I’d uncovered a hidden hook that was keeping us from becoming more mindful, being more present in the here and now. It was so provocative, different, and spot on that it was going to be the breakthrough everyone was looking for!
It was just the piece of the puzzle that had been missing up to now and I couldn’t wait to share it and relieve the collective frustration. I confidently presented it to my meditation and mindfulness workshop this past weekend.
Before I get too ahead of myself, let me bring you on board with the actual provocative thought I’m referring to. My huge insight was inspired by a quote I had read of British philosopher Alan Watts on the phenomenal website brainpickings.org. It was in the scope of a larger paragraph but this is the sentence that illuminated everything for me. He wrote:
“… If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life.”
Secure but separate is definitely not present. Right?!? Are you with me?
It seems most of us are wanting to be secure and protected from the flux of life. We’re wanting to feel secure in our ‘okayness’ right now and secure in our future ‘okayness’. Wanting to feel secure and assured that our kids are going to be okay, secure and assured that our performance at work is considered good, secure and assured that our health is strong and finances are going to be enough… now and forever. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many facets of our lives for which we seek to feel secure and assured that everything is going to be okay.
But what if it is this very desire to be secure that is keeping us separate from life, from being in the here and now? From being able to be more mindful?
This. I think this is why being more mindful is such an elusive goal to so many of us. It requires us to hold all of these insecurities and non-assurances at bay in order to be able to turn our attention onto the here and now.
It requires us to have the trust and confidence that we can be in the present moment without messing anything up, dropping any balls and keeping all our plates spinning in the air.
This type of trust and confidence is extremely difficult and doesn’t feel natural to most of us westerners. We’re taught to be strivers, doers, summit-conquerors. All. The. Time.
We’re culturally and somewhat evolutionarily wired to be at odds with the very mindset that holds the key to being more mindful.
Fast forward to after the workshop when I was eagerly reading the feedback forms, excited to confirm my excitement. Hmmm. Well, let’s just say it’s wasn’t totally back to the drawing board but it wasn’t all-systems-go either! The participants ranked it only as ‘helpful’ but had ranked everything else as ‘very helpful’. So not a complete loss but it totally surprised me because I had thought it was amazing and yet it didn’t seem to have the same impact on the others.
What about you? Do you think our sense of security and wanting to be assured everything is going to be okay has anything to do with our ability to be more mindful?