Wherever You Go, There You Are
Not to reveal too much of my personality, but I am an introvert. I find people to be scary. I have had to learn to manage this because 1). I’m married with kids; 2). My career requires me to interact daily with new people; 3). The church that my wife and I go to really takes me out of my comfort zone; 4). I don’t really imagine myself as a hermit sitting at Walden Pond with Thoreau.
So. In my life I have had to learn how to be mindful, meditate and improve my mental health.
Probably the most life altering realization that I have had to adjust myself to is that in order to find peace I need to find it as I am not in search of who I can be. Who I can be may come as a natural result, but not from a constant agitation to change.
These are the other 5 Life Lessons I am Learning with “Wherever you go there you are”
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
5). Not an Exercise of Positive Thinking. I have tried to learn to “Watch my Thoughts” instead of trying to change my thoughts. Sometimes negative or unproductive thoughts occupy my thinking, the natural reaction is to try to kick them out. I have struggled with this practice for years. The more I tried to kick them out, the louder they become. I learned in “Wherever you go there you are” that “Meditation does not involve trying to change your thinking by thinking some more.” Here is the excerpt from the book:
4). Become your own Authority: This of course is easy to say and difficult to do when we are conditioned as young people to “trust our elders” or “follow those who know better.” Sometimes well meaning people may take advantage (even unknowingly) and cause harm to our peace. Shifting to a place where we are our own authorities because a healthier place to be.
3). Forgiveness: A critical component of mindfulness and healing is the ability to freely forgive. This is difficult for many and sometimes impossible. Forgiveness is liberating to our souls. Here is an excerpt:
2). Being present: When I get home from work, am I present with my kids? Is my mind wondering a million different ways and I am annoyed by my kids presence? How much more satisfying to live in the moment without a thought or a concern about what could be, what should be or what could have been. So much that is promising and fulfilling in learning to live, feel and love. Is there a way to leave work completely behind and enjoy family life?
1). Not about self improvement (but it really is). This is more about checking our motivations for meditation. When I first became involved in the practice, I wanted to see immediate or at least measurable results. After a while of nothing, I gave up. Only to come back a few years later. I am learning more that the practice of mediation is self learning and acknowledgement. Just realizing things about our self is empowering. I can now include my wife in on conversations about the weird and somewhat harmful things that come to my mind. I don’t judge myself for these thoughts. I just see them floating in and acknowledge their presence, sometimes chuckling over the ways that I used to let my mind control me.
Summary. There is much that is empowering and enlightening that can be learned in “Wherever you go there you are.” I don’t know if it is the bible of mindfulness but it works for me. MY ONLY CRITICISM: Maybe it is just on the copy that I bought, but the pages aren’t flush. Some of them stick out farther than others. It looks almost intentional, like a design of the book. Still it is annoying because it is difficult to turn to previous pages. Oh well, doesn’t stop me from reading it.
Wherever You Go, There You Are