“You work so hard to fix yourself, but maybe what you need isn’t another tactic, another book, another five step plan. Maybe you don’t need to be fixed, maybe what’s really holding you back is the idea that you need to be fixed” – V Tugaleva.
Mindfulness does not seek to fix you. Mindfulness is a personal journey, that has all the hallmarks of the epic storyline. The hero sets out on a long and difficult journey, leaving comforts behind, because he/she believes there is valuable knowledge to be gained. After many struggles and sacrifices along the way the hero reaches his/her destiny, has an epiphany or deep insight and returns to his/her people to tell them of what was found. Even though the epiphany may have bought new knowledge it will be the journey that will become legend.
It is not all struggle, there will have been many occasions where the hero experienced awe and wonderment at the sights, sounds and smells that they behold. They have returned to their land, but perhaps not really the same person who left. Some of the locals may find this difficult to start with, but over time they realise that the hero is authentic and love them for who they truly are.
Only mindfulness is an ongoing journey into the workings of your mind, which as neuroscientist David Eagleman states, is the most complex thing in the known universe.
We study mindfulness to understand ourselves and to learn acceptance of all our quirks and foibles. It is often said that spending time in meditation is self indulgent, but logically if you are at peace with yourself and not needing to spend time ruminating about past events, you are going to be a far more effective mother, father, husband, wife and member of society. Having been meditating for some time now I believe meditation is a heroic act as people are prepared to spend hours in silence studying their minds. They may have teachers and books to guide them, but because each mind is unique, we can only be given a rough road map with only the major motorways marked on it. We have to fill in the rest by travelling down the country lanes, marking our route along the way.
I have always had a problem with the idea of “enlightenment” and “nirvana” as being the only true destination of meditators. We may seek to be truly awake or enlightened, but in the West we have to deal with our individualistic, competitive mindsets, and this can lead us to believe we need to strive towards this “goal” which very few people will ever attain. I think this distracts us into believing that this is the only tolerable end of the journey.