Apr 6, 2019
So, why might you want a mindful life?
Well, maybe you’re struggling with anxiety, nervousness, or impulsiveness. Maybe relationships are a challenge for you. Maybe you have a habit or three you need to extract yourself from. Maybe you find yourself living in a state of expectation, rather than appreciating what you've already got. Maybe you feel like you’re always busy; as if 'busy' is the only mode of your existence. Maybe you're just stuck: you know, stuck with blaming your parents, your siblings, or the cousins who never played with you, etc. You know, all that past stuff and stuck-ness.
For me, it's a whopping great ‘yes’ to a bunch of the above struggles.
How about you?
If so, here's a newsflash: it’s okay.
Yes, it's truly okay.
At least that’s what mindful awareness has made me aware of. And that's a relief to a bloke with a hatful of indolent habits: to find out that feelings are ... well, just feelings. For sure, they often feel like failings, but in reality they’re just feelings. Feelings that arise from the mechanics of the mind. Mind you, I’m not claiming mindfulness as some panacea: I can only talk about my own experience on this planet. But for a person like me - with fair to middling mental disequilibrium - it does the job, meets the spec, conforms to the itemised ingredients on the label. All of which simply means that mindful awareness can help you reframe perceived challenges - even befriend them, would you believe. And certainly be curious about them. Plus, it can help you detach yourself from the machinations of your mind so you can give yourself permission to show up for this one wild and precious life you've been given.*
And there’s poetry in that. Then again, there’s a lot of poetry in mindfulness. But it’s not like the poetry they taught you at school: that was verse to fall asleep to (oftentimes). Although, speaking as a former teacher of literature, it may well have been my teaching. Yep, I if you were in my class, I see you nodding! But mindfulness is poetry to wake you up. It's the poetry of permission. The permission of knowing you can untangle yourself from the debilitation of a distracted mind. The permission of responding, rather than reacting to events as they arise. In fact, it’s probably the most wholesome act permissiveness out there. And 'most things' is what this unfolding century seems to be most adept at throwing at us. For instance, at the time of writing, we've got Lex Luther* in the White House and a small island sailing (somewhere) on a ship full of unicorns. And that's before we get to the real issues: like climate change, grasping algorithms, emergent biotechnology. Oh, and the small issue of all those nukes out there.
See how the mind starts spinning? I mean, why go to that place? What's with the casual catastrophising?
Well, it's what the mind does. It's partly evolution that accounts for it.
Accounts for the mind being like a bad neighbourhood.* Not a place to go to on your own. A place you'll need a trusted friend to walk you through.
But it's okay. Mindfulness can be that friend.
* Read Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem here http://www.phys.unm.edu/~tw/fas/yits/archive/oliver_thesummerday.html
* I apologise...to Lex Luther.
* Anne Lamott, quoted by Jack Kornfield https://jackkornfield.com/exam...Posted in: