I wonder how many of us would class ourselves as just ‘getting by’. We’re not really happy, but we have good days and some less good ones. But real happiness seems to be out of reach. Maybe we long for that perfect career or maybe retirement. Maybe we want more money or a role in life that brings us the respect of our peers.
It’s easy to get jealous and look at others who appear to have more. Our consumer society doesn’t do much to help. If you’re not happy it’s because you don’t have the right ‘stuff’. You need a better car, a new phone, the latest tablet PC, faster internet, longer eyelashes.
By the time you have the ‘next big thing’ and realise you’re still not that happy, the new ‘next big thing’ will be out soon and someone is trying hard to sell it. And when we can take no more of new stuff we have so many ways of switching off: TV, laptops, movies, drugs, alcohol, music or just crash out on the bed.
I wonder how many of us have found ourselves in the self-help aisle of the book shop looking for something to give us some inspiration – a clue how to make sense of all this; just something that will help us to understand what the purpose of it all might be, and what our place in it might be. There are so many self-help books selling us some dream or other.
I wonder how often we take the time to look around us as what’s really there. Can you take pleasure in the flight of an insect, the sunlight dappled through the leaves, the smell of fresh cut grass, a simple breath of clean fresh air? If you can’t take pleasure in these and many other simple things then what makes you think you’ll find it in all the complex things we create?
Sometimes we become so immersed in the narrative of life, the fourth layer, that we forget we created it and continue to create it. If we can simply learn to simply be and put all our trust with an open heart in the living moment without trying to create anything out of it, we can find a peace and a joy that is truly refreshing.
So here’s a suggestion or perhaps a recommendation. Try and stay in the moment with no addition of thought as often as you can each day. Don’t worry about how long you can sustain it, it’s how often you manage it that counts for more at first.
So when you walk, just walk, let your attention focus softly on your breathing as a way to access the present. If your thoughts drift to that email you have to write or that conversation you’ll have later, just remind yourself, and bring yourself back to the present.
Try to learn to give yourself to the moment with a full heart expecting nothing from it and creating nothing beyond it. Be patient with yourself and try to enjoy it. You’ll know you’re making progress when the sort of simple joy that you haven’t felt since childhood starts to enter your heart. Use that as your guide and keep practicing.
I suggest that this may help to give you a little more freedom and a little more space so you don’t feel all of those little ‘issues’ you have to deal with are pressing in quite so close. Try it.