As some of you know from earlier posts on Softball Politics, I have been practicing yoga and meditation for several years. I was inspired to do so after some medical issues including Covid led me into a place of negativity. I’m sure millions of other people had a similar experience, but I was determined to combat these feelings and once again appreciate the wonderful things in my life.
As part of my practice, I recently read a truly insightful book entitled “We Were Made For These Times,” written by Kaira Jewel Lingo. It has given me even more insight into my own feelings about life and what lies ahead. It relates yoga and meditation to normal life. [I quote Ms. Lingo many times in this essay. I have not taken the time to reference her comments.]
Yoga and meditation originated thousands of years ago. Many great men and women have tutored others in the benefits of these practices. It stands to reason that new ideas have been incorporated into the current perspectives over time. Interestingly, yogis and other tutors have not been aggressive pertaining to the benefits of practicing the skills. One must actively seek out expert instruction. Most agree that yoga and meditation can be quite helpful in dealing with the trials and tribulations of living in today’s world. But finding a competent teacher is critical to a great and safe practice.
Change. One of the most interesting and important realizations is that things are always changing. And, most people are taken aback by variations to their daily regimen. We can deal with these moments most affectively by accepting them and incorporating them into our life. A life consists of happy moments and unhappy moments. Simply put, the happy moments must offset the trying times for us to be content. Given the pace of these changes, one must be aware of his or her surroundings and willing to accept what fate has in store for them.
The author frequently talks of transition, challenging things and the need to deal with them with clarity and compassion. The practice of staying present, being open hearted and accepting changing circumstances are incredibly helpful in dealing with life.
With mindfulness a person can learn to navigate through intense and challenging times and avoid suffering and difficulty. This activity is known as coming home to ourselves, in response to whatever is happening in our lives. We can find this home inside of us and always be safe.
Deep questions cannot always be answered with our minds. We must resort to a deeper consciousness. Huge issues are seeds that we need to plant in the soil of our minds and let rest. Our mindfulness practices are the sunshine and water that the seed needs to sprout. One day it will rise up on its own and the answers to questions at hand will be obvious.
This technique can be exemplified by the following. In anger, you might author a harsh and even spiteful letter. It would be wise to take a day or so to rethink whether to send the correspondence. It is almost always beneficial to sleep on aggressive actions. With a clear mind, one can be more effective and more civilized.
Accepting what is. Transition and change can be more difficult if we resist them and assume they are indicative of something wrong with our life. Life is never a smooth journey. We are always encountering obstacles and unforeseen events. We should accept these moments and attempt to incorporate them into our thoughts. Transition and change are a part of life.
Breathing is the most basic thing we do. It is not a life function that we need to perform knowingly. Yet consciously breathing can be a safe haven where we clear our minds and see things without fear or malice. Stress is a dangerous thing that surrounds us every day. It can be greatly decreased when we meditate with deep breathing. It brings us to the present, the here and now, and enables us to compartmentalize our fears.
Stored consciousness. When a seed is planted in our consciousness in the basement of our minds it lays dormant until watered. If this consciousness moves into the living room of our minds and there’s water, it will sleep no longer. It can be a very pleasant or unpleasant experience.
If a seed of anger rises out of a sleepy state, it can be a powerful energy ending experience. The anger can be a consciousness that overwhelms our lives for a moment or a day or a week. Unchecked, the anger can arise more often and stronger in the future.
Offsetting our anger with mindfulness must be our objective. With one deep breath a soothing feeling can overcome you and can clear your mind. Mindfulness actually leads to transformation and solace when your mind is under duress.
Impermanence. Our lives are continuously in the process of transition. Even if we live in the same place and have the same experiences for very long periods, we are still changing. Impermanence is the key to our existence. Every moment things are rearranging in our lives, and often we are lulled into believing that what exists now will always be. This feeling can cause undue stress. Being seduced by temporary youth is dangerous. We all grow old and eventually die. We must be prepared for impermanence and the things that that occur in this process. Impermanence is not an idea. It is an insight into our constantly changing lives.
Equanimity is a fundamental practice that can help us center and balance ourselves from the mountaintops of our minds as we view all sides of issues that affect us. We should not take sides. We must be patient and wait to see a situation in its entirety. This is a form of non-discrimination, impartiality, letting go and non-attachment. Impermanence gives us a more engaged involvement into the changing episodes of our lives. It opens our mind.
Nurturing the good. Happiness is not the disappearance of suffering. Even if we are in a period of transition and indecision, we still can be in touch with beauty and truth around us. Gratefulness is a powerful way to nurture the good. We must try to be grateful when we experience kindness and good wishes.
- Meditate and pray
- Be aware of things we are grateful for
- Do a random act of kindness
- Keep a mental journal of happy moments during the day
The things outlined in the essay are difficult things to grasp and make part of our lives. But they will lead to more fulfillment. They are concepts that ages and ages of wise men and women have debated in an effort to give us a road map to of a good life. A perfect life is impossible. We must revel in the good and deal with the bad. Life changes every moment of every day. If you emphasize the good and accept the bad, you will be a better person.