Arriving Where You Started

Oct 04, 2023


It’s fascinating to consider mindfulness as both the starting and ending point of our practice.

We come to the mat or cushion, we sit, take a breath, and get comfortable. In these ways, we begin by paying attention to ourselves in the moment. Redirecting our attention to the body and breath, we remember that we are here and alive in this moment.

That’s the starting point.

Then, everything that clouds the pure awareness of our present-moment experience rises to the forefront like particles floating to the surface of clear waters.

Though what’s revealed when we pay attention isn’t always pleasant or comfortable, becoming aware of how we color our experience of the moment is actually great news. Suddenly, there’s possibility. We discover that we’re more than our resistances and reactions, more than our habitual patterns of mind and body. What freedom!

Noticing how my jaw tenses when I lift my arms overhead reveals the possibility of moving with less strain and greater ease. Observing that I tend to hold my breath or jump to conclusions during intense conversations, makes it more likely that I’ll remember to breathe and keep an open mind.

It brings new meaning to TS Eliot’s famous words:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

What is mindfulness, if not an ongoing exploration?

And where does it lead us, if not to an ever-deeper knowing of ourselves, and a more vivid and enriched experience of life as it unfolds?

When there is mindfulness, the moment belongs to you in a whole new way.

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