Choosing Mindfulness

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees  it.”    Confucius

“Consideration for others is the basis of a good life.”    Confucius

“Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge”    Confucius

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”    Seneca

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”    Seneca

How many of us are living with fear and doubt, and rushing through our lives with total unawareness? I can’t be the only one. It appears to me that with all of the paraphernalia surrounding our lives, we are constantly absorbed in cleaning it up. We rush through our projects good and bad, and consider it a good day when we complete more than we expected. Allowing time for our emotional selves as well as our spiritual selves takes a backseat.

Our lives are based on earning a living, raising kids and having some time left for fun. Trouble is we spend most of our free time worrying about what we didn’t get accomplished. Has anyone ever lay awake at night remembering conversations that went all wrong, and interactions that were taken the wrong way by others? Do  you keep recalling the things you didn’t get done that day? You then spend so much time before falling asleep, rethinking how you might have changed things, or avoided some pitfalls. At times it costs us a loss of sleep, and worry beyond compare.

As I reflected more, I came to the realization that I spent little time on soul-searching and soul growth. Of course at church services we hear it often said that we must think about our souls growth and work n it. Most of us perhaps are not even sure what the minister means. We show up at services so we believe we are covered. I am sure that most of us look at this as going to church and spending that time each week, reviewing our souls and their growth.  Perhaps our church guides have dropped the ball in how they guide us. So many are afraid of losing their parishioners to the point of adhering to pointless rules and obligations. Likely they are forgetting to pay attention to what counts in life.

Running the committee may not be as important as administering to a neighbor in need. I think of the term mindfulness when I reflect on any religion. Are we mindful of what we are doing and where we are going? Most people live for the day never recalling any purpose or reason. I suppose when one spends so much time on the rules of a game, they forget to leave time to play the game. I see our lives in this direction.

All the extraneous distractions allot us little time to think about anything beyond this existence. Yet we bury or cremate our dead and send them off to, we are not sure where. If any of us honestly believes in an afterlife, isn’t it time we put some thought into our soul’s well-being? Maybe what we chase in this  world is limited and confining. It ends quickly and many times  causes distress of all kinds before it does. Money, fame fortune education never seems to cut it forever.

We chase after the next dream. We breathe a sigh of relief, when we manage to get our kids through each grade. We work with them on homework, and worry about tests, report cards and college. When the kids are teens and older we endure tremendous anxiety over their choices in friends, spouses, hurts, work loads and their levels of stress. It never ends.

In all of this we never consider the fact that perhaps we are not preparing our lives nor our children’s lives for the real purpose in living in a mindfulness state. Instead we choose to worry about truly non-essential items. Likely we can teach our kids the importance of learning how to manage disappointment,  engage in tolerance and empathy, and extend acceptance and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. It ensures an easier life for our kids, to live lives in cooperation, serenity and peace.

Maybe by encouraging kids to downplay certain happenings, it will allow them time to pay better attention to life in general. They might have a genuine involvement with others without using restrictions and guilt to make people stay in line. Forgiveness is perhaps something we all require on a daily basis from a variety of people. If we get so caught up in our own self-righteousness, we only see the faults in others but not within ourselves. We are more mindful when we can see our own blame as well as the faults of others.

It isn’t about blame, fault, money, prestige, accomplishments, education or anything else, in this material world, that we can think of. It is about enriching our souls and becoming a better individual. Perhaps individual is not the term to use. Life has more to do with encircling others and connecting with all people. We share similar dreams, and ideas. We have many of the same issues and problems in life. Our focus has just changed.

We perhaps lost our compass and flounder in this world trying to make sense of it, at the cost of ignoring our soul’s needs. As silly as it sounds, deep down we are all aware that we are so much more than our bodies. Our five senses bring us into alignment with the world. Our intuition and spirit brings us into alignment with our souls. If we allow ourselves the time to consider who and what we are, likely we will find a treasure beyond belief. The measurement of a man’s worth may have more to do with his qualities of empathy, caring, loving, tolerance, forgiveness and most definitely one’s mindfulness of self as well as others.

We judge each other by man-made standards and worldly accomplishment. We encourage our children to follow the rules of the world and society. Nobody questions these guides and the tremendous burdens they place on each and every one of us. Bigger always seems to be better and more appears to outweigh less. Power force and control are envied as are the winners. We never doubt the winner and barely acknowledge the loser.

How much harder it is to sacrifice from lack of money, lack of family, and loss of health and a number of other situations. Many people never have any power or control. Winning is something that does not cross one’s mind in this situation. In these situations, perhaps we tend to reflect more on our dilemma, and then on our will to fight and survive the odds. We might even be quicker to support others because we can empathize and relate to their predicaments. None of us want problems including myself. However when we are dealt any difficulty that needs attention to  overcome, we grow much bigger and stronger spiritually. Life’s problems crush us for sure but the stamina to deal with them head-on takes a lot of courage and love.

I am believing that it might be time to teach our kids the value in learning how to tolerate, collaborate, co-operate, support, empathize and be mindful of others. We have left these out of the curriculum. It is time to reinstate them. This learning results in soul growth, as much as math science and reading result in material growth for the individual. We obviously have not changed our ability to fight wars but only the methods we use. Peace is attained with boasts of power. Thumbing this down to the individual, we can observe the bully and his methods of power and control. This is not pointing a finger at any one person or country as we are all guilty. It justifiably should make us question what we actually are striving towards.

Parents have the power to change the world through what they teach their children. It might seem ludicrous but all of us can make a difference. The least among us with a voice, has the potential to change the world. By seeing our lives as relevant at all ages, perhaps we will value our own and the lives of others. Everything in this world is fleeting. We would all agree. Now it is time to view what our existence in it means. Just as we concern ourselves with the worldly necessities for our kids, it is time to also put as much or more effort into the spiritual lives of our children. It is there that we find peace and harmony.

“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied, in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining?”    Seneca

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”    James Baraz

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”     Henry Miller

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”  Carl Jung

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