Being More, Mindful

As with growth and change, I always have to remind myself to be more mindful regardless of the situation. I read a great passage more like several pages from a book by John Kabat-Zinn that answered a lot of things that I have been contemplating lately. I feel as with the news going crazy and we are in a time of great changes ahead with the brink of war and people not being so kind these days, we really have to step back into ourselves and to reevaluate our own inner dialogue. It's a time to open up to love for ourselves and let that flourish being the light to many in the darkness. We must not forget that we can't change who we are in this lifetime. We got to work with what we got and go after the root causes instead only brushing surface and changing our outside appearance.

"Wherever You Go, There You Are

Have you ever noticed that there is no running away from anything? That, sooner or later, the things that you don't want to deal with and try to escape from, on paper over and pretend aren't there, catch up with you-especially if they have to do with old patterns and fears? The romantic notion is that if it's no good over here, you have only to go over there and things will be different. If this job is no good, change jobs. If this wife is no good, change wives. If this town is no good, change towns. If these children are a problem, leave them for other people to look after. The underlying thinking is that the reason for your troubles is outside of you-in the location, in others, in the circumstances. Change the location, change the circumstances, and everything will fall into place; you can start over, have a new beginning.

The trouble with this way of seeing is that it conveniently ignores the act that you carry your head and your heart, and what some would call your "karma", around with you. You cannot escape yourself, try as you might. And what reason, other than pure wishful thinking , would you have to suspect that things would be different or better somewhere else anyway? Sooner of later, the same problems would arise if in fact they stem in large part from your patterns of seeing, thinking, and behaving. Too often, our lives cease working because we cease working at life, because we are unwilling to take responsibility for things as they are, and to work with our difficulties. We don't understand that it is actually possible to attain clarity, understanding, and transformation right in the middle of what is here and now, however problematic it may be. But is is easier and less threatening to our sense of self to project our involvement in our problems onto other people and the environment. 

Is is so much easier to find fault, to blame, to believe that what is needed is a change on the outside, as escape from the forces that are holding you back, preventing you from growing, from finding happiness. You can even blame yourself for it all and all, in the ultimate escape from responsibility, run away feeling that you have made a hopeless mess of things, or that you are damage beyond repair. In either case, you believe that you are incapable of true change or growth, and that you need to spare others any more pain by removing yourself from the scene.

The casualties of this way of looking at things are all over the place. Look virtually anywhere and you will find broken relationships, broken families, broken people-wanderers with no roots, lost, going from this place to that, this job to that, this relationship to that, this idea of salvation to that, in the desperate hope that he right person, the right job, the right place, the right book will make it all better. Or feeling isolated, unloveable, and in despair, having given up looking and even making any attempt, however misguided, to find peace of mine. 

Be itself, mediation does not confer immunity from this pattern of looking elsewhere or the answers and solutions to one's problems. Sometimes people chronically go from one technique to another, or from teacher to teacher, or tradition to tradition, looking for that special something, that special teaching, that special relationship, that momentary "high" which will open the door to self-understanding and liberation. But this can turn into serious delusion, and unending quest to escape looking at what is closet to home and perhaps most painful. Out of fear and yearning for someone special to help them to see clearly, people sometimes fall into unhealthy dependency relationships with mediation teachers, forgetting the no matter how good the teacher, ultimately you have to live the inner work yourself, and that work always comes rom the cloth of your own life.

Some people even wind up misusing teacher-led meditation retreats as a way to keep afloat in their lives rather than as an extended opportunity to look deeply into themselves. On retreat, in a certain way everything is easy. The bare necessities of living are taken care of. The world make sense. All I have to do is sit and walk, be mindful, stay in the present, be cooked for and feed by a caring staff, listen to the great wisdom that is being put out by people who have worked deeply on themselves and have attained consideration understanding and harmony in their lives, and I will be transformed, inspired to live more fully myself, know how to be in the world, have a better perspective on my own problems.  
~Jon Kabat-Zinn 

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