Have you ever read the poem, IF, by Rudyard Kipling?
If you can keep your head, while others around you are losing theirs…..If you can wait and not be tired of waiting….If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same….
This poem comes to mind as I reflect on my practice–not just when I have my eyes closed, meditating, but also when I am engaged in my life’s daily events. It’s really those times “off the mat” (to steal a yoga phrase) that I know mindfulness is truly being cultivated. Indeed, it is how I approach those those difficult moments that I am able to recognize that my effort is worthwhile.
I have to celebrate the process, the journey, and the struggle of mediation. Although noticing that my mind is wandering may seem like a failure at first, however, over time, it is becoming the evidence and validation that my practice of mindfulness is paying off. This awareness is the essence of a mindful moment.
What surprises me is the development outside of my meditation- not just the awareness of the emotion that I am experiencing but also the the shift in my perception. I can look at challenging people and situations and find something within these experiences to have gratitude for. It’s like these emotionally gritty experiences are turning dirt into pearls of wisdom for me. Of course, to become attached to this transformation seems to contradict the point of mindfulness as well. However treating my successes and failures with the same openness is something I can strive towards. Though cultivating mindfulness as my preset default mode seems to be a BIG If, but nevertheless, its pursuit is worthy of my effort.