Tests and Opportunities
These are clearly testing times ~ also times of opportunity ~ especially for noticing when and how to be mindful. So many opportunities are presented day by day. In ordinary everyday life, you can always expect the unexpected and one thing we did notice tonight ~ right away ~ was an actual real-life parrot whose name was Percy! Honest! There he was, sitting on the shoulder of one our number, sharing his colourful, quiet and respectful presence as we shared our own. A test in its own right I think, because like our individual background settings in which we are all separately framed on screen, there is a great deal of scope for distraction…. mindful of that…. and the sound of a passing train…. and the thought of meeting a tiny, fast-walking prehistoric tortoise…. so many things! Focussing on our sharing this evening, we may say that many of us currently are experiencing a very lopsided World. Everything seems to be about and revolve around the ‘thing’ and the drama of it all does cause great fatigue. We are noticing mindfully that wherever we go and whatever we do, the ’thing’ is uppermost in people’s minds and sometimes it seems this is all they want to see, hear, absorb and talk about. It’s hard not to get drawn into the constant bombardment of news and statistics and at the end of each day it can be very difficult to let it go. Even when we try to engage others in different aspects of life, some want to keep coming back to the ‘thing’…. the 'thing' is everywhere. Why of course, the it was very present this evening! We can acknowledge this mindfully, because it is true and it affects our mind and mood in so many ways. We can try to escape into TV and other media and then we may notice that even thrilling dramas and diverting adverts are so unlike real-life at present that it all just seems well…. weird. Throws up questions like, “What is real life?” Lots to be mindful of. And it's helpful to notice all this mindfully when we’re shopping or out for exercise walking. We can see the urgency as people push past one another determined to get what they need for themselves and forgetting to leave safe spaces. What we take for granted as normal seems to go awry because it’s all so magnified and out of proportion and then we end up asking what is the truth of all this ~ what is right or wrong, what is safe ~ what should I believe and how should I be? We compare ourselves with others too and wonder if we should behave more like them and if we’re mindful, we consider what might be right for us personally and for others too. The mind is busy with all this constantly. And it's forever judging others. It’s not wrong to judge, it’s what the mind will do. Let’s notice and let go of that whenever we can. The mind is always evaluating and weighing up the pros and cons of what and what not to do ~ to say or not to say. Giving ourselves time to consider and reconsider all this before pressing the ‘send' button too soon is good. And of course as we said, we are bound to get it wrong sometimes. Let’s be mindful of that and not have our actions be at someone else’s expense whenever we can. There is plenty of ‘fake’ and inaccurate news out there that can be exaggerated and destructive and shared recklessly, but what we share in the group is about what we directly experience, so I think it’s likely to be more helpful and more enlightening than alarming. We’re not proliferating the myths, we’re exploring what the mind is making of it all. And as ever it’s all about relationships with ourselves and others. The test comes frequently when there are clashes of personality as there always will be. Who is going to be the mindful one and see what is happening and let it be, so that matters are not made worse? Someone saying, “Stop!” may be a red rag to us much of the time, but being mindful we can see what happens when we pace ourselves with more kindness and understanding towards the ways, habits and needs of others. Relenting a bit…. mindfully. Being available to others as well, even when we feel grumpy and self-righteous because, hang on a minute, “This should be MY special time!” Of course nobody else knows that, they are too wrapped up in their own world of mind. Mindful of that ~ even if our 20 minute walk lasts 2 hours, we can take time to let go of SELF and be present for them. It’s not so hard when we’re mindful. And in a way this is a special time, probably more special than we think and it could even be a wonderful time. Wouldn’t it be great if others treated us that way too? Yes it would! We can be mindful of that. It’s true, there is greater physical distance between some of us us now ~ often, those with whom we would dearly love to be closer to ~ but equally that may create further opportunities for us to make the effort and take the time mindfully to engage with others as best we can. This may bring about changes that won’t end when the ’thing’ subsides and helps us recover for a while ~ we may find we have created new lives and wake up to more mindful relationships for ourselves and by example, for others too. It would be easy to say, “Let’s hope so.” Shall we change that to, “Let’s make it so!” instead? Next week then….