building a muscle. And it takes practice. Meditation is a great tool to build that muscle. When we sit quietly, let the mind settle, we can hear more the wisdom of the silent witness. We begin to feel the courage. We see how to take a step closer to the edge and take the risk to no longer stay in the "comfort zone." We have no idea what awaits us there unless we take the step.