“I know it’s a big, DUH!” a good friend once said. “There is almost no stress when I am perceiving my own needs clearly and in balance with the needs of others.” It was so well-put, I feel compelled to share it, along with a little commentary on why this is vital to living well during big challenges.
It always amazes me how hard it can be to anchor our attention in the now-moment, even when things are going well. When things go awry, it can seem nothing short of monumental to perceive what is real, without the distortions of past interfering and causing us to go into our stuff. When we’re stressed out, it is such a powerful temptation to feel that others’ problems, wants and desires are more important than meeting our own needs, or conversely, that our own wants and desires matter most. It’s also very confusing sometimes to distinguish between needing to take good care of ourselves and just wanting what we want when we want it.
The truth is, the only basis we have to perceive things in an authentic way is to bring our attention back to the now-moment. When the now-moment contains things we wish weren’t there, our resistance tends to rob us of the clarity and presence to face whatever challenge is before us, and to understand what it means to simply “put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others” without self-absorption or undue sacrifice.
Our issues and conditioning certainly rise up when we resist the present moment. And we can surely choose to be stressed and freaked out. However, if we are to take dominion over our lives, a confrontation with our distortions is inevitable.
Seeing our pattern of distortion is fundamental because without owning our patterns, we will be unable to free ourselves to perceive things in an undistorted way, to behave in a manner consistent with basic self-care and consideration for others, and to choose what we would choose if our thinking were not distorted by fear that we can’t be happy unless life is exactly the way we think we want it.
It’s a tall order, but then again, being a human is not spiritual kindergarten. It’s more like a PhD program in how to live your authentic life, in spite of the material plane’s uncertainties and discrepancies with the mind’s expectations.