Monday, September 29, 2008

Equanimity within a sea of turmoil

"True peace is not indifference or emotional resignation; it is the still point, the living reality of the present." Jack Kornfield, PhD, The Wise Heart

This last week has felt like we have all been on a communal financial roller coaster. America in its insistence upon increase, greed, and consumerism, has strayed far from its roots in the values of simple human kindness, caring, and sharing.

So many moments I have found myself feeling fearful and uncertain about the future. And each of those moments have been an invitation to use my mindfulness practice. Whenever I notice my mind becoming gripped with strong emotions, this is the time to find my center in the here and now by drawing awareness to my next breath and fully, completely, enjoying the experience of breathing. Once I find myself in the present, my mind can release itself from the fear of the future, realizing this is a future of its own creation, not what is real in the here and now.

This process of finding oneself in the present is not about banishing distressful emotions. Quite the contrary. It is a fully mindful, compassionate embrace of experience as it actually is, not what the mind fears it is. This is the peace of mind Jack refers to as the "still point within the living reality of the present." How I truly am is my embodied now experience: not my mental ideation about the past or future I am experiencing in the now. A mind that is not present will hold onto regret, sadness, fear, and uncertainty, creating a narrative about it that feels very real. Yet what a straying mind misses is the awareness of self and body, here and now.

Within the turmoil and worry about personal/communal financial well-being is a continuum of still points in each successive moment. We can all have access to the stillness whenever we wish, by noticing where the mind is and bringing back to the reality of the here and now. Even if your here and now experience is full of the recognition of loss, your mind is still capable of finding freedom from suffering through the recognition of the beauty of the living moment just as it is. This is my wish for us all as we surf these next days of uncertainty.

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