We make decisions every day—from seemingly inconsequential choices, to larger ones that can affect the course of our lives. Part of the power of Mindfulness is that it allows us to make wiser choices—the ones that lead towards living a more healthy, meaningful and fulfilling life.Read More
I have great news. You don’t have to know ‘what to do with your life.’ You don’t don’t need a ten-year plan. You don’t need to wait till you ‘get there’ or wait to ‘reach your potential’. You just need to be present each moment, each day—respond to what arises, learn and iterate.
Think about the rhythm of your personal evolution as circular, not linear. It is an ongoing process of play and experimentation with life, learning, reflection and refinement.
It’s a continuous dance with life, not a race to the finish line.
When you live in this more present, focused and fluid way, you free yourself from the paralysis of perfectionism, the rigidity of needing to know and the desperate attempts to get control of it all. Instead, you can be fully present to what is actually happening in the here now. And since you are fully present, you’ll be able to respond to what is arising with the best of who you are. Living in this way, you also free yourself from the whole idea of regret. There are no regrets in experimentation and exploration. Just discoveries, results and new wisdom.
When we grip too tightly to our desires, when we ‘need to know’ or ‘get there’ we stiffen up, we get serious, we start charging forward, we cling and we become dissatisfied with where we are now. We forget to be playful, explore, take risks and try new things. Worst of all, we forget to be present for our moments and our lives.
Listen, there’s an old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”. This points to the fact that life is inherently unpredictable and uncertain. Even though we hate to admit it, much is out of our control. Our best laid plans will often not turn out the way we think despite our best efforts.
I’m not saying you should throw out all plans and goals, but it’s wise to hold your plans lightly…and make the primary focus of life your moment-to-moment dance with life. Work with what’s right in front of you. Decide who you want to be, how you want to show up today—in each decision, each conversation, each moment. That truly is all you need to do.
Remember—fulfilment isn’t a destination someplace in the future. The opportunity to live your life fully is now. Right now.
No need to worry, fret or feel a deficiency because you soulmate hasn’t arrived, your mortgage isn’t paid off yet, you still have ten pounds to lose. No need to strive and struggle and push your body and mind to the limit trying to get all the plans to work out.
Just bring your focus home to this moment. Dance with life. Play. Experiment. Respond. Reflect. Refine. Repeat. Enjoy the ride.
When I was in my early 20s working in nursing homes, I became very close to one of the residents who was in her 90s, Lorraine. She used to say to me often, “Enjoy every moment. It goes by in a blink”.
She also shared with me her own regret that she had lived so much of her life fixated on the future, the next thing, the big goal, the time when it would finally all come together. She urged me not to make the same mistake. Her stories always remind me of this short passage which I often read on my retreats these days…
‘First I was dying to finish high school and start college,
And then I was dying to finish college and start working,
And then I was dying to marry and have children,
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work,
And then I was dying to retire,
And now I am dying…and suddenly I realise I forgot to live.’
Forgetting to live. It’s an easy mindset to get caught in. Always getting there, never fully here. It’s the idea that the future is where happiness lies. Not here. Not now. Not this. We have to get it all worked out first, achieve our potential, realise our hopes, finish our to-do lists, solve the problems, heal the wounds, ‘work it all out’. We need to find that special person, get the big dream, pay off the mortgage, fix our flaws, clean up our mess.
So we race and we rush and we fix and strive and we wait. We wait for the future. For a ‘better’ moment. The next thing. And in the waiting we overlook the fact that our life is happening, moment by moment….too often passing us by only half lived.
When we’re always striving to get somewhere and something else, we never fully arrive where we are. We forget to live.
LIVING FULLY THROUGH THE ART OF NON-WAITING
There is a more passionate, peaceful and joyful way to live and love and that is to give up the mindset of waiting to live.
Non-waiting instead, can be a way of being. A way of living each day and each moment as if it really mattered. It is an invitation to step fully into life. To not miss this day or this moment while waiting for the next one to arrive.
The energy of waiting can have us caught up in our heads hooked on the wishes we want to be filled, the plans we want to execute and the dreams we believe we need to come true.
Non-waiting doesn’t mean to give up our dreams but rather to bring our primary focus to how we meet the unfolding moment. We engage fully in the journey instead of waiting to arrive at our destination.
DANCING WITH THE FLOW
The present moment could be described as the flow of life. It is the space in which your entire life unfolds. Your true home. When we learn to stop leaning into the next experience – wanting and waiting for a particular outcome, we are finally free to know and experience life and this moment fully.
Non-waiting involves a relaxed, warm and welcoming awareness. Instead of clinging it lets things be. It doesn’t deny or push anything away. It allows the flow of life to come towards us and we respond to it moment by moment. We dance with the flow of life. In this way we develop a skillful and loving connection with reality.
Listen, human life is always a bit messy. There will always be another problem to solve, goal to reach, mess to clean up, wound to heal. If you get it all together something usually falls apart again in the next moment. If you get what you want, another desire will soon arise. It’s just the way of being human.
You may feel you cannot live fully till you get it all together, fix it or work it all out – but you can. It’s just a choice….not to wait. To just rise to the occasion of it all with the best of who you are. To live into the beautiful messy, mysterious, wild beauty of it all.
Non-waiting allows us to show up and participate fully in the unfolding of our precious lives while we have them to live.
When the sun sets this afternoon that will be one more day of your life gone. Don’t get stuck in waiting for something else or something more in the future. Don’t let it slip by only half lived. Don’t wait. Be present. This is it.
“Everyone knows there are a ton of benefits to practicing yoga. But did you know you can also gain real(ish) super powers from a regular practice? Everything from mind control to healing powers to flying (you heard me) is attainable simply by rolling out your mat and showing up. So pull up your tights, fasten your cape, and check out these seven yogic super powers:”Read More
“There are a lot of misconceptions about confidence. People sometimes assume it’s a product of achieving something in particular, having nice things or looking a certain way. Some people try to talk themselves into confidence by thinking positive thoughts.”Read More
“If you start to bring this more focused awareness into your life, you’ll begin to notice a shift in your perception of busyness. Your day may still have a long to-do list and a full calendar but your experience of moving through your day will likely feel more enjoyable, relaxed and you can enjoy the process of getting everything done. And that matters because, hey after all, life isn’t a to-do list, it’s meant to be enjoyed.”Read More
“You truly don’t need to go and earn your worth today. So instead, feel free to focus your energies on what truly brings meaning, purpose, fulfilment, genuine connection and love into your life. You already are, always were, and always will be, more than enough”Read More
“And as people came back year after year, they told me many stories of how these particular retreats gave them a way in to practice and transformed their lives in ways I could not have imagined when I cooked up the idea. Seeing so many grownups reclaim their child-like joy, their ability to play and to wonder, gave me joy and the feeling that this type of retreat had great value too.”Read More
Most of us spend a great deal of time sitting behind our desks, or in conference rooms or colleagues’ offices, so having a short practice that helps you refresh your attention while at work can be beneficial. What I call the “desk chair” meditation gives you a way to incorporate a short mindfulness practice into your day.Read More
“Most of us spend one-third of our lives sleeping. By the age of 90, we will have spent a total of 30 years in our dreams. The nature of sleep has been the subject of worldwide studies for decades, conducted in the fields of neurology, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. But how does sleep impact our productivity? What is the optimal sleep cycle? How to deal with insomnia?”Read More
“Pujya Swamiji always says that when you talk to God, it’s prayer, and when God talks to you back, it’s meditation. So, when God answers our prayers, what we get is not a castle, a mansion, a Mercedes, a perfect figure, but we get meditation. And what is meditation? Meditation is that deep experience of the peace, the love, the wholeness, and the consciousness which we really are.”Read More
“He’s disappointed that his education has limited his opportunities. He’s frustrated that he has to spend money on public transport while others drive in their swanky cars. To him, it feels like the entire world has conspired against him to ensure he doesn’t succeed.”Read More
Surround yourself with support.
The strength and influence of community can be a huge support in establishing a new habit. By meditating with friends, family, or coworkers, you can find the support you need in maintaining a regular TM practice. Just like having a gym buddy helps you stay motivated to work out, meditating with a partner or group creates accountability and helps ensure that you’ll reap the benefits of a regular practice.
In fact, the more we let ourselves experience change, the more we may realise that it is something we can survive and benefit from. Life doesn’t necessarily get ‘easier’, but using mindfulness, we can ride its waves with more resilience and equanimity – or in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, we “learn to surf.”Read More
We may find that we understand mindfulness conceptually, but are under-prepared for the experiential challenges. However, we can rest assured that obstacles are to be expected and are actually essential to our practice -- serving to strengthen it and make us better equipped to deal with future challenges.Read More