Recognizing the challenges and possibilities
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” – Thomas Merton
Our minds’ habit is to try to grasp for certainty even while we live in a world that’s constantly changing. When things are in flux, whether with what’s going on in our day or at a particular time of our life, we tend to want to know what’s going to happen. Our mind seems tuned to wanting to know the future, even though we just can’t know. Though we can have probable projections about the future, there’s no way to know for certain. Our mind, especially triggered by emotions, often ignores this fundamental reality and dwells on trying to picture what will happen. This tendency of the mind is one of the ways we get trapped in rumination and most importantly, it robs us of being present in our lives. Our mind pictures a possible, but certainly unsure outcome, and that imagined outcome can trigger even stronger emotions of excitement or worry, elation or fear, and begin us down the imagined path of something that hasn’t even taken place.
With mindfulness, we can be aware of this tendency as it happens and we can remind ourselves these potential events may or may not come to pass in the way we imagine, but either way, they are not in this moment and they need not rob us of engaging fully in our lives today. Expanding our awareness in this moment, we can bring attention to our current condition, one usually filled with support, resources and opportunities that go unnoticed.
With mindful presence, we can begin to observe our mind’s antics, and step back from them. We can make a healthier choice, recognizing that we can’t know the future, but we can act in the now. Rather than dwelling on what has not taken place, we can place our attention on what is, helping us to become more fully aware of reality, with its real possibilities, or perhaps real challenges, that we can address. By living in this way, it helps us to know and embrace the present reality, and take real steps to improve our lives, as well as the lives we touch. It also helps us to step out of the mental habit of worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet and become more proactively solution oriented.
Activity – I invite you to embrace the current moments of your life and embrace the possibilities and challenges. If you notice your mind worrying about potential future events that you have no control over, acknowledge and label it “just worry” and bring your awareness back to the present moment. Do this as often as possible. In the reality of now and ask yourself what is the healthiest way for me to engage in my life today? – John Bruna
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.
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