One of my greatest passions is to write. My main venture in writing has been in the world of blogging. If you are interested in finding out a lot more about me, feel free to check out my blog, TheTwelfthStep, by clicking here. In it you will learn much about my day-to-day life and things that have happened throughout my life to shape who I am today. I once had a monthly column many years ago in several small local newspapers in southern Virginia entitled "Words To Live By" where I was able to develop my gift to write. It is one of my hopes to be a published author or columnist someday, but until that comes to fruition, I have found blogging to be an amazing substitute and continue to publish on a daily basis many spiritually uplifting and motivational-based articles.
In addition to blogging, I have written two YA books where the first was titled, "The Adventures of Andy Anderson - Sebastian's Gift" and the second, "The Zodiac Crystal". If you are interested in reading the first chapter of my first book, please see Downloads at the bottom of this page. Below, I have also included the first article I ever wrote for my "Words To Live By" column. I hope you enjoy both..
If you would like to contact me personally about my writing, please click here and fill out the contact form.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope to hear from you! Namaste.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson
Sitting With Oneself
by Andrew Arthur Dawson
The one person that I truly have avoided most of my life and ultimately feared is me. I’m not sure I could have admitted to this personal truth if it had not been for a recent experience. I am writing this to share with all of you how a 10-day retreat in the mountains of Virginia where I practiced a meditation technique named Vipassana changed the course of my life.
To begin, let me work backwards. While time has now passed since this retreat, I have continued to practice mediation daily. My morning begins each day now by waking up and spending an hour in silence meditating. It is not my purpose here to describe neither the technique I learned on the retreat nor others that I have picked up along the way. There are many techniques, many practices, many paths, and many walks that are available to guide oneself to one’s inner truths. I have found several which work for me. The important thing I’ve realized though in all of this is that since my retreat I have become more aware of happiness within myself that I never knew existed or that I had concealed deep within me long ago. I have also found more positive statements coming from my mouth. And best of all, I have found that I am smiling much more and frowning much less.
It was the last ten days of September, 2005 that I spent practicing a meditation technique in an environment that allowed for no talking, no writing, no music, no reading, no television, no newspapers, and no intoxicants. Men and women were kept separated. Eye contact was never made between students and for ten hours each day, I sat with myself in silence on a cushion on the floor or propped in a chair observing my own thoughts and sensations. In addition, three hours of each day were spent eating Vegetarian based meals, two hours were left for slow walking, and six hours were reserved for sleeping. All of which were done in silence too.
So what led me to partake in this silent withdrawal from the outer world? Since my graduation from high school in 1990, I had spent the last 15 years of my life trying to break my own perpetual pattern of self-doubt, which resulted in a constant need for external validation. Having spent many of these years either numbing myself with intoxicants or stimulants, hiding from myself with material and physical gain, trying to find all my answers through the pursuit of different religions, reading of countless self-help books, and ultimately seeing many therapists, I never truly faced one deep seated thing about myself. I didn’t love myself and without loving myself how could I ever truly love anyone or anything else. I have always as far back as I can remember, been afraid to be alone and was not happy with my own company. Either I had to have someone in my life to keep me company or something had to keep me occupied such as television, video games, or movies at all times unless I was sleeping. Essentially, I wanted to keep my mind busy from the reservoir of pain within my heart. We all have our own list of these deep-seated things where the sensations of the pain are indescribable. Deaths of loved ones, loss of friendships, abuse, childhood traumas, etc. this list is immeasurable. Wall after wall has been fortified around our hearts to protect us from feeling. After my mother’s death in February of 2005, six months passed until I had finally had enough in my life of being negative, of trying to buy my way to happiness, of worrying about everything, and constantly avoiding the one thing in my life I’ve never spent quite long with alone…me.
This is why I spent ten days doing just that; living, breathing, walking, eating, and observing only one thing, Andrew Dawson. What did I find during those ten days? I found that the key to my own happiness is within me, has always been and will always be, from the day that I was born till the day I die. Don’t get me wrong, there are many tools that exist outside of ourselves and can help guide us to inner peace and self love. But the best tools to bring forth that inner glow are already within us and to find them, it’s a matter of simply removing all the distractions that occupy so much our time. I lost sight of my own self-love at a very young age but I realized over those ten days, it never disappeared; it was just buried below a lot of walls I had built up.
So, I encourage to take a moment today, breathe, and spend time with yourself, as the journey within will awaken not only your mind but also your heart and spirit. All it takes is a conscious choice and a determination within. Be patient and kind to yourself and know that the joy and love you seek is already within you and has always been.