📝 Journal | My daily battle with mindfulness
It’s the kind of battle that you desperately want your opponent to win.
As my world becomes louder lately, I seek for quietness more often. My first encounter with mindfulness came at a time like this. On the surface, I seemed to have everything together. Deep down, nothing was quite settled. It's not that I was lost, rather the opposite, I was too sensitive to my thoughts, feelings, self-values and sense of direction. How I spent my time, made decisions, or cultivated relationships came with the question, “Is it worth it? Is it really worth it?” If life indeed was impermanent and meaningless, why did I have to care so much?
Some people are blessed with attaining wisdom from observation, contemplation, self-reflection or witness of other people's mistakes; some have to learn their lessons the hard way. I, unfortunately, belong to the later group. Enlightenment and revelation often came to my side at rock bottoms.
Being aware of my constantly wandering thoughts was one thing, not being able to control them was beyond frustrating. A million times did I give in my negativity, let it take away my peace, chip away my trust and amplify my insecurity. That’s why I came to mindfulness. There’s no hard proof that it would save me from my mental and emotional instability. But throughout the years, it had brought me glimpses of peace, the ultimate experience of being safe, loved, known, fulfilled, and forgiven. At those rare moments, my compassion was as vast as the ocean. Sometimes you have to jump into the unknown believing you would make it out in one piece, hopefully a better one, on the other side. Some people refer it as “taking a leap of faith”. Whatever it is, as long as you love yourself enough, you are in the right direction. So down the rabbit hole I went.
“My mindfulness” (as in my personal experience with it) did not come peacefully. It’s not for the faint of heart; it’s always a battle. It demanded tremendous efforts, reminders, will-power, discipline, and commitment. Its two most favorite adjectives were “persistent” and “consistent,” and the most repeated verb was “let go.” Accepting who I was was not hard, accepting who I thought the people around me thought I was was one of the toughest quests (stop giving a shit was another option). Forgiving or loving others and myself at one moment was not hard, continually practicing those was almost impossible. Emotions and thoughts visited in waves. How I reacted depended on my state of mind the moment they knocked on the door. When things cascaded down, my miserable heart was so drenched that I could barely breath; but at the same time, I knew enlightenment was around the corner.
I trained myself to become an ambivert. I stopped being a multitasker, gave full attention to whoever in front of me, and remembered to breathe as my first reaction to anything. I focused on the water running through my hands, picked up bird chirping sound and counted every step I took in my morning walk to the subway (“left, right, left, right…” was the only sound in my head). Every change takes time, especially changes in habits. It will always be an ongoing battle. Up to this day, you still find me sitting alone in the most silent area of the house chewing slowly every grain of rice, at the same time struggling to keep my thoughts from escaping the space.
The hardest part of this journey? After I fell in and out of love. For better or worse, it intensifies the battle. But as Elizabeth Gilbert said, “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”, it’s the kind of human experience I would like to try out in this mere existence.
Life is in fact meaningless. Don’t fool yourself with the buzz phrase, “I’m here at this place at this time for a reason.” We, as humans, like to reason and justify for everything, exceptionally our actions and existence. Besides the karma you need to pay or repay, there’s really no other meaning in life. Yes, seriously. Ain’t that free us up? Now we are in full power in creating our meanings. As long as we don’t conform to societal expectations, prioritize other things over relationships, or think that we would still have tomorrow to fix anything, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t expand our creativity. Another truth is that life is impermanent, so everything, both uncomfortable and lovely, does eventually pass.
Mindfulness, I wish you victory all day, every day, always.
To embrace vulnerability.