It’s easy to have faith when all is going well, isn’t it?
The sun is shining. My day moves smoothly from coffee with a friend to reading or weeding in my yard…either is as good as the other… and then the trials come (this year it is health issues). Worry and concern move into gear.
What should I be doing? What if the doctor is wrong? Why am I not getting better? What should I be doing?
Around and around.
It isn’t so much concern over the prognosis. And it isn’t just the question of what path to follow toward wholeness, I get totally involved in micromanaging medical issues which are far beyond knowledge and expertise – no matter how much I listen to advice and read. It all raises an additional question of where to place my faith.
My meditation becomes rife with mind chatter. In some cases I can’t even get to the garden variety menu planning as I sit, visibly calm, invisibly on the high wire. I perserverate on what I will say, what I will do, what I should remember, and what is the worst-case scenario.
It’s always “worst case” in the middle of the night.
That’s why I loved a recent Super Soul Sunday interview between Oprah and Jon Kabat-Zinn*. It brought me back to mindfulness of what I have right now. I don’t know why I always need the reminder that this moment is all that I ever have, but I’m grateful each time I get the nudge.
His additional message was to trust those who I have engaged to take care of my health. Then I can use my energy to stay calm and do the best for myself without worrying about their process. I needed that!
I can have faith in the process of life and living each moment of it.
*A pioneer in the field of mindfulness for stress reduction and health benefits.
Monks from Gongkar Chödey Monastery perform a ritual Cham dance welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama to an elaborate Long Life Prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 4, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Social media has provided me with a moving account from my son and daughter as they encountered His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Dharmasala, India during the Long Life Offering Ceremony in his honor on March 4, 2015. I have chills as I sit in my living room in Souhern Oregon and live it in my mind’s eye.
The most striking thing about being in India for this ceremony was not the rich color and panoply of Tibetan costumes. It wasn’t the devotion of the monks or of his followers. It was his presence.
My son and daughter had the privilege to be in the presence of true presence. They described his prayerful demeanor as he truly looked into the eyes of those within is vision. Tears filled the eyes of my children and of others who were affected by the absolute soul attention of a man whose message is that one shoo be with each moment in life.
When I heard their account and shivered with the impact I wondered at the impact that each of us can have if we practice being present in a profound way. What change could we facilitate if we met even five people each day in this way – if we could hold to this path for a fraction of our time.
This reminds me that my presence in my meditation is not all that is required.
Martha Beck always inspires me. Today on my walk she gave me some phrases to watch for in my daily life.*
I am dismayed by how many times I use the self-limiting words, “I have to,” and “I can’t” when I am actually living my own choices. Not even counting the times I say or think, “Yes, but…”?
Like the cartoon she cites of a man holding bars up to his own face with wide-open space behind him, I sometimes create my own prison. I make decisions about how I “should” act and what I “should” do based on old habits, old needs, and fear of change, when actually I have the privilege of living a life of love and freedom without confining myself in an imaginary structure.
I am a wife whose husband encourages me to live my best life. I am a mother and grandmother who has long ago fulfilled all duties but those of love and support. I am a friend of men and women who live their lives thoughtfully and with intention.
If I am led astray from the path to my own North Star it is only by my thinking…thinking…thinking…
*This time I am listening to “Follow Your North Star” on Audible.