October 10, 2017
Episode 2: Everything You Need is Right Here
One of the most common physical symptoms many of us experience in the modern world is exhaustion. Never have humans had so much freedom to pursue their goals and dreams. And never have humans paid a higher price for this constant seeking. Join Thomas as he guides us through a simple mindfulness practice that can profoundly revitalize the body, mind and spirit.
Welcome to Minduflness+
I'm your host, Thomas McConkie, and we are here to learn the life changing skill of mindfulness. For those of you who missed the first show, mindfulness, we defined as bringing awareness to awareness - being aware that we're already aware. There are countless ways to do this and we're going to continue the exploration in this second show, here.
To get started I want to talk about a really common phenomenon that we're all familiar with in our personal lives and in the lives of those around us. It's the quality of exhaustion that we see in this modern world. People are exhausted. Whether it's wanting to get a degree, go back to school and get a degree so that you can get a better job. Maybe it's something like: I'm in this relationship and it doesn't feel fulfilling so I want to trade this partner out for another partner and see how I do in the lottery. It could be as simple as in this very moment your mind could wander off from the present moment to what might be an even better moment just around the corner that I might pursue.
These are all really common examples of the ways that we seek. We become exhausted because we're constantly looking for something that's not here yet but we think it might be here right around the corner. And I want to be very clear here. I'm not suggesting for a moment that it is a bad thing to get further education and get a better job. Or that it's a bad thing inherently to leave a relationship that's not fulfilling or working anymore. Or even to start to wonder in the moment for your mind to wander off in to "how can I make this moment even better"? These are all just parts of human life. It's built in to the human experience but what I want to speak to today is that when we're stuck in this mode, when all that we can do is seek, when all we can do is imagine what better thing might be just around the corner, then we're constantly in a posture of seeking. We're constantly in a posture of reaching and we can't just let go, relax, and be with exactly what is right now. So this is the mindfulness move we make.
When we practice mindfulness we're actually practicing the posture, you could say. We're taking up the attitude of everything you need is right here. So just listen to that again and see how you feel in your body. See what that does to you when you hear the words "everything you need is right here". It's different, right? In a given day we probably have this thought less than we have a million other thoughts about all the things we need to do and all the complexity of our lives and relationship and career. It's a complex world. The mindful move is to sit in this posture of "everything you need is right here". What that means is that there's no preferred state, we're not trying to produce anything. This is a real pitfall. We pick up mindfulness because we're so busy and we here from some wise guy that mindfulness would help us relax more and develop mindful awareness and all of a sudden mindfulness just becomes a new task. We do our mindfulness practice in order to get something and we're back at square one where we're in this posture of reaching again. We're in this posture of seeking. So I want to invite you in to this experience. I want to invite you in to the experience of "wherever you are or whatever you're doing right now, absolutely nothing is missing" and to really just try that on. And before we go in to a little meditation, I want to address a question that so often comes up when I teach this concept to my students. They say: "well, if nothing is missing, if everything I need is right here, why would I get out of bed in the morning? Why would I do anything at all if everything is right here? Isn't seeking a good thing"? Again I would just reiterate that we are not here to learn mindfulness and become so passive that there's no need to ever leave our meditation cave for the rest of our lives. Rather, mindfulness is a practice that helps us replenish. It's a practice that helps us rejuvenate so that paradoxically when we really deeply relax in to this new posture, this new attitude of everything you need is right here absolutely nothing is missing, that allows us to become deeply present. It allows us to deeply rest and when life calls us back in to action, we show up with more vibrancy and vitality than we've ever experienced. That's what the practice is pointing us to. After the break I'll guide you in this experience and we'll do it together.
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Welcome back. You're listening to Mindfulness+ and I'm your host, Thomas McConkie. What we're going to do here is practice this attitude that we spoke about before break. This attitude of "everything you need is right here". Or another way of saying that is "absolutely nothing is missing". It's one thing to say these words and it's another thing to deeply experience these words in our body and in our life. So if you'll join me I'll just invite you to pay attention. Whatever you're doing right now, if it's possible, you can just come to stillness (find a place where you can sit and just be still). If you're driving a vehicle, if you're walking around I would invite you to attend to your surroundings. So here we go.
Starting with the experience of the physical body, just notice in this moment how you feel. You can notice any pleasant sensations as well as any challenging sensations, any physical discomfort. It's deeply instinctual to want to move away from discomfort but what you can do here is just invite all of your experience to be present right now. Notice what comfort and discomfort is in the body, there's a part of you even deeper than the body that can just allow it. Be present to all of the experience of the body. And you can notice how you're feeling emotionally in this moment, notice what emotions are present in your experience. Maybe pleasant emotions or happy emotions, happiness, joy, maybe neutral emotion. Not feeling much - kind of emotionally idling. Maybe aware of challenging emotions, negative emotions. And notice again that you're able to just stay present to all of it. If you're feeling really good, you don't need to grasp on to that feeling good. If you feel negative emotion at the moment, you don't have to drive those away and go looking for a better experience. You can just rest in this moment exactly as it is. And notice what thoughts might be going through your mind. Maybe thoughts about things that have happened in the past. Reflecting on them. Maybe thoughts anticipating about what needs to happen today or what you hope will happen in the future. Just noticing and rather than struggling with the thinking mind, rather than trying to stop thought, you can just allow thought to flow. But without diving in to the stream, without pursuing thought or elaborating on it. You can just allow thoughts to flow as naturally as blood flows through the veins. Notice that whatever the state of the physical body, comfortable, uncomfortable, however you're feeling emotionally, whatever thoughts are going through your mind, including all of the conditions in your life in this very moment, the conditions of your surroundings and the conditions of your entire life: your work in the world, your relationships, your health, everything. Notice that there's a part of you deeper than the physical body. Deeper than the thinking mind, even, that can just be aware. For this moment, you don't have to struggle, you don't have to strive, you can simply rest in this moment that is full. Rest in this moment where absolutely nothing is missing. Everything you need is right here.
Ok thank you.
So to recap for this lesson today: we live in a world where we are constantly driven to exhaustion. We are constantly reaching for what comes next, looking to improve. And improvement itself is not the problem. Efforting and striving for all the things we care about most in our lives is not the problem itself. The problem is we forget the other side of the equation. We forget that while we're reaching, while we're striving for all the things we most want in life, we forget that there's a moment right here. There's a moment right now where we're already complete. And when we rest deeply in this sense of completion. When we really take on this posture and attitude of nothing is missing and everything you need is right here, something really amazing happens: we start to move in life. We start to reach towards our goals and all the things we care about. Not from a place of lack. Not from a place where we feel like somethings missing and I just need to work harder and I won't be ok until I have it. We come from a place of completion where we're already complete and that thing we really wanted? We got it. And oh, this is great, too. Now I'm even more complete and i'm in another moment of fulness and completion. so rather than moving from a place of scarcity, trying to get more and trying to bring more in, we start with a quality of deep fulfillment. You could say we start from a place of abundance and from that place where everything is complete and everything we need is here, we move to the next moment where everything we need is already here again.
Thank you so much for joining us today on Mindfulness+. I'm your host Thomas McConkie and we'll hope to have you back for the next one.