How To Make A Complicated Life Simple
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Spending time in nature just might have saved my life. My father, Richard North, died in a Navy jet test flight crash when I was six years old. Fifteen months after his death, my mother, Helen Read
As soon as my eyes opened this morning, I remembered that I wished to be present. I took several breaths, allowing myself to experience that I was inhaling and exhaling. Seeing what a solid foundation this put me on for continuing my day, I felt grateful, and I thought back to how life used to be for me.
More often than not, I was assailed by a feeling that there was never enough time to accomplish everything I wanted to do. Even when I was up very early, my mind used to race from chore to project to errand, and my anxiety level climbed in relation to each thought that became an addition to my list. I often felt that life was being unfair to me, and that there was something fundamentally wrong with my circumstances.
Coming back to my life since the Nine Principles of Harmony became touchstones for me, I thought of the principle Single Moment/Single Activity and how much it has helped me.
My mind used to be locked into its assessment of my situation, and the suffering that perspective carried with it. But another part of me questioned that — at first timidly. “Why not? Just try it for one second.” I was kneeling on a rug in front of my computer, which sits on a low coffee table. I closed my eyes and inhaled, wishing to experience the posture my body was in. I exhaled, trying to stay with it. I experienced a glimmer of relief from my anxious mindset.
I opened my eyes and took another breath. I began to recognize some “new” facts — I was sitting in my living room. No one was forcing me to hurry, and nothing bad was happening. I began to see that my anxious thoughts and my undesirable emotional reaction to them were not necessarily the reality of things.
Rather than struggling against those thoughts, or identifying with them as if they were always true, I could just move away from blind identification with them. And the simplest step that could connect me to something actual, something real, was to connect to my body, by making myself available to experience its breathing, its weight, or its posture. Continuing with this, I became more present. Instead of feeling like a victim of my own schedule, I could play a more active part in how I experience my life.
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To learn more about meditation, check out our video course The Essential Guide To Meditation.
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