Yoga and meditation pose some interesting questions.  At least they should if you’re doing it right.  Many of the questions involve a demon that I know plagues me and I think that plagues everyone.  Being in the moment and, more than that, getting the best out of the moment.

We’re seldom really present are we?  We cook or drive or eat with our minds somewhere else, dwelling on something that happened yesterday or worrying about something that’s going to happen tomorrow.   We have this desperate drive to anticipate what’s coming next and be prepared and often feel out of control anyway.  We contort ourselves to fit with expectations.  We burden ourselves with judgements.  We prejudice events with our expectations.

It’s easy to say that we make ourselves miserable but letting go of the fear of what’s coming next is tough.  As much as you can say that you really don’t know what’s coming up so what’s the point trying to plan for it?  There’s nothing you can do but be yourself and do what comes naturally so why worry?  It’s so very hard not to.   It’s harder yet to let go of the weight of expectation and to just be yourself and take what you need from the moment.  Even those of us who think we are completely ourselves are compelled by, what a classmate called, ‘the tyranny of ‘should”.

I will happily tell anyone that I’m so hopelessly myself that I’m unable to moderate it at all.  That my social ineptitude comes from a complete lack of understanding of how the game is played and the rules I’m supposed to adhere to but even I know that I do things because I think I should.  The hardest thing about trying to be a writer was to wade through the self-accusations that I was doing something wrong by doing what I wanted.  That I wasn’t earning enough, wasn’t working enough hours, that my attempts at marketing and self-promotion are attention seeking (of course they bloody are, that’s rather the point).

How often do we say we like something because other people do?  Or base our decision making around a perception of what we think others expect of us?  How often does it make us happy?  And how often do we miss the moment while we’re trying to work out what the right response to the moment is supposed to be rather than letting it be what it is?

That’s not to say that within the complexities of life there shouldn’t be some room for duty.  There is always a point where you have to accept responsibility. But there is a difference between being a happy and complete person accepting your responsibilities and being a miserable and unfulfilled person drowning in them.

Becoming yourself can be a long process if it’s something you’re not used to and you can feel more than a little selfish while you’re doing it.  If you’re anything like me that may express itself in making things, like cake, by way of an apology.  It is, however, a very good journey to take.  You may find that the you, you get to know is a nicer one than the you, you thought you were.   Being nice is a very underrated quality.

I still don’t really live in the moment and I have long way to go before I can be completely myself without worrying.  But baby steps quickly accumulate.  I have a habit of saying ‘sigh’.  As if my conversation is a tweet and I’m illustrating my mood.  On Saturday, unbidden, I heard myself say ‘smile’ instead.  Bizarre and crazy and my proudest achievement of the year.   Happiness is an underrated quality too.

What if part of the process to becoming the best of humanity is to stop trying?  What if the best way to be ‘good’ is to be happy and relaxed and little bit more trusting?  What if we all became much nicer people of we all just stopped thinking so much?

 

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