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What's worse than not getting what you want?


We all want to be calm, peaceful and happy. And we will do almost anything to get it. From eating those things we know aren’t good for us, drinking to excess, needlessly shopping, to watching endless Netflix – we often unconsciously do things to satiate this restless urge to feel content.

And the irony is- the very act of looking outside of ourselves, seeking something we feel we don’t have, keeps us unhappy, unsatisfied.


In this lockdown situation we find ourselves in, we are being offered a gift. Stop going outwards and come inwards. Just sit and be quiet and explore the moment to moment experience.

When we sit, soon enough we notice an endless stream of thoughts, or body sensations we feel we have to fix before we can be at peace. It’s an endless list- just as there’s an endless to do list when we open our eyes and move into the next moments of our day. In meditation we can just sit with these thoughts and feelings- aware there is a voice in the head that says “I want to move” and just watch it, with out reacting. Now who is leading the next moments of your life- the thought? Or you, the awareness of the experience.


Take this into the world and use it there – my thoughts are telling me I won’t be happy until X is attained (and now one tries to pursue X) only to discover that either A- we don’t get what we want and we’re unhappy about that or B-we get it and the happiness lasts for a short while and then when it fades we’re off again. It’s comic: What’s worse than not getting what you want? Getting what you want! Neither make you happy. We are like the person who wanders the earth looking for riches, who doesn’t realise they already have gold in his pocket.


That’s because we think happiness is out there, and that it is in the future. Real happiness is connecting to the present moment and to the observer- the being-ness we all are that notices all our experiences- taste, touch, smell, sight, sound and thoughts. When we stop filling our every waking hour with action- physical or mental and drop into the quiet open space of being, which is already calm and peaceful, happiness and contentedness naturally arise in the space.


So the invitation here is to stop, take a conscious breath and just become aware of what is pushing you on. Become curious of your experience without getting involved in the storyline. Connect with the breath and step out of the endless thoughts. Place your attention on the sensation of your feet on the floor. Notice sounds, smells... whatever is here, right now.


Congratulations- you just moved from doing mode to being mode. The more you practice the better you get at it, until being more present and less desirous of things to be different becomes where you live. And that’s where the real gold is.


Learn how to lower stress and find more calm in your life: www.mbsr-mindfulness.com