Living a mindful kindful life
From my own personal observations, happiness does not seem to exist in the activities and things of this world. A person can dwell in paradise and be miserable while another person can live in squalor and be happy.
Happiness lives in our perspective of things and situations.
Happiness is a byproduct of where our attention goes.
I have also noticed that there can be no internal shift to happiness without first changing how we behave. That is, we can’t go on doing the same stuff that isn’t working and expect different results.
This is why service was such an enormous component of my life when I was a monk. This is why St. Francis put it perfectly when he said to, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
Compassionate action is the necessary key to change my view of the world.
I had experience-after-experience of joyfully showing up wholeheartedly in life as the antidote to any challenge. While I was at the monastery, I was the cook for many, many years. I could either show up and work day-in and day-out joyfully, or I could show up day-in and day-out miserably. The choice was entirely mine! I was showing up whether I was happy or not!
So that’s when it occurred to me to see my day as an imaginary pie divided up into slivers of moments. I knew that I couldn’t always choose what would fill those moments, but I could choose how I wanted to BE in those moments. And in the times when I COULD choose how to fill those moments, I would fill them with what supported me.
For example today, when I wake up, I immediately sit and meditate. That’s sliver one. Then I perform a simple ritual that involves yoga and a little chanting. That’s sliver two. And then so on throughout my day.
Now doing the dishes shows up as one of those slivers too. I don’t always want to do them, but I am going to. So this is when I ask myself — “how do I want to BE while I’m doing the dishes?” Then I practice that.
And so on with the remaining slivers.
What slivers do you struggle with the most? How would you like to BE that would change how you experience those slivers?
This is a chapter from my book, Meditation and Reinventing Yourself.