Moments, yes. But never an entire day. Not anymore.
But it’s not easy. It’s a balancing act; with a safety net that includes enough sleep, exercise, mindful healthy meals and meditation. Once I have those in place, the real work can begin.
This morning, for instance, my husband, Michael, got up early to attend a spiritual talk. I chose to stay in bed as I need 7-8 hours of sleep to keep at bay my cranky-irritable demon. Plus, I wanted to spend some time writing first thing after waking, in an effort to keep one of my 2013 vows to finish a book I’m working on. I was looking forward to a morning of nothing else to do but write.
When Michael called after the talk and told me that the session was “transformative” for him and many others, I was jealous and felt sorry for myself that I’d missed it and pissed that I hadn’t forced myself to get up and go.
I questioned my whole plan for the day. The old bogey man ‘there’s something better than this/you’re missing out/you’re not a real writer’ attacked.
I knew I was comparing my morning to someone else’s and if I didn’t nip it in the bud, I would slide down the hole of agony that contains judgment, self-hatred and regret. And ruin my day.
The Tao says: When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
Zen Master Bassui said: The mind is originally pure… we call it Buddha Nature.
I knew that my Buddha Nature had gotten corrupted over the years, perhaps beginning with my first breath, but I also knew that my job now is to hark back to that which comes natural, that which is pure, and remind myself every day of my own transformative abilities. To transcend the negative, judgmental voice. To embrace and disempower my deep anger. To return to the moment and go to the healing silence within.
So I sat on my cushion for 20 minutes to begin to return to my day, to what I had intended for my equanimity today, to my true nature. Had I got up earlier, I’m sure I would have enjoyed the talk and taken something away from it to “make my day.” But it would have been a different “good” day than the one I am having now. The one I chose to live today is not better or worse than any other, but it is rich and textured and full of possibility.
My first surprise came when making my normal breakfast of oatmeal with fruit, nuts and raisins. I like organic frozen fruit in the winter and usually add an assortment of blueberries, raspberries and peaches. When a large beautiful strawberry fell from the raspberry bag, I was surprised. I had remembered buying raspberries, but in my hand was a bag of strawberries. Old me would have berated myself for not being more mindful when shopping. But the new me was happy for the variety.
As I often tell my students and clients: mistakes can be opportunities to wake up and be present NOW. So I took my own advice, enjoyed the strawberry and got down to writing.
A perfect beginning to another good day.