Today, I am feeling like I can stand on my own two feet and maneuver through the uncertainty of my day. This is interesting because I still cannot feel the bottom of my feet! Sometimes, the visceral is more powerful than reality.
Uncertainty is becoming my norm. It has forced me to live more fully in the moment. When your moments do not run together smoothly; but look more like an EKG reading, their rapid changes demand your vigilant attention. By the way, this does not mean that you have to like every moment. Just that you are living authentically in it – no denial, no excuses, no judgment, no rejection.
There were times when I tried desperately to understand what living in the moment meant. Mindfulness has long been a hot topic. Many books are written about it. Yet, few of its seekers find the solace they are anticipating. At least, I don’t know anyone who has reached the pinnacle of mindfulness. But, then again, I don’t know any Buddhist monks.
Yet, mindfulness promises to be the panacea for life’s discontentments. Ironically, discontent is a longing for something other than what you have in the present moment. This appears to be a contradiction to the idea of mindfulness.
And, I am thinking that our problems with mindfulness stem directly from our social belief that happiness and contentment are our rights – that somehow we deserve to be happy all of the time. We give names to emotional trials and identify them as aberrant. We call them depression, anxiety, melancholia, panic disorder – even bereavement is given a time limit before it becomes a disorder that needs to be treated.
What would happen if we used these trials in a mindful way for the purpose of testing our spiritual character and exploring meaningful values and improved relationships with ourselves and others? Can we really be in the moment if we are trying to change or apply a remedy to the moment?
Could these moments be the stepping-stones we need to advance our understanding of the mysteries of life? Can we gain insight and spiritual advancement without trials of the soul?
This idea of avoiding and/or treating our trials like aberrations appears to be a missed opportunity both personally and communally. And, it appears to be in direct contradiction to Mindfulness.
Personally, I have noticed how difficulty it is for some people to accept what is happening to me. This expresses itself in many ways. Some people avoid me, some give well-intentioned advice, some deny completely, others blame my doctors, some offer diet or other alternative cures. But, few are able to be present with my reality. Many want to change my reality with an insistence that there must be something that can be done. But, this only makes me feel like I am missing something or that I am somehow responsible for my circumstances.
In the end, being in the present requires a vulnerability that stares in the face of something we invest a lot of energy in denying – the uncertainty of our lives and our ultimate mortality – the ending of our moments.
I don’t mean to be somber here. But, mortality is a reality. No one lives forever, happily ever after. But, everyone gets to live a life full of mystery, joy, and hardship. Maybe, instead of trying to live life without trials, we could embrace the challenges with curiosity and a willingness to grow and learn – even if this means experiencing the dark moments more honestly.
Maybe we can be more grounded when we are not relying upon our reality to tell us that our feet are on the ground.