There you are, on retreat. The birds are singing, everything is quiet, there’s no need to worry about schedules, appointments or meetings. You can feel the wind on your skin and fully dive into the bliss of present moment awareness. Isn’t it wonderful?
Yes it is…
“how can I do this when I will be back home after the retreat?”
This question seems to invade all of us at some point on the journey into meditation practice. As if there was something inside of our mind that doesn’t allow us to fully relax in this moment. Almost as if it was a sin to simply be happy for a few days. This famous question seems to be like that sort of noisy neighbor that decides to always mow the lawn exactly when you are out on your balcony taking a sunbath. Just when you start to calm down and relax at the retreat…THERE IT IS, mowing the lawn of your future or chainsawing into your past.
But worry not, I heard your prayers, retreat after retreat. Finally here’s the article that will bring clarity and light into this very popular topic 😉 How to combine a lifestyle that requires planning with present moment awareness – read right on my planning brothers and sisters.
Being and Doing – Two Facets of Life
We all know what doing means. Most of our entire life story is based on what we did, what we are doing and what we hope to do. The doer is the king of our conditioned mind. For simplicity sake let’s call him “King Do”. King Do is ruling with a strong hand, he never gives his people a break. For as soon as they would like to rest, he invades their spare time with his army of smartphones, books, conversations, movies and so much more. Even when his folks want to sleep he invades their dreams with a government of tasks, duties and other stuff that needs to be done.
But King Do is not a bad man. Doing is absolutely necessary in life. If we don’t do – we die. It is necessary to get out of bed in the morning (at least most of the time), or to earn money (unless you are a monastic of course). It is necessary to eat, have fun and pursue meaningful goals in life. In other words: on this planet there’s no life without doing.
“But what about the Queen?” you might wonder. The Queen is ruling at the Kings side but King Do is by far too noisy for people to notice her. She is incredibly beautiful and wise. And if the King would listen to her, his kingdom would flourish. Life is about the balance of both, doing and being. When one aspect gets neglected, there is imbalance and this imbalance is expressed as suffering. Achieving balance between doing and being is what we can learn in this life.
Present Moment Awareness and Planning
When we take a good look at our mind we will quickly realize that we are great (over)doers. The mind is racing without ever coming to an end. Would you agree that a bit of relaxation would actually help you to feel more happy and fulfilled? Would you also agree that life has more to offer than just plans to find some mysterious fulfillment in the future? What about the art of being here and now – when have you been fully in touch with life, your breath, your heartbeat, your presence the last time?
Seeking happiness by living a meaningful life, having plans and goals is great! You can fulfill your dreams and bring more joy into the world by cultivating positive actions. It’s not a bad thing at all! But it’s also not the only thing life has to offer – there’s more to it. So you might wonder – how can I bring more present moment awareness and mindfulness into my daily life of doing? Good question! Let’s show the King and the Queen how to hug 😉
I’m planning and I know it…
The solution: Manifest your skills as usual. Motivated by kindness and compassion you will lead a great life that benefits yourself and others! But while you are doing your daily things, do them fully. Like a skilled musician that is able to forget him or herself in the music you can be able to lead a life of presence, clarity and more consciousness. In fact, allow the quality of inner quietude and present moment awareness to flow into your life. This needs practice – but that’s exactly why we need to meditate more, isn’t it?
Once the beautiful and joyful stillness of Queen Be takes over and leads King Do by the hand, your life will bring peace to those around you. It is important to find a place in which you have arrived – an unshakeable refuge within your heart. To share your peaceful presence is to lead a fulfilled and inspiring life. Honestly, I believe that the world could well do with a few more people who have found peace within themselves – what do you think?