Fact vs. Fiction
Imagine a situation in your life with which you are presently struggling. Once you have named it, put your thoughts on pause.
Now notice your physical body, your breathing, your body sensations. Look around you and see what is present around you, without labeling anything in any way. Give yourself a few minutes to just be. Breathe.
Now, let your thoughts unravel and pay attention to what happens. Notice how it’s impossible for the mind to stay in the moment. Pay attention to how thoughts will inevitably weave their hypnotic spell from the past into the future.
For example, a job loss brings back memories of never feeling good enough, or of prior failures. Future fears may rear their head: how will you pay your bills? Or be able to find another job? Suddenly, your mind is spinning with added layers of misery, its stories inflicting untold suffering. Every part of you reacts in stress.
The mind’s way of trying to handle the present situation is by conjuring up some kind of story, one of blame, regret or consolation. The mind does this in an attempt to bypass, justify or diminish the angst of the moment. But here’s the problem: the very pain that you are trying to avoid by resisting the moment is the very stuff that creates the suffering.
The mind reshuffles the deck, imposing the past into the future because that’s all it knows how to do. And since the mind shifts out of the present to conjure up its stories, the wisdom of the moment, with its options and resources, is no longer available. You end up replacing the fact of what is…clean, simple, even if it’s painful… with the fictional story of what was or could be.
The truth is that the mind’s feeble attempt at interpreting the past and projecting it into the future offers no protection or preparation for what is to come. But when things are allowed to be as they are without the thinking that filters the experience, there may be pain, yes…but without the added suffering.
Living a rich, full life means that there will be heartache as well as joy, tenderness as well as hurt, passion as well as pain.
And living with an open heart, in all its breathtaking aliveness means that you’ll be there too, not missing a single moment.
Until next time…