I’m not the kind of person who strives for material gains. Ok, I do have a fondness for shoes but only comfortable, sensible ones. Anyway, I don’t have a lot of things but the one thing I do desire and strive for is to be happy. It’s come to my attention that perhaps the striving is what’s in the way. The question is, would it be enough, if I were able to be mindful in every moment? So I’m thinking about it. I do know the times when I remind myself, ‘this is a peaceful moment” that it actually does become a peaceful moment. So if I truly lived every moment that way – a big job, I know, but if I could, would that be enough? Would I have a satisfying life? I want to do an experiment and see. If anyone else wants to join in and share your experience, I’d welcome that.
You know that saying about enjoying the journey? I have never really understood it, until the other day. But to tell the whole story, I have to back track a bit first.
I was at a meditation workshop and one of the exercises was to walk really, really, fast. Luckily we were in a school yard so there was lots of room. So I was walking very fast and noticing that I was feeling very important. I clearly had somewhere I had to be and I didn’t have time for anything else. When we came back in and reflected upon it, I realized that I often walk briskly and often pass people and I have asked myself where I am I going to in such a hurry. And of course, I’m going nowhere that is time dependent. But I realize that I am in a hurry to get there and when I’ve completed the task at hand, I’m I a hurry to get home. And it doesn’t make any sense except from this class I realize that I feel important and everyone likes to feel important, right? When I was thinking about the exercise and watching myself go so fast, I had to laugh at how ridiculous it was. I cold see myself as a kid marching off somewhere feeling very important indeed. And here I am now as an adult rushing off to get more bread or whatever the reason and it suddenly seemed so comical to be rushing around for no real reason. And I wondered if after having this chuckle at myself, I might stop taking myself so seriously and just slow down.
So the other day when I was walking to or from somewhere, I again noticed how quickly I was walking. So clearly the meditation exercise did not stick with me for very long. And I said to myself, can you slow down and enjoy the journey? And I thought wait a minute, is that what they mean? That our lives take us here and there to do this or that and if we are able to slow down and enjoy the view, then we can add some pleasure to our day. And it might just be a moment but a life time of moments can add up to not such a bad life after all. I mean isn’t it this multitude of moments of small pleasures that do make our day more pleasant. Perhaps somebody opens to door for us or gives us a how do you do, or the bird sings as we go by or the sun peeks out from behind the clouds and the warmth of the sun makes us smile. These are the things that at the end of the day you can say, yeah that was a good day.
I’m sure now that is what they mean by enjoying the journey and I’m glad that I have finally gotten to understand it.
Initially, when I found myself walking fast a part of me asked myself can you enjoy the journey? it was a conscious choice to tell myself this is a peaceful moment and to look around and slow down. Then when I asked myself that question and I simply answered yes. And now when I am walking quickly, I ask myself, can you enjoy the journey? and I feel myself slow down my pace, I take a big in breath and I look around at the beauty that lies before me and it’s a peaceful moment. It feels like a more integrated, less conscious choice. And hopefully the next stage will be to continue to be in the moment, with peace.
I notice that I’ve been living in the future with a lot of uncertainty, worry and fear. It is not a pleasant place to be and yet over and over again that’s where I find myself. The longer I stay there the more it becomes hopelessness and helplessness, which is an even more unpleasant place to be. So, eventually, I asked myself what are the techniques I have used to get out of this place and I remember ‘this is a peaceful moment’. I must say I am shocked and delighted at how well this works, every time. I feel myself take a breath, my shoulders relax, I feel the tension slip away. Sometimes, before I know it I am back there again. Sometimes, I remember quickly, other times it takes me longer. I recognize that it is a choice and I choose the peaceful moment. I remind myself that it’s a practice and the important thing is that I continue to practice.