Even in times of Covid, we find ways to keep ourselves busy. There are still problems to be solved, errands to run, social media to be viewed, and on and on. Many of us wear our "busy-ness" with pride and importance... it is all we know. We may use it to ground ourselves, or commonly, to deflect situations, thoughts and anything that is uncomfortable.
So, when my power cut out recently due to a windstorm, I was a little annoyed. I had gifts to order, people to call or text, I was making dinner... I am very busy... how dare the storm take away my electrical power (and my perceived personal power)? Even worse, my iPhone was logging in with just a mere 45% battery, my iPad nearly dead and I had no idea how long this terrible inconvenience would last.
After about fifteen minutes of locating and lighting candles, I paused to assess the situation. With candles glowing all around my house, gas fireplace soldiering on to keep me warm, I realized this was a unique opportunity to disconnect. To be fully present in this quiet moment that has been offered to me. Like almost all aspects of life, this experience was completely beyond my control. Rather than revert to a default mode... one of anger, defiance and frustration, I decided to lean into the moment.
When we surrender to "what is", there is a sensation of contentment that is always available to us. We, as a society are programmed to fix, change, or end anything that may bring us discomfort. Unfortunately, that is an approach that only causes us to suffer more than necessary. A Buddhist parable that is often told, explains this in simple terms.
"If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?"
In life, we are not able to control the first arrow, but the second arrow is our reaction to the first. In other words, the initial pain is unavoidable, but the suffering is optional. If we choose to fight and chafe against what "is", we are only causing additional pain and frustration for ourselves and those around us. This second arrow may arrive in the form of blame (oneself or others), outrage, and many other variations... all similar in their guarantee to worsen the situation. Instead, we have the option to choose to deflect those following assaults and settle into acceptance. This is where true peace can be found.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about meditation and mindfulness. I can suggest many ways for you to get started, including online meditation offerings, books, podcasts and guidance.