This comment by James Baldwin is a perfect statement of how we need to be in relationship with the present moment. An unpleasant experience arises. Our mind starts to criticize us and we feel anxious and judged. What is your typical response? Do you turn towards these negative feelings or try and deny and run away from what is happening? Most of us don’t want to face what makes us feel uncomfortable. Is this the most effective way to deal with the situation? Unlikely. If we try and push away or put up a wall to what bothers us it will still be there to haunt us. We may have pushed it out of our consciousness but it is still lurking ready to be triggered again. It will never become resolved and only continue to grow as we keep adding more to the pile of our emotional discontent. Mindfulness asks us to face and then engage our experience. We can do this experientially or cognitively. Turning your attention to your body and allowing yourself to experience the sensations without resistance can allow the trauma held in our bodies to start moving through us. One can also bring curiosity to the moment and inquire what is calling to be heard. What is this moment trying to inform you about? Only by facing what bothers you and holding it with compassion and wisdom can you develop the capacity to integrate the underlying psychological woundings that limit your ability to have freedom.
Smell a flower. Eat chocolate. See clouds in the sky. Hear the chirping of a bird. Touch someone you love. Done it before. Nothing new. What’s next. It takes quite the exceptional experience for us to even recognize it. The biggest problem is that we are just not present to what we experience. The other issue is that familiarity breeds indifference. We look at life through the lens of knowing what is going to be experienced as we have had the experience before. There needs to be a shift in order to allow awe in each moment. We need to suspend expectation and be open to what is new in each moment. We need to be with life without knowing what to expect in order to experience what is not known. Awe in the moment is revealed to us. It is not something we look to find.
Do you have a mind that constantly criticizes you for not getting it right? You have a belief that there is a certain way things should be and the way you should be. We have these unreasonable expectations that we will act perfectly according to this identity we hold ourselves to be. The problem is that this is impossible. The one thing we can be perfect at is being human. “You can’t do human wrong.” Being human means that you are not perfect! You will judge yourself constantly for not getting it right. You will not live up to your expectations. Give yourself permission to this reality. Permission to be as you are not as you expect yourself to be. It is when we try and be more than human that we run into trouble. We need to be kind and give ourselves permission to be perfectly human, not humanly perfect
How do we see each moment? Why is it that someone might feel threatened or sad while someone else might feel calm and assured under similar circumstances? We all have our unique stories about who we believe we are. They were initially formed when we were young and in relationship with our caregivers. This has been subsequently shaped by our society. Everything that we are in contact with is referenced against our belief system that defines our identity. Does it agree or not? What we need to be able to do is to bring insight into how we see our experience through the Isight of who we believe we are. It is with this clarity that we can understand the true nature of reality and allow for non-attachment with our sense of self and rest in mindful awareness.
Do you live your life from the place that says: “If only I had this I would be happy!” And then what happens when you get it.
The new car develops engine trouble. The wonderful new job has a terrible boss. The blissful marriage ends in divorce. The sweet kids become drug addicts. Whenever you rely on something external to yourself to provide your happiness you will never be happy. There is no way to be able to control what exists outside of you. We have enough trouble controlling what goes on inside of us! We live a life from a position of deficiency that will never result in being happy by trying to fill the hole.. We need to recognize that we are as perfect and complete as we can be in the moment. We need to accept and rejoice in the way we are and what we have now. There needs to be gratitude for the whole picture. We need to look at acquiring things or developing new relationships as changing our wholeness, not completing it.