being present with the present moment requires patience.
occasionally the mind runs away. distractions abound, we spiral out of our bodies and senses and spin into our to do lists, our imaginations, our pains, our joys. the colors of the horizon, the sound of the rain, the cool breath at the back of the throat, the here and now — it fades. we lose it to our busy internal worlds.
i find this to be especially true when faced with any sort of discomfort, physical, emotional or spiritual. shiny, bright, full up with happiness moments are easy to settle into. we want to be saturated in their bliss. it’s the difficult moments brought on through external crisis, internal shadows, doubts, cloudy vision and emotional lows that we want to run away from. it is the pain, the sorrow, the grief, and the shattered hearts we want to ignore.
i am learning that remaining open to experience despite the tone of the experience calls for great, loving-kind attention. to face the bruised up heart of your hurts takes the type of compassion you show a frightened child. you don’t push them away, you don’t shout at them in anger. you hold them, you acknowledge them. standing in and with compassion and kindness help us greet whatever shows up — “good” or “bad” — with peace and love.
our wounds hold a lot of lessons. to turn them away is to turn a piece of yourself away and, ultimately, the opportunity to get to know your heart a little bit better. when we remain open, we remain open to experiencing our experiences entirely — all the ups, all the downs, all the indifferent in betweens. we remain open to feeling what life is — years of myriad colors, tones, textures, sights and feelings, not just the “perfect” bits and pieces.
remaining open with compassion and understanding despite our judgement, our urge to flee, flatten, or disregard, helps us grow, and facilitate change. opening up brings vulnerability, yes, but the exploration of the depths strengthens our selves. from that strength comes a heightened ability to navigate further life experiences with love. when we go through and process a difficulty in our lives, we learn how to accept what is and be calm in the midst of adversity. we learn how to be peaceful warriors.
it reminds me of a pema chodron quote:
“every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in new york, los angeles, halifax, taiwan, beirut, kuwait, somalia, iraq, everywhere. all over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, “am i going to add to the aggression in the world?” every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, “am i going to practice peace, or am i going to war?”
why go to war against yourself, your experience, your heart?
why not go to into peace, instead? when you are peaceful despite, the world is a little more peaceful, too.