I’m in the early stages of being mindful. I spend less time meditating than I would like, and I like it less than it deserves. Sometimes that is. Sometimes I truly do enjoy it, and one great benefit I am getting from it is not so much in the meditation itself, but in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always stop and smell the peonies just yet. But those little moments when the kids are playing, when there is peace, or enjoyable chaos – I have found the skill to be able to stop at those moments and observe. I smile and enjoy. Of course, enjoying those moments may be the easier benefit to reap from meditation. It becomes all the harder when I am in a moment that I less than enjoy that it becomes hard.
Not too long ago I was going to have a meeting that I was definitely not looking forward to. Though the meeting wasn’t until Thursday the week after, I already started getting anxious about it on Saturday. I woke up Sunday morning with the thought of the meeting, and it just flowed through my entire day. As I’m sure you can guess, it didn’t help make the day any more fun. As Thursday was approaching, my anxiety got bigger and bigger. And I got bitchier and bitchier. (Is that even a word? It is now :))
And then, Wednesday evening, boom. AHA moment in all its glory. What I had done to myself was all caused by not being in the moment. I realised, that whether I was anxious or not, Thursday and that meeting would come. I also realised, that by being anxious about it all week I was only making my life harder, because whether I was anxious or not nothing would change. Had I been in the moment, and been present in all the activities happening instead of focussing what lied ahead I might have not wasted half a week being anxious about a meeting that would inevitably happen anyway. So being in the moment is not only a source of joy, it is actually not being in the moment that is a source of suffering.
It’s not easy to let go of that habit though. We all have that one meeting, that job interview, that family event, that uncomfortable talk with a friend that we just get worked up about. But I think practicing being in the moment will at least take some of the tension away – and it may not work all the time, but at least it may work some of the time. And sometimes, something is everything.