I was jogging today, and I had moments where I felt a true expansion, a connection to the rest of the world, or at least to the sky above me. The moments were fleeting but real, and distracted from my ego, which fights for attention some days, the moments left me with a sense of peace.
I’ve often wondered if I can truly meditate while jogging. After all, to meditate, you are supposed to sit, breathe, be in a quiet place, and empty your mind of all thoughts. I know that when I jog, my mind has an opportunity to settle, to clear of my daily to-dos, frustrations, and chatter, it is then that I have moments of emptiness. It is then that my mind has an opportunity to feel peace, to feel silence, to notice the expanse of earth we are on.
It is then that my mind can create. And today, the question came, “how can we become enlightened beings, at one with each other, when our daily lives continue at their normal frenetic pace, when horns honk, children bicker, and one more hit of the snooze button cause us to be late?” I want to believe that we all want peaceful, fulfilling lives, but our definition of ‘peace’ and ‘fulfillment’ may be different to each one of us. I also believe that we are learning, growing and becoming more universally conscious at different rates, and it is not up to one of us to tell another that they are too slow, too fast, or moving in the wrong direction. We each have our paths… sometimes they meet, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they clash.
I’ve struggled with that question for years. As a mother with a 4 and a 6 year old, I often wonder how I can maintain my own sense of peace, lack of ego and serenity when I’m telling one child to stop hitting the other. I try to stay in the moment. When I do, I can often see the moment leading up to the hit, and preempt, distract or redirect. I’ve decided it’s ok to give myself a pat on the back when I perform a stellar “mom” move like that, even if it is to boost my ego. Since my ego hasn’t managed to stay out of the way for all difficulties, so as to give my consciousness free space to be in the moment, reward is temporarily a good thing.
But how can I more frequently bring in that sense of peace in my daily, very real life? I don’t have all the answers yet, but I do know that giving moments to calm, to observation, to stillness does help.
What I mean by this, is that, though all my training says to take 20 minutes to an hour or more to meditate and be still, my real life tells me that this isn’t frequently possible. So while I am trying to become enlightened, I have an additional battle going on within myself that says I’m not giving enough time to my process of enlightenment. Creating battles in order to reduce them… perhaps that’s one way of going about becoming enlightened, but I’m not sure I want to go that way. Instead I’ve decided I want to look for ways to bring those moments into my daily life, at frequent intervals throughout the day.
Some days, I find those moments harder to find than others. But there are days that I can create them. Those are often on days where I make time to take a break and have a healthy lunch, where I sit and read while I drink tea, or when I make time to go for a short jog. Those days also occur when I make concessions with my children.
I received a Zen garden from my sister-in-law for Christmas. She hand made it. It is lovely and just the thing I want. However, given that it is full of sand, rocks and shells, it is also something my children find lovely and just what they want. I could hide it away and keep it for my own zen moments, but I’ve decided I would share it with them. The only rule: they must ask me before then start changing the pattern in the garden. Of course, I have yet to say no, but it gives them a certain respect for something that is not theirs, and gives me some opportunity to use it as and when I need. It also gives me those small moments throughout the day to stop, be still and observe. I can observe what I am designing (which may only take 30 seconds), or I can observe what one of my children are designing. Either way, it is a meditative moment. It is a moment where frustrations and to-dos are put aside (hopefully I can do this for 30 seconds) and where, sometimes, I feel a connection to the rest of the world.
I’d like to think my children feel these moments as well.
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