A few weeks ago, I shared a new meditation app, Waking up, a new meditation app that I’ve been using. In addition to daily meditations and thoughtful preambles, I’ve received a few emails from Sam Harris, author and creator of this app. I’ll be honest, I don’t read them all. I’m not great at that. But I did read the one that showed up yesterday, titled The Practice.
Here are the two paragraphs that made me sit up and take notice:
The great power of mindfulness is that it can reveal a sense of well-being that is intrinsic to simply being conscious in each moment. This is a deeper discovery than finding “meaning” in one’s life, though it is entirely compatible with it.
Through mindfulness, we can discover that whatever we may seek to accomplish in life, we can never truly become happy. We can only be happy.
While it’s entirely obvious that this moment is all there is, we spend most of our waking and even our sleeping lives in the past or the future.
I had the unique opportunity recently to take my own advice from last week’s blog. I found myself at a large event where I knew almost no one, and where I was a peripheral participant. The folks I knew all had a larger part in this event so I knew I couldn’t count on them to bolster me. I've become very aware in recent years that I simply don’t thrive in these scenarios, unless I just plant a chair next to the food and act like I’m in a receiving line.
At any rate, there I was, basically stewing in my own discomfort and confirming mentally how much I don’t like this type of situation, when I glanced over the crowd and saw my grandson, the littlest guru. And I remembered - I GET to be here. I get to help celebrate the life of this person whom I didn’t know. I GET to be here for my family. I GET to be here on this perfect autumn afternoon in Vermont and witness the observances of his friends. Their love, their grief. Their laughter and their tears.
I saw my little guru and woke up to where I really was in that moment - at a lovely remembrance of a man who died a little too early and was well loved and influenced many. Suddenly, I was able to be in the present moment. I wasn’t thinking about the hour I would be in the car on the way back. I wasn’t thinking about the time I wouldn’t have in my own home. I woke up and was really there, as Joe Dispenza says, in the generous present moment.
That brings me back to the email from The Waking Up app. When I saw the line that mindfulness can reveal a sense of well-being that is intrinsic to simply being conscious in each moment, I remembered that moment this weekend. Everything shifted for me when I let go of the next thing, and the rest of my day.
Instead, I fell a little bit in love with this man, his family and his friends. I helped myself to three of his books, including Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (which I never have read), What makes you NOT a Buddhist, and Fifty Hikes in Vermont. I hope that as I read these books, I’ll be reminded of the moment that I woke up for a little while.
In closing, I’d like to share with you some relevant information about Sam Harris. He has several podcasts, and I believe that they do not have advertising, so they are not free. That being said, he is a very intelligent person and worth spending time with. One podcast is Making Sense where he looks at and discusses world events, and how to integrate them into our lives. Then there’s Absolutely Mental l with Ricky Gervais and Sam Harris. Together they explore science and morality and laughter ensues. And of course, there’s the Waking Up conversations.
At Perfect Avocado Retreats, we’re about slowing things down in our lives so that we can have the reactions we really want to the circumstances in our lives, not unlike my moment at this lovely memorial service. If that sounds interesting to you, think about joining us in Costa Rica this May.