“Life is the curriculum” Jon Kabat Zinn
Sometimes we get caught up in what the goal or outcome of being mindful is: being calm, peaceful, ‘enlightened’, grateful, changing others. This may indeed come about, but sooner or later, wham!.. life comes along and catches us hook, line and sinker and voila, we are stressed, angry, or reacting in some way, wondering.. where is my mindfulness? Relax. That IS the practice: To notice where we get hooked and what thoughts and feelings are hooking us and taking us out of the present.
“If you want stress, get a future. If you want to get depressed, get a past” Byron Katie
The point of a mindfulness practice is not to be a good meditator, go on long retreats or somehow become detached from life. Noooo.. it is to be in the messiness of life and be aware; to be in the throes of reaction and notice yourself; to come into the present moment, even after the storm has passed. That builds the mindfulness muscle.
“There are no enlightened people, just enlightened moments.” Jon Kabat Zinn
The goal is not to change or fix yourself, or worse, others. It is to notice when you revert to the past or the future and how that clouds your experience of life in this moment.
Give up the struggle, stop, breathe, notice the moment right now, free of conditioning of the past, always fresh, ready and waiting with whatever is unfolding. Yes, it does require practice, but the time is NOW.
Have a great week and here’s to more enlightened moments!
ps. I’ll leave you with another quote from another one of my favourite teachers, Sharon Salzberg.
“One venerable old Tibetan lama in the Himalayas taught us that essential to having a more awakened life, we needed to practice ‘short moments, many times.’ It transforms our day to introduce short moments of mindfulness many times each day, while we are at work, or commuting, or standing in line in the grocery store. You don’t have to aim to be mindful every single moment of your day, only to fall short and feel deficient and incapable. Instead, we all can actually practice short moments many times, bringing mindfulness to life. The body is the easiest, most concrete vehicle for doing this, whatever chaotic of pressured environment we might find ourselves in.”