Before I explain what this Learning Resolution is about, it may be helpful for you to know a few things about me, particularly as it relates to this topic. I am contemplative and introspective by nature. Well, the term “by nature” is really a cop out, so I’ll go a bit deeper. These character traits are driven by the combination of an insatiable curiosity and my absolute disdain for hypocrisy.
That hatred for hypocrisy forces me to always question my own motives, perspectives, tendencies and biases, before passing judgment on those of others. It demands contemplation and introspection, but they must be balanced and unbiased in order to offer true value. I am constantly working to improve my process. In fact, these resolutions are themselves part of that effort. But there is a problem.
Many people who have had a heart attack, follow their doctor’s orders immediately after, but as time goes by, revert back to their old ways. We all know, or perhaps we are, those people who swore to the porcelain god that they would never drink that much again, only to one up themselves a week later. The point is, there are moments where we achieve clarity, or what I define as “right mindedness”. The problem I eluded to is that those moments are fleeting. Life tends to interfere.
We get caught up in firefighting. Our ego takes over. Anger clouds our judgment. Fear consumes us. Whatever it is at a given moment, we tend to gravitate away from the right state of mind. Occasionally, something beyond our control snaps us out of that funk and brings us back to right mindedness. It’s always a life altering event like a child moving away, tying the knot, divorce, a new baby, but the most jarring events involve someone’s health. You hear things like, “it really puts things in perspective” or “at a time like this, you really appreciate what you have.”
This resolution is an attempt to learn how to maintain that kind of clarity at all times, to always appreciate what I have, who I have, and where I am, but also appreciate what affect my actions have on my clarity, and on the world around me.
P.S. I had been considering “mindfulness” as a resolution for some time, but a recent event got me to pull the trigger today. I eluded to it on Facebook today.
“This week I had a pretty traumatic health scare, which had me contemplating my imminent death. Two things became crystal clear to me. 1) No matter what we think, we don’t actually live everyday like it’s our last. 2) If we are about to die, what’s the point in jumping out of an airplane, reading the great American novel or anything else that heaps on a new experience, since the memory of it will die with us. Instead, every last second should be intended to improve the lives of those who will continue on in our absence. So next time you think, “screw it, I’m going to live like it’s my last day on earth,” don’t spend lavishly on yourself or drink yourself into oblivion, instead do something nice for someone else. Be absolutely and completely selfless.”
LR 10: Mindfulness Posts
- Barefoot Hiking (July 25, 2012)
- Barefoot Hiking Has a Downside (August 13, 2012)
- Drilling for Mindfulness (August 20, 2012)
- Mindful Endurance (September 4, 2012)