Today my colleague and I are excited to start another Koru Meditation group for the students here at the Sac Sacramento State! The group is a 4 week semi-structured meditation class that meets 1x a week for 75 minutes. During the first group we get the option to open the class with a reading or a quote. Today I chose the story below and wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy!
Are Your Mind and Body in the Same Place?
by Dennis Merritt Jones, The Art of Being: 101 Was to Practice Purpose in Your Life
Our most basic assumption is that we are the way we see ourselves and the world is the way we see it. We are taught to believe life should be a certain way and we should be a certain way. When it isn’t and we aren’t, we assume there’s something wrong and something should be done to fix things. Suffering happens when we want to life to be other than the way it is. –Cheri Huber
It was 1:30 P.M. as I sat in my car on the freeway at a dead standstill. The traffic hadn’t moved fifty feet in the previous twenty minutes. Thoughts were racing through my mind, such as “It’s not supposed to be this way on the freeway at one thirty in the afternoon. Where did all these people come from, and why aren’t they at work or at home where they should be?” I was really becoming a participant in the drama when suddenly, like a Greyhound bus in the fast lane, a phrase I read in a book by the mystic Ram Dass came roaring through my head: “Be. here. now.” Give the awareness that I really had no other choice, I started laughing so hard I’m sure my fellow gridlocked sojourners must have thought that I’d finally lost it. I had caught myself red-handed, failing to practice what I preach. It was a delicious moment in which I was reminded of where my inner peace and power lie- within, not on the freeway only when the conditions are just as I think they should be.
The realization I had was that my mind wanted my body to be someplace other than where it was at the instant, and I was suffering because of it. What a liberating moment that was for me. Nothing had to change but my perspective and I was totally at peace, actually enjoying the moment, sitting in the fast lane on the freeway doing two miles per hour. Would worrying that I would be late for my appointment move traffic along any quicker? Of course not! I suspect most of us have been caught in similar conditions and have become victims of a mind-set that simply can’t accept things the way they are. They’re not the way they’re “supposed to be”; we simply didn’t plan on having something happen the way it did, and so on.
In the East, there is a well-known saying that contains great wisdom: “Pain in life is a given, but suffering is a choice.” Truly, suffering happens when we want life to be other than the way it is in the moment. This is not to say that there aren’t times when it would be preferable able to have some things different than they are. In those times, when possible, we need to be able and willing to take appropriate action or cease fretting about it. But think about it: In many circumstances, such as mine on the freeway, we make the assumption that there is something wrong. Question: Where was wrong taking place- on the freeway or in my mind? Clearly, I had no control over the tens of thousands of cars on the freeway, and making it wrong for the freeway to be gridlocked was a choice I made, based on my assumption that it should have been different than it was at that moment in time. The secret to inner peace is being present enough in every moment to witness how we see the world and ourselves and, accordingly, where we place our power. Think about this the next time you are on the freeway, zooming along in the fast lane two miles per hour. Be. here. now!
Be reminded that irrespective of circumstances, while you can’t always change things, you can change how you choose to experience them.
Have a wonderfully mindful day Geniuses!