As I sit in Toronto Pearson Airport, my flight has been delayed twice, and now cancelled.. and now I smile.
The first cancellation, like everyone, I groaned. the second I breathed. And now I can smile.
This is life. A plan is made, and it changes. Some outside external circumstance comes along and ‘poof’ there goes the plan.
I look around me and there are some irate people, yelling at the airlines, yelling at each other. I understand, there is work, school, children. Life can be frustrating.
However, I am reminded of so many times my students have talked about breathing and using mindfulness when in line-ups, in waiting rooms, getting surgery, with children, and I am inspired.
I am also reminded of one truth: Peace and contentment cannot rely on external circumstances. If they do, then we are doomed to suffering! The cause of suffering is not the events in our life, but the stories we believe about them. We are all brought up to believe that events cause suffering. Then we must control events, people and places. Good luck with that! But if that is true, then how do people find beauty in pain, and suffering in very abundant, externally peaceful circumstances? It must be the meaning we attach to it.
The funny thing is, when we realize this, we try and control our inner world, our thoughts and emotions. Believe me, there is a whole school of psychology to back that up!
Here’s a secret: this approach turns out to be as unpredictable as the outer world. Have you tried?
Thoughts are uncontrollable. Emotions pass, they are temporary. But both grow if you feed them.
The trick is, we don’t have to control anything. We simply have to change where we place our attention.
Suffering can’t continue without the energy of your attention. It is work to maintain suffering.
We can’t be lost in stressful thoughts and feel our breath at the same time. Keep pointing your attention back to your breath and you will begin to experience a natural state of peace in just one breath.
Back to the airport story. I paused, accepted the situation completely (what choice did I have?). Redirected my attention to the present moment. Made arrangements, and enjoyed time by myself… which doesn’t happen very often! And I even got to write my blog…
Stay tuned to hear about my upcoming intensive learning experience in New York… if I make it there!
Lots of love,