Meditation is the slow and steady process of looking down and noticing the key. It is recognizing that yes, you are powerful— you have complete control over yourself. In letting go of various attachments and fixations, you cultivate this strength. The man with well-functioning legs needs no crutches. Almost everyone has this inner-strength and can realize it, but instead chooses to go through life buried in crutches of various types. Meditation lets you exist completely as you are, with no aids or adornments. Instead of identifying with the external world, you find all you need within yourself, and you extend this peaceful lack of neediness to others.
We’ve all felt trapped at some point. The lesson of this self-perpetuating cycle of entrapment is that you hold the key to your own escape. In fact, you’re the only one with the key. Imagine a prisoner who wears his own door key on a necklace day-in and day-out, never noticing it because he’s never even bothered to look. He’s been too busy glaring through the bars, imagining his escape. This is how we all live, to varying extents— held back by fear, mindlessness, judgment and self-scrutiny.
We can start by understanding what it means to be grateful. Many spiritual people fall in the trap of traditionalism and fetishize the past, wishing to return to a simpler era. Instead, why can’t we look at the hardships of the past and acknowledge our transcendence of them? We should be grateful for the tools at our disposal, not resentful. Real mindfulness is treating every moment as equal, acknowledging what we’re grateful for while making the most of what we have. We can overcome our modern narcissism by not always thirsting for something more or something new. We already have so much complexity to learn how to deal with; we should slow down and figure out who we actually are.