From misery, sickness, depression and deathbed to complete health, happiness and prosperity was what Lester Levenson spoke about when he introduced the Sedona method to the world it wasn’t some alien theory or ideology but it was what he had practiced and mastered. Since then Masters and teachers have been many but to me it was a practice of age old wisdom a fundamental fact of life. A simple truth when we hang on to the past and never let go of those emotions, when we worry about the future and try to control everything around us in order to achieve our goals much of our energy is lost. The Sedona method is all about releasing these stored emotions so we can fill our lives with vitality, joy and abundance.
To me this all came together in a single zen story where a Buddhist monk and his student was walking along the road when came upon a young and beautiful woman trying to cross the river unable to do it by herself she asked the monks if they could help. Having taken vows never to touch a woman the monks looked at each other without a word.
At this point the senior monk carried the beautiful young woman on his back walked to the other side of the river and placed her gently on the bank returned and carried on with their journey. a few hours passed in silence and the student asked his teacher with great concern ‘we have taken vows not to touch a woman but you carried the woman across the river aren’t you going against your vows.’ To which the monk replied ‘I left the young woman on the bank of the river and walked away, but it seems like you are still carrying the woman on your shoulders.’ The lesson is profound when we carry our emotions from past incidents around with us we lose the opportunity to be the best of us in the present moment. When we let go release and surrender to loving wholeness we learn to live in the present and enjoy the abundance of that moment.
And in our goal oriented lives where success is measured by our achieving goals by material success. We are constantly trying to control the future, ensure safety and lose the current moment to worrying about the future or day dreaming. There is great wisdom in the simple words of a song we learn as kids and has remained so through the ages and it goes like this;
“Que Sera Sera what ever will be, will be. The future’s not asked to see Ques Sera Sera what will be will.”
When we release our want of control, approval and safety we begin to live in the moment enjoying our wholeness. We do what ever we can in the present moment to achieve meaning and purpose. We become fluid and flexible like liquid to be able to take the shape of the utensil that the universe wants us to fit in to at this very moment. Not grudgingly but with loving kindness so that we become a source of light and not darkness. It’s being mindful of the moment and it’s needs but not it’s wants.
Releasing all those pent up emotions and living in this present moment is the only path to success. There is never a lack what I need right now I have, what I need tomorrow I don’t know but my guess is when tomorrow comes I will have what I need. So practice mindfulness and release those emotions and that will make life best for me.
What better way to see a friend off than to sit down and chat with each other face to face over a cup of steaming hot coffee, watermelon juice, club sandwich and fries. No selfies, no taking food photos just talking of anything and everything. It was in that moment I realised that this truly was life it was enjoying the moment. Our phones lay on the table but neither of us were interested in it we just enjoyed that moment of peace and tranquility. We were being mindful of the moments and technology was ever present but we chose to be different we chose to be mindful and be present for each other.
And upon reflection I realised while the world blames technology not taking into account that it is man who invented technology and technology does not control us instead we use technology mindlessly and thus seem to be controlled by it. I am a great fan of technology so don’t get me wrong it isn’t technology it is the user.
On a recent cab ride the driver kept getting text messages and on the sly he would keep looking at them while driving. He must have assumed that I could not see. But how mistaken he was cause I could see what he was doing. It was easy I was present and thus I was able to tell him that as I was paying for the trip I expect him to be focused on driving not texting. I don’t think he felt that great about my request but that wasn’t my problem I wanted him to be mindful of his driving. Many are the times that we hear of people meeting with accidents and even losing their lives because they are so pre – occupied with their communication devices while walking. When such things happen there is such a hew and cry about it but after the event but once the initial shock is over people and policy makers go back to the same mindless life styles until it happens again. This cycle continues and we blame it on technology, not the fact that we are on auto pilot and fear that if we are not connected all of the time a world changing event would happen and we would miss out on it. The fear that our posts and comments might be already too old.
I was asked why my notifications were turned off on most of social media and why I don’t have Facebook on my phone I could miss out on so much by doing that? My response to that is simple I like focus and dislike it broken every few minutes because I just had a notification on one of the many communication apps we sport on our communication device. And anyway I am not the center of the universe and whether I comment or not the world will go on world change will happen so why is there a need to forego my focus and results just to be seen and heard. And the most thing I have come to realise is that one day I won’t be on social media anymore and yet the world will go on. The simple truth is if it so wildly important and urgent call me and if you are sitting in the same office or home walk over and talk to each other. How hard is that and it is less time consuming and more real.
Living life requires living every single moment and what better way to do that than being present in the moment you have got and make the best of it. In order to get the best out of this moment and focusing on one task at a time and avoiding cognitive bottlenecks of multi – tasking. One moment at a time one task at a time will make a meaningful life. Technology is a great ally as long as we are in command of it and that can only happen when we are mindful.
The amazing story that was shared by one of my mentors has been an insight into mindfulness and I decided to start my article with that story. Once there was a learned professor who thought he was the most intelligent person alive. And thus he was full of himself. But one day someone told him that in the forest lived a hermit and he was known to be the most intelligent man in the world. the professor was over whelmed with ego that he wanted to go meet the hermit. finally arriving at the hermitage he finds the hermit pouring tea from the tea pot to a cup. the professor seeing the hermit announcers his arrival with pride but the hermit continues to pour tea and ignore the professor. The professor re announces his arrival to which the hermit says nothing but continues to pour tea. The cup fills to the brim and then begins to overflow and the professor quite irritated by the lack of attention and seeing the cup overflowing retorts back in harsh words
“How can you be the most intelligent man in the world if you can’t even se the cup overflowing”
To which the hermit has a calm response “your mind is like the overflowing cup, you are so full of ego and yourself that you mind is like this overflowing cup, nothing stays in it all flows out. So I see no purpose in talking to you”.
The professor was ashamed of his ego and was humbled by the act of the hermit. Which enabled him to have a meaningful conversation with the hermit.
Some people like bird watching as much as I am intrigued by birds I am also find observing humans and their behaviour intriguing. The human being does not know how to be anymore, instead they have to keep doing. It’s almost st being might bring disastrous consequences. Therefore nothing any longer in a being perspective but from a doing perspective. Being home resting and relaxing on a sunday would not be seen as acceptable. Instead it’s presumed that you have to do something that seems exciting and post it on social media. To prove that you are a human doing that you have no time to slow down that you are keeping up with the latest trends, the latest cafe, the latest movie, the latest street food joint, the newest pub or restaurant.
In this rush to do, all we we achieve is an over crowded cluttered mind. Thus full mind robbing us off our capacity to experience the moment just like the over flowing cup we lose that experience is lost to us. The bible says that God rested on the seventh day from creation. I makes me wonder if God rested on the seventh day why we human beings have to keep doing on all seven days of the week never giving ourselves an opportunity to empty our overflowing cup and prepare for a new week of mindful living. In my world work is also apart of mindful living.
Recently reading an amazing book called the “Art of Mindful Walking”by Adam Ford a very interesting and profound preaching of the Lord Buddha caught my eye and it said ” when walking walk, when standing stand, when sitting sit, when lying down, lie down”. In this simple statement we find that rushing off to multi task and achieve too many things we become like the overflowing cup losing out on the full experience to the point that we have not achieved anything to the expected level of achievement.
The secret of mindful living is to de-clutter the mind focus on one thing at a time and present for the complete experience. Be alert and aware of your self, those around you and the context in which the experience takes place. This is true not just for work but it is true for every life situation. Empty mind helps you have a mindful experience.
My stay in Mannar is over and I need to get back to the city of Colombo where I live. This trip has thought me much, I have come to take for granted is a luxury for people who live in this city. I have booked my train online through my communication service provider and I have to travel 90 minutes through a bus that does not have air conditioning all there is, is open windows, salty wind which brings the dust of the dry arid weather only to reach the station to be told that they are not online and therefore they have to call another station to get down my train ticket. I gasp in disbelief and for a moment I am frozen, a few kind words and the typical lost damsel act get’s the staff into action to get the ticket down for me but my struggle isn’t still over cause karma has his own plans. The station master comes back to the ticket counter to let me know that even though the ticket is here the train is delayed by 3 hours. I gasp in horror. this couldn’t be happening it’s not real and yet the mindfulness springs in to action with my two favourite questions.
Can I change the situation? Absolutely not as it a problem that cannot be fixed by me it comes from the circle of concern and nothing to do with the circle of influence.
The second question. How can I take better care of myself right now? I now need to figure out how to get out of this city to my home. So my mind springs to action and I tell myself I can do it and I will do it. even though I still don’t know how I will do it. So with a possibility attitude I spring in to action. A quick call to a friend based in Mannar reveals my best options a short tuk ride to the bus stop should get me on a cozy luxury bus to Colombo. But Karma had many more tricks up the sleeve 30 minutes later there are no luxury buses in sight. Now my next move I have to travel to next big town of Anuradhapura and ancient city rich in culture and heritage. So I jump my second non – air conditioned bus and land there only to find that the luxury bus due to leave at 2.30pm had already left and the next is due at 4.00pm. My choice is to stay almost 2 hours or I can hop another regular bus and off I am on another adventure the only comfort is an open window and the dusty wind. I would have normally blown a fuse or two and groaned and complained about how unfair life is. And yet being mindfulness is helping me enjoy the journey. I absorb the beauty, the simplicity, and the serenity of the surroundings. The opportunity to see the wild elephant injured in a the water hole and the avid discussions and the curiosity of human even though they are adults. The acceptance of my current situation has enabled me to enjoy the moments. This is the essence of mindfulness.
Living in mindfulness had enabled me to appreciate more and more the life I have been blessed with. To stop complaining and start living in the moment. It is an opportunity to embrace the comfort and the discomfort and enjoy the ride. I am an eternal optimist who sees the silver lining behind every challenging situation. Combined with the mindfulness has been able to look at as a learning adventure.
A call from home requires me to pick up my elder daughter from her lessons at 8.30pm and how I am able to manage that. But I am no quitter and I know I will find a way to get this done too, like the all the times I have had to figure myself out and as I near Colombo I realise I wasn’t going to make it on time. Now again panic can wreak havoc and instead if you are mindful things becomes clear. With a clear mind I plan my moves call the teacher inform her of my pending delay and then find the fastest root to get to the location. And with the clear mind execution of my plan is a success.
It was truly an amazing learning adventure and opportunity to be less irritated by life’s little discomforts instead to embrace life and say I am truly blessed. For all those who believe that mindfulness is sitting crossed legged meditating it is actually living in the moment and paying full and undivided attention to the moment as if our life depended upon it. Because in reality our life does depend being mindful.