Having been fortunate to go through the ups and downs of early adulthood with meditation, mindfulness and philosophy as a companion, I have literally grown with my practice. It has fallen into the gaps as fear, anxiety and anguish have threatened, and it has sweetened the best of moments to an unimaginable degree. However, I remain an incredibly flawed, fragile and often unconscious person. I have predominantly approached my practice with the view of ‘getting better’, a filling of the cracks - a sharpening of the mind and an exploration of the soul, with the hope to conquer each and every aspect of my being, to embody the self-leadership that is my passion. While I suspect that this combative approach has major drawbacks, it appears to be the way I am wired and I long ago made the decision to work within this framework.
You may imagine then, how excruciating it is when my most beloved tools appear to fail me in times of need. A drifting from presence, hindsight revealing extremely self-centred thinking or a complete lack of empathy and awareness hang over me like a thundercloud, almost mocking me. What then, have I been training for? Where are the fruits of my labour… were the hundreds of hours spent in contemplation all for nought? Do I even deserve to speak of concepts such as peace, tranquillity, honour and love?
Through all this doubt, and the attempt to pick a path, one aspect of my practice resonates with me beyond all else - no matter what, each breath and each new moment is a fresh chance to forge a path that may have, at another time, seemed utterly impossible. Sitting in meditation and watching thoughts come and go, one gets a sense of the present moment. The links we create to both the past and the future are merely strands of thought. If you speak the right words, these links can smoothly unravel, leaving you to face the present with strength and clarity. Essentially, the only thing keeping us from the fresh start that time itself so graciously provides, are the ties we create in our minds. Liberation of the highest order is attainable each moment, with one’s attention in the right place.
Suddenly, my mistakes seem less mocking, less abrasive. They are now memories I must learn from and improve upon. While the pain remains, I am able to face the present with a sense of purpose and possibility, and for that I will be forever grateful to my practice and my exploration. This then, is my hope for all that come into our sphere, even for the briefest of times –if all else is forgotten, we may remember that we start again each moment. Respect this, and honour it, and even the mountains we never thought could move will begin to crumble under the force of our will.