Often when I talk about mindfulness I’ll get that certain smile and slight eye roll. If they’re being polite they’ll just think it. On occasion they come right out with one of the biggest myths about mindful meditation.
“So isn’t that just another escape from reality?” And if they are really bold they’ll add, “like drugs, sex and rock and roll. You know, a way to avoid the hard facts of life.”
Ah, yes. This is where I smile too, without the eye roll. I used to think that too. A conservative Veterinarian and a Microbiologist raised me. Not that all people in those fields are like my parents, but let’s just say mindfulness, meditation and yoga were not a part of their upbringing, even as they experienced the 60’s.
I did not discover these practices till I was well along in my life and was in dire straits. I had two toddlers, was running a busy architecture and exhibit design practice with my husband, and had a serious post 911 depression. I was exhausted and open to some new options because I was out of tools to manage the stress in my life.
That is where my eye rolling stopped. Life sure looked easier when I had been the observer of people with families and jobs. This was hard work. The stakes were high. I was now responsible for small people who depended on me, not to mention my employees. Sometime the chaos in my head was overwhelming.
Learning mindfulness meditation saved me. I’m not big on the overly dramatic. But I’m not joking here. We’ve all been there when it just feels like there are many problems and no solutions. You keep trying to think things through and it’s like a maze where you just keep hitting another dead end.
Seeing mindfulness meditation as an escape from reality could not be further from the truth. Mindfulness takes you to the heart of reality, where you get to see how your thoughts shape your perceptions of what you experience. It helps you see how the activities in your mind cause yourself and others pain and suffering, and what motivates you to do what you do. It’s not an escape but a journey within to help you find clarity and help you distinguish what’s real from what you fabricate.
Seems too good to be true. In our crazy fast paced world it’s so easy to begin to believe we do not have the answers and yet we do. Deep inside we can see and know exactly what’s going on and what to do. It’s just taking the time to sit still and having the courage to listen to your own wisdom.
Mindfulness is about paying attention, on purpose in this moment. That simple. And it starts with just sitting still. Those few moments at the beginning and end of the yoga practice are just that. Sitting still. It’s free, available and open to you. Enjoy.
Be well…it’s a state of mind.