So how does all this meditation stuff tie together? How does it all fit into place and work once we’re off the cushion? For my own self, I can’t say that I know for sure, but it seems worth experimenting and finding out. As much as my individual sits sometimes seem to fall into disastrous ruin, there are also times things go well. I try not to put one set on a pedestal, but let’s face it, sometimes that’s difficult.
Regardless, I do notice a shift in my habits and my way of thinking. I’m much more forgiving of myself these days. I can be extremely self-critical even in the best of times, and the weight of that statement as I type it right now hits home. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that out loud or written it down, let alone posted it on a public forum for all the Interwebs to see, so even the fact that that statement manages to exist in my vocabulary right now seems like an accomplishment.
I find myself allowing space for errors, for imperfections, for the idea that I can’t be this perfect person 24/7. I can try, yes. But when I fail, it seems fruitless to then beat myself up over it. I catch myself faster when I fall into my old habits, I find myself letting go more easily, and starting again more fluidly. It’s as if I’ve started to get a hint of what it’s like to drive with the manual transmission of my life. (This is not to say you should ever trust me in the driver’s seat of a manual transmission automobile.)
What I find so fascinating about this practice is that the end goal for everyone is the same: Happiness. How amazing is that? You could be sitting next to a complete stranger on the subway, or at the movies, you come from two completely different backgrounds, have completely different aspirations for how you’d like your life to play out, and yet you both want to be happy. You could be in a stadium filled with 30,000 people, each person completely different from the next, and yet at the core of each of your beings you share the SAME EXACT THING. You want to be happy.
We all have our own definition of happiness, the process and methods around obtaining it are vastly different depending on the person, and yet it remains everyone’s end goal. That’s pretty powerful stuff. 7 billion people and counting, and when it comes down it, we all want the exact. same. thing.