Many ‘spiritual’ teachings encourage positive thinking, yet by doing so they are resisting the entirety of our human experience. The teachings can often be so generalised that they do not take into account an individual’s personal history, conditioning and much more. What we need is balance, and to not be attached to feeling joyful or blissed-up and happy.
In Buddhism it is said non-attachment to everything is the key to genuine freedom. We could yearn for a lottery win or a raise at work and believe that it would make us happy, but it could come, it could go and we yearn again for more. The attachment to circumstances prevents real genuine freedom.
A few years back when I was working, I was very attached to outcome. I believed that if I only had more money and was able to travel the world I would be happy, I would feel free. I never felt I had enough money.
Yet now 4 years later I have 99% less money than I had before, yet I place more value on what I have, and my life has become more free. I was attached to what a specific form of happiness would bring me. It took life breaking down and removing all ‘normal’ outer abundance to begin the quest to see what was beneath all the stuff of attachments.
Is It Easy?
No it isn’t, not in the beginning anyhow. It’s an ongoing day-by-day, moment-by-moment practice. Some days I feel immense freedom as I value different things in my life now. Other times I experience judgement, attachment, jealousy, compare myself with others, and most of the human emotions many of us would rather be rid of. The only difference is I keep bringing myself back to where I am – the present moment.
Anxiety and Trust
Since beginning to embrace the anxiety that I had been resisting for years (see HERE), when I meditate I am learning to release expectations, to release attachments.
Before mindfulness I did not trust life. I worried incessantly about the future. I had no faith that life would take care of me and I now know trust is born from the present moment.
As we begin to live moment-by-moment we naturally begin to trust living, and life naturally evolves and unfolds. As we fear and feel anxious about the next moment, the next week, month or year, there can be no space for heartfelt trust.
So if you feel no trust, I recommend spending time daily embracing your present moment experience. If you feel lonely, sad, angry, jealous, upset, happy, peaceful – be with those feelings. As you wash the dishes feel the soap suds, listen to the sounds around you, sense your posture, your feet on the ground. As you clean your home, feel the cloth in your hand, listen to the vacuum clean, fully feel it – this is all meditation. And if you can make time each day to sit and meditate, feeling your feelings, without expectation of peace, joy or bliss, over time you will feel a greater sense of trust. This is not an instant process. It takes a commitment to your own freedom, but I guarantee you, if you begin now you will feel a sense of relief.
If I can be mindful anyone can, as I used to live 99.9% in future thinking.
Your Life Will Not Come To A Standstill
Being mindful you still get things done, you still plan, you simply are not attached to the outcome of any plans. Life could change and as you were not attached to a specific plan or outcome you flow with the tide of life instead of against it. You won’t be sitting on a meditation cushion chanting ‘Om’ while your children starve or you lose your job. Life simply flows differently; life becomes more fluid.
Your actions and choices come from being strongly rooted in the present moment. You can still eat pizza, meat, have sex, judge, think – life does not become boring; it becomes more vivid and colourful without the attachment to drama.
You awaken – where you are.
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1st image shared via Creative Commons from Wikimedia
2nd image shared via Creative Commons taken by truds09