The Paradox Of Life And Mindfulness
Everything Is A Paradox
When you stop looking for love, you find love. For that matter, when you stop looking for your missing sock, you find it out of nowhere.
These are what we call paradoxes. A paradox is a figure of speech in which a statement appears to contradict itself but is true. Life is a paradox and so is the way of mindfulness and meditation.
Changes Happens When We Stop Trying To Change
The curious paradox of life is that when I can accept myself just as I am, then I can change.- Carl Rogers
In my meditation and mindfulness classes, I teach people to practise “being in the present”. I tell them to stop trying to change anything. Have a full acceptance of the present.
After a few months, they see visible transformation within themselves. They see a positive change in pretty much every aspect of their lives. They become more productive, more receptive, better at leading teams, quick at learning new skills, and lesser prone to cognitive biases that cloud their judgements. On a personal front they become better at handling relationship, health and much more. They make strides in their professional career and lead a fulfilled personal life. But why?
How come meditation and mindfulness- that tells you to accept the present and not try to change anything, ends up changing your life? That’s the paradox!
Let me tell you how this paradox works. The more you are trying to change your life, the more your mind gets caught up in thoughts of the changed future. It engages itself in useless thoughts of either worrying or fascinating about the desired outcome in the future.
Every thought you think is work for your mind. Your mind is already spending a substantial amount of energy juggling between thousand of thoughts everyday. When you are actively seeking change, you are adding more thoughts for it to work with. It starts thinking about future. It is rarely in the present where all the work needs to be done to bring about that change in the first place.
When people stop trying to change and accept the present, they stop overusing their mind this way. Over a period of time, their mind calms itself down, and stops getting bogged down by the thoughts of worry or even fascinating of the future. It gets back to the present where the real work needs to be done.
You can’t tame your mind by resisting non-productive thoughts. This happens gradually through the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Buddhist monks master their minds this way. By meditating and practising mindfulness throughout the day, you gradually work towards freeing your mind from a lot of useless work that exhausts it. I have seen that people who have meditated for at least 100 hours have a mind that is clearly less distracted and is more productive. Their mind functions better. That is what makes these people work like super human. Their thought process improves and their ability to perceive and understand things, people and situations become greater. Their mind is even able to feel more empathy and they can also easily step side the cognitive biases while dealing with others in their day to day lives. It does wonder to their personal and professional relationships. It adds to their charisma. When you stop overusing your mind, it starts giving you quality outputs in everything it does. It translates into better external situations and opportunities for you. It is no magic or law of attraction. It is something that is logical.
The mind of a person meditating and practising mindfulness daily is a goldmine. It can achieve seemingly impossible goals with utmost ease!
Acceptance Is The First Step To Change
Trying to change is a form of suffering. From a mindfulness point of view, accepting things as they are, is the first step to change. Many people, however, misunderstand acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean we want the things the way they are. It simply means that since things are way they are, we might as well accept them instead of resisting them or trying to change them. This thought process also reduces our suffering. This is why we call mindfulness an antidote to our sufferings too.
Other Paradoxes In Life
You want something more when it is hard to get.
You are more likely to succeed if you have failed a lot.
Being honest about your faults makes people perceive you as someone with least faults or no faults.
Greater the efforts you put in arguing with someone, lesser likely you are to convince them of your perspective.
The more choices you have, the less satisfied you feel.
Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding meditation and mindfulness in the comments. I will do my best to answer them.
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