“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts.” Pema Chödrön
What is mindfulness but the ability to be present in our lives?
And you know what lives in the present moment? Joy. Not in the past, not in the future, not in endless “have to, should, must do”, not in daydreaming. Joy is here, now.
Sure there is also pain in the present moment, and all other sorts of feelings and sensations that we experience if we dare to stay put.
Here now is life, with all its nuances.
Life wants to live, life feeds on life. And yet, we keep escaping from that.
No one needs to sit and meditate for mindful, conscious living. Yet, I won’t lie: I’ve meditated a lot in this life. I was only 14 years old when I first meditated, something rather weird to have experienced as a Western millennial teenager. I enjoy it so much that some years ago I started giving meditation classes.
That’s when I noticed something interesting. Every time I introduced myself to someone new, and told them that I give meditation classes, the person would tell me about their meditation efforts. They would almost apologize for not having a steady meditation practice, or for feeling they couldn’t meditate.
Nobody was apologetic about not writing a weekly newsletter, not working with clients in person and online, or because they did not enjoy dancing (all other important parts of my life that I also shared with the person in question). But meditation was a trigger; it made them self-conscious.
We live in a society addicted to productivity that puts meditation on a pedestal, featuring it in every “Top 5 morning routines hecks” article. It has become a benchmark, something happy and successful people do, so we all want to follow in their footsteps.
Still, what was curious for me was that people who were apologetic about not sitting on the cushion couldn’t put a finger on why they wanted to meditate in the first place.
Anything we do that has no reason or is not particularly fulfilling becomes another box to check, another “should, have to, must” of life.
In this day and age, who needs a longer to-do list?
Life is about living, and for that, we are to be here, now. 100% in it. Not immersed in worries, anxiety, fantasy, and lost in thought. Life happens here, not there. When we are here now, we become connected.
Embodied in the fullness of our beings, we create space, let go of what doesn’t matter, and get clarity and alignment. Less multitasking, more discernment of what matters. Less busyness, more presence.
Here now we feel what we feel, cut the bullshit, deal with whatever arises and live.
We live thinking we are scared of dying, avoiding it at all costs. Still, all we escape from the present moment shows that what we are actually afraid of is living.
Every one of us will eventually die. Now how many will fully live? By the way, a full schedule does not equal fully living.
Living is about not escaping from the present moment. To dare to stay with any feeling, thought, and sensation that comes, without any judgement.
Everything passes. What all Zen masters I’ve met have in common is a sharp sense of humor.
Both mindfulness and meditation train us in penetrating life in its deepest sense. But it is not meditation that does the penetrating: it is being in the present moment. Gladly, for those not fond of the cushion, there are other ways to reach that state.
Let’s Talk Meditation
Some say the point of meditation is to get an empty mind, and not think about anything. I’d say that is pretty much impossible for 99,99% of people, and sounds almost like replacing the escapism of not being present with another one: getting rid of thinking and feeling.
The thing is, meditation is not primarily a mindfulness tool, although it can absolutely be used for it, for it does have so many benefits.
Meditation is purification of the mind. The more we purify, the more we connect to a greater mind — the divine.
Meditation is absolutely crucial for our spiritual progression. Sure one can start without it, but sooner or later there will come a point in the progression where one stops without being able to meditate.
Different things happen as we meditate. As our mind purifies, we get in touch with different frequencies and cut veils, we stabilize our emotional and mental ups and downs which allows us to master our energies and hold certain states for spiritual work, it expands the ability of our container to circulate high frequencies without burning and getting overwhelmed, we get access to wisdom divine that keeps us in our spiritual path, we clear our negative ego and expand our consciousness through energetic upgrades we receive during meditation — and much more.
All of these things above are the things that I as a spiritual guide live for — and sound like la-la land to many. Most people don’t care about spiritual progression and all these things. They just want to be fine, which is more than honorable. To get a hold of your own mind and emotions is already a massive work of its own.
Meditation is not easy.
No wonder so many look for shortcuts. Technically speaking, most things people call meditation are not even meditation. They are breathing exercises, grounding exercises, visualizations and concentration exercises, which all are important aspects of learning to meditate — but are not it. In meditation, there is no exercise to follow, no breathing rhythm to keep, no counting to do.
It’s kind of hard to do something of this magnitude “just because I keep reading it is good for me,” and it is ok — maybe one doesn’t have to.
You Don’t Need to Meditate to be Joyful, Peaceful and Mindful
Remember it is not meditation that makes us penetrate life fully — it is being fully present that does that.
There are infinite ways to be more present and more connected to life. The best part of it is that we don’t actually need to do anything extra in our days.
It is more about how we do what we already do, and, of course, what we stop doing (such as getting distracted and caught up).
So you eat every day. Could you taste your food more? Could you smell it, enjoy it, and not be on your phone or just talking with someone the whole time?
Could you take a deep breath first thing every morning in bed, give yourself a hug, be grateful for being alive and set intentions for the day?
How about appreciating the people you work with, your family? How about allowing yourself to enjoy and be silly?
It is a brand new year, and every day is a brand new day to appreciate, every second a brand new chance to get out of autopilot.
It is always our choice.
Mindfulness comes as we hold the awareness that it is our choice to be present and live — and then choosing that.
Ready to expand even more in joy and in life?
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