We have a habit of pushing our happiness away from us. A tendency to think that “Once X, Y, or Z happens, then I will be happy.” We sometimes even feel guilty if we are happy! But this is absurd. We can be happy right now, as we are, and it is definitely okay to do so. We don’t have to shove it off in to some point in the future, after some goal is obtained. And we certiainly don’t need to feel guilty over being happy as we are.
It’s possible for us to establish a way of life that is conducive to being spiritual, mindful, and compassionate in our daily lives. However, this requires constant practice. There is never a point where we can sit back and say “A HA! I’ve made it!” Because as soon as we do, something will happen where you will be reminded that we are human.
We must constantly cultivate our spiritual state and create pockets in our lives that will feed nurture it. Similarly, we must prune away aspects of our being that do not support our spiritual unfolding. This world can be extremely distracting and it is very easy to get sucked in to our normal, mundane level of consciousness. But the more we cultivate the spiritual, the easier it will be to stay in a state of equanimity the next time the outer world deals you a crappy situation. I know that the more consistently I am incorporating yoga and meditation into my life the more consciously I interact to the circumstances in my life. Instead of losing my temper when something doesn’t go my way, I see it as the passing situation it is. In dealing with people, instead of feeling anger and hatred toward them for not acting how I want them to, I can switch my perspective and see the situation, and from their point of view, giving me more patience and peace. My life is truly a better place, filled with more balance, joy, and serenity when I am able to consistently lead a spiritually focused life.
Thankfully, like our body, our mind is pliable. We can exercise and strengthen it in order to meet everyday situations that arise with equanimity. However, like exercising and strengthening the body, this requires vigilance and dedication to practice. We are always at practice. Our entire lives are our practice of going deeper and deeper into being. Vigilance is the guideline that keeps us directed on that path. Even after being on this path for 20 years, there are still times where I would rather lay on the couch and play video games than break out the yoga mat, but I make myself do asana practice because I know that that is conducive to the balanced, healthful life I want to live.
It is important for us to introduce and install practices that resonate with us which we will dedicate regular time to. If we want balance, we must make spirituality, mindfulness, and compassion priorities so that we are not otherwise distracted by everything that the world throws at us. These practices that each of us gravitate to will vary from person to person, not all of us will find every habit helpful and the practices we will drawn to may fluctuate in our lives. Sometimes I find journaling very insightful, other times it’s boring and tedious. Meditation and yoga are extremely powerful for many people, other people think they’re awful. There are no set, universal paths or directions, do what you are drawn to, what works for you, and shine!
How do we establish new ways of interacting with our life when we have become so entrenched in our usual way of seeing things? This mundane, dull, expression of reality that lacks magic and vitality? We can begin by taking incremental steps and increase these steps over time. Take a day to experience nature. Begin meditating 15–20 minutes a day. Go one day a week “unplugged,” without the computer, cell phone, or TV. Find things that provide a feeling of connection and expansiveness. Begin implementing them in life and build from there. Soon, we will notice that life is improving and becoming more vibrant! Sometimes then we may be tempted to stop practicing because life has already been enhanced so much. But change is a constant in life and, at the risk of sounding negative, our situation always changes. It is important to practice when everything is going well because this will help to prepare us for when the situation will inevitably change.
We need regular practice so that we will see the ultimate, non-dual, spacious nature of reality and be freed from the tyranny of the unenlightened mind. We are invited to stop constantly waiting for happiness and expecting to get it from outside of ourselves. Don’t expect to experience fulfillment in some future point when we never experience now. Stop believing that one more self help book, workshop, or one more retreat will solve our problems.
There seems to be an unconscious part of us that doesn’t believe that we are worthy of happiness and fulfillment right now. But what would happen if we were? What would happen if we finally knew that we were always already whole and complete as we are? What would happen if we realized that we don’t have to wait any longer to experience wholeness? What would it feel like to experience contentment and equanimity as it is here, now, sitting within our being? At some point in time we have to give up our illusions and delusions. Why not now?
Originally published at www.scottgoolsby.com.
Originally published at medium.com