When we take a moment to reflect back on the greatest experiences in our life. We will find ourselves meandering, invariably through our childhood. Moments when the only things that mattered were the task at hand. It could be that the fate of the world depended on the sand castle that we were making to defend against an imaginary marauding army of evil invaders or Darth Vader. Or it could be the masterpiece that we were creating with our LEGO collection. It didn’t matter what it was as long as it mattered to us.
When we grow up, we try to create the same experience of thoughtlessness by scaring ourselves. Why do you think that adventure sports like sky diving, bungee jumping, car racing, horror films etc. are such a big business? It is because it is only in those few moments that we are completely there and alive. It is only then that we experience what is called mindfulness.
But what if mindfulness could be achieved by other means. Imagine that feeling of being truly alive and aware being at our beck and call when we choose for it to be there.Just like toddlers are totally immersed in every experience that they come across be it screaming, giggling, laughing, drawing or just looking at the birds from the window. They don’t let what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow come in the way of having fun or just being. They are just free. Even we can unlearn a lot of the world has taught us to go back to a state of mindfulness.
The truth is that we are all conditioned to look at life in a certain way that we need to get the best education to get the best job to buy things? And buying those things will lead us to happiness! Does it? While our introverted mind can be a wondrous place filled with imagination, creativity, and contemplation.
It can also be frightful and filled with worry, self-reproach, and regret. And to imagine 47% of our life is spent thinking, living a life inside of our mind, constantly fast forwarding it to what’s going to happen in the future or replaying what has already happened in the past (often full of regrets).
And all the while, without realising, we’re missing out on the only time that matters — this moment! The past is dead. We can never change it. The future is not promised to anybody. All we ever have is this moment.
So, imagine a life where we are present in each moment, like children do. Think of all the joy we could experience! But some of the simplest things are also the toughest to follow. Many of us have spiritual awakenings, that “a-ha” moment, triggered within, and not necessarily but usually it’s after some form of hitting “rock bottom”. That’s when we realize how much we’ve been missing out by living a self-created unhappy life. It’s about not “wishing” for something or even “wishing away” something, it’s about realising, accepting, experiencing and feeling “where you are”, wherever that might be.
As Mathew Ricard in his TED talk said “We are ready to spend 15 years achieving education. We love to do jogging, fitness. We do all kinds of things to remain beautiful. Yet, we spend surprisingly little time taking care of what matters most — the way our mind functions — which, again, is the ultimate thing that determines the quality of our experience.”
Having said that, for each one of us it works differently. From children to nature to people to literature to meditation to exercise, is there an end to where an inspiration might strike us?