‘The quality of appreciation brings about joy, joy brings calm, calm brings happiness and in happiness the mind gathers in peace.’ Christina Feldman
Do you move through each day and your life in a hazy or focused expectation of some future happiness?
Or can you take your moment-to-moment awareness into the now which may be pleasant or unpleasant?
Only by resting in the now with all of life’s lovely and less than lovely situations, can we truly appreciate ALL our life, staying aware, awake.
In his book ‘Fear’, Osho describes how our mind has become so programmed with a desire to avoid errors, mistakes that every time we encounter a ‘new’ experience or ‘uncomfortable’ situation, our mind tries to avoid the ‘trial and error’ by which we ultimately learn.
So yes, we avoid the unpleasant but also miss the good, and then let our mind return to busyness and problem solving!
Over the past 6 months I’ve had so many opportunities (more than I wished!) to stay with the ‘unpleasant’ experiences in front of me, to stay with the ‘trial and error’ of finding equanimity in the less than lovely situations. I cannot say I’ve mastered the approach.
However, what I did discover in my daily life was that by really absorbing a pleasant interaction, a thoughtful gift, gesture, a beautiful sunset, I could ‘hold’ that awareness when the ballast of the ‘unpleasant’ next appeared! I learnt to stop and simply appreciate the joyful, saying ‘this is enough’.
I often reflected over this time and still now, on the yoga therapy work and therapeutic yoga practices I bring to my mat each day, and to you. Here are 5 simple thoughts I find helpful:
- Take time to appreciate, absorb a ‘pleasant’ experience in the moment it happens, feel it sink into your being saying ‘this is enough’. Notice when a less pleasant situation arises and where your mind goes.
- When you find yourself thrown off in the difficult moments of daily life, regard yourself with kindness, compassion, pause and start over.
- Dip into unfamiliar, new territory, like different books, podcasts, places, and ‘watch’ your mind. Opening into the ‘new’ supports our response to the unexpected.
- In your mindfulness or meditation practice accept the pleasant and unpleasant thoughts that naturally arise, as ‘normal’, equally good.
- Slowly move your awareness towards knowing that everything arises out of causes and conditions, bringing both the lovely and the difficult into our lives.
A full appreciation of your situation invites you to open your heart and mind in understanding, a compassionate understanding.
The happiness that flows from this is something else, something more delightful. I now know that by fully appreciating, absorbing the ‘pleasant’ supports me in the ‘unpleasant’ that naturally arises in my life.