At a recent meditation class, the teacher asked us to reflect on what is most precious to us. Which got me thinking, like really thinking. The obvious answers are our loved ones, of course, our homes, cars, holidays, engagement rings etc. The list is endless and extensive I’m sure, I’m a self-confessed hoarder so to me everything feels precious and sacred.
But I guess the whole point of Buddhist meditation is to strip you a little bare and wake you up to the reality that the real gems are inside of us, they aren’t something to be purchased and locked away in a safe or passed down the ancestral line. They are ours alone. A calm and peaceful mind is the most treasured possession. It’s all we can take with us.
We live in a world where it seems we’re all constantly searching for the happy dopamine hit. Pleasure-seeking and consuming is a never-ending pastime, that will probably never quite scratch that itch. There are record numbers of people suffering from mental health problems so maybe we can’t buy our way to happiness.
When the Buddhists tell us that working on our minds will give us long-term happiness and satisfaction, it’s easy to be cynical. To disregard it as nonsense.
We love meals out with friends and holidays with our kids and new cars and new shoes and new anything. Everyday life is mostly mundane and seems to be getting incredibly difficult to navigate, thanks to the state of the world right now. So the external gifts to ourselves bring us a moment of respite from reality. And that is a good thing, isn’t it? Little treats for the body equal good times.
But can we still be peaceful when the car breaks down on the motorway or it rains every day of that much-needed holiday? How do we react? It’s so easy to act in a favourable way when everything is going smoothly. The sun is shining, the trains are running on time, the house didn’t burn down, and no one died.
I used to think the examples of how to stay calm and not lose your shit were a bit lame, like don’t get annoyed if the shopping queue is long, don’t get agitated in the traffic jam, that kind of thing. Small non-problems in the grand scale of things. But training your mind to be as cool as a cucumber superhuman takes training. We can’t run before we can walk that’s a fact.
So we learn to let go of the minor annoyances, we practice our patience. We cultivate compassion. We take the reigns of that unruly brat of a mind that resides in our heart chakra and we take back control. Because true lasting happiness cannot exist in a mind that isn’t at peace. And maybe If we can learn to master the small stuff then we just might be able to survive the bigger blows with a bit more ease and grace.
The way we are bombarded with information and news of relentless atrocities it’s very hard to not worry. Short of turning off every device and never leaving home I’m not sure how we can avoid it. With such horrific events taking place on our planet it’s almost impossible to not feel a sense of overwhelming despair.
My own family often say to me it’s okay for you you don’t worry you’re calm. Like I woke up one day and was magically free from negativity. I do yoga I meditate I have gong baths I have healing I read extensively about self-improvement. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful.
That’s not to say I don’t love holidays and shopping and meals that I haven’t cooked because I need those treats as much as everybody else. It’s also not to say that I don’t lose the plot from time to time. I’m a work in progress. As a sensitive over thinker I need all the help I can get.
I think we need both, we need treats for the body and treats for the soul.
I think we need to access the free gifts that we were born with, we all need to learn to sit in stillness. We need to learn to meditate. We need to learn to breathe properly so we can self-soothe our nervous systems. We need to learn to let go and switch off that troublesome voice and the news! We need to cultivate calm and peaceful thoughts to find our inner joy. We need to learn what to focus our energy on for our own well-being. We need to learn to raise our vibration.
The reality is good things and bad things happen. We don’t like the bad things. But they happen regardless. Really bad things happen a lot, things break, we get sick, and people die. And yet we act like these things are unjust or unusual, I know I do. I don’t think our fragile hearts are ever quite prepared for loss and pain maybe that’s why we need a strong mind to have its back.
If you would like a treat for the body we have decided to create a range of sweatshirts to remind us all that to be at peace with ourselves and others is the ultimate happiness.
If you would like a treat for the soul, take a quiet moment in stillness, sit comfortably and close your eyes, and breathe in for four breaths and out for four. Reflect on what is most precious to you. Maybe find a meditation class.
Let’s pray for peace, deep breaths
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