PURSUIT OF CALM #38
 

These days we can all feel a somewhat strong intuitive sense that the future isn’t looking too pretty. Natural disasters, climate change, economic crisis, wars, social and political polarisation all contribute to increasing physical and mental discomfort. These challenges have the potential to either bring out the worst in people or the best in people.

For many it’s because they have a legitimate fear of not having enough, or for others, losing whatever they have. But there would also be those that rise to the occasion, and in doing so, be in a position to help others make it through adversity and hardship.

 

It is up to us how we want to meet the future.
And what will determine how we meet our future is found in how we live and respond to the reality of our day to day.

A simple but effective method to prepare ourselves for whatever the future may hold is by asking ourselves a few questions.
What will I do, how will I respond when the inevitable and unwanted events occur?
Will I, and, how can I, maintain a steady, calm mind and kind heart to be best abled to accommodate whatever pain and annoyance arise? And therefore, benefit myself and those around me, rather than escalating the situation at hand and hindering my own well-being and the well-being of those around me.

Will I react or respond when:
I get ill or experience a devastating loss?
I’m insulted and disrespected?
Facing the unknown but inevitable reality of our our death?
The unwelcome impact of ageing – menopause, frailty, lack of energy and mobility?
Loss of income, or the ever-increasing costs of living?
Or the collapse of our environment, the impact of the covid pandemic lasting for another year or two, or the seemingly lack of common sense in national and global politics?
Will I freak out and react & erupt in fear and resort to behaviours that are detriment to my mind and body?
Or will I have the energy, the strength, the calm that will allow me to proceed soberly, sanely, realistically and humanly?

Will adversity bring out my basest qualities, or will it provide me an opportunity to exhibit and test-drive my very best qualities?
When we start asking and properly digesting these questions, we’re then in a position to start using what comes up in our present lives as a method to better prepare ourselves for the future.
If ‘reality’ is the mirror that reflects our true selves, then we can, from this point on, begin to train ourselves to “respond better” whenever we encounter a difficult, Croc-footed situation.

 

We need to be mindful because the reality is…this is hard and demands a lot of energy. The energy of attention and constant practice – two things we realistically can’t do effectively if we’re fatigued, stressed, chronically distracted or inebriated.

But if we take the better care of ourselves, we’ll then have the physical and mental energy available to us to persevere and improve bit by bit each day.
Overtime, we eventually get to the point where we can get a little
turned-on by the hardships we encounter (speaking from my own experience) because we notice that we tend to curiously & consciously lean into them, rather than simply unconsciously reacting. By doing so, we not only start getting the best possible outcome from the hardship or challenge that is front of us, but we realise that it is in fact the hardships and obstacles that invariable plop in our lap are the very things that we need as lessons to keep us mindful & attentive.
This is both profoundly liberating and empowering – not only for you, but for everyone around you.

This way of living has been referred by various philosophies as the way of the peaceful warrior – a lifestyle strategy that curates and nurtures our inner-resources to move through the world with an altruistic, compassionate, resilient mind and heart.

Look at life as not something that is constantly trying to beat us up,

but it’s sole purpose to keep us on our toes.

 

Whatever the future presents us with – wanted or unwanted – we can choose to either respond or react – ‘responding’ fosters our potential to continue to develop the courage we all need to face the ever-changing, beautifully complicated reality in front of us. We then have the opportunity to go from having a tiny, blinkered reactive view of ourselves and our immediate world, to nurturing a mind and an outlook that is vital & optimistic – two resources that will be of great benefit to us, our family, friends and community at large.

Being truly realistic consists in revealing the surprising, and often confronting things (truths), which our habits of escape keep us distracted from seeing.
(a slightly ‘massaged’ quote from Jean Cocteau)

 


 

[Referenced and inspired by Pema Chödrön’s book Welcoming The Unwelcome]

Next: Lifestyle strategies that curates and nurtures our inner-resources

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Calm & Vitality
Luke