Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happiness III

As salaam alaikum,

Being mindful that one is imperfect does not mean that one embraces their imperfections anymore than being mindful of one's sorrow means that you are embracing it.

Being mindful of sorrow, for example, after one suffers a loss means that one says to herself, "You know, I'm sad because this person just died. It makes sense that I'm sad, and it's okay."

I didn't use to do this. I would analyze my sorrow, which does also not equate to mindfulness. If I didn't cry, if I were able to rationalize the death medically or spiritually (the life to come is better than this!), then I was strong, spiritually and emotionally. If I cried, I was weak and really only mourning myself, not actually the person.

Or, whenever I was sad, I tried to get as sad as I could, as if I expended all the sad early, it would dissipate faster, and my happy would be even better by comparison.

No. I'm sad because this person just died. There are many reasons why I am sad, but they all make sense, and it's okay to feel this way. It will not be always, but this is where I am right now.

It really helps to not drift into despondency, downward spiraling it to various levels of self-destruction.

Similarly, being mindful of imperfections does not mean that I'm glorifying then, especially when my imperfections may be bad habits or certain strains of detestable behavior.

No. I am imperfect because I am human. This is where I am right now. I have some room for improvement, but it's okay that I am where I am right now.

Mindfulness in the moment. One could feel this way after being rude to someone, using crude language in a way that made someone uncomfortable. Mindfulness is not an oh-well moment. It's knowing where you are in that moment. Moments, just like days, really, are fleeting, and recognizing where one is in the moment does not define the next moment, the next day, whenever.

And that is the power of mindfulness. It breaks up time into a more manageable schema and helps us make meaning of our life while not locking us in any single state for any given period of time.

I'm mindful of my choices and their consequences. I've deliberately made this choice, and while I would have rather done things another way, I am satisfied with my choice for now. I pray as always for God's mercy as I travel through this life, and I pray that my choice elicits only the best of consequences.

Mindfulness, while a very secular exercise, is not mutually exclusive with my own spirituality.

Living life more mindful has made me infinitely more happy at baseline, not just with the shift in the way of thought, but because of the life decisions I've made because of it.

I love that I've found happiness. Mindfulness hasn't changed the parts of life that are difficult, but it has reduced the anxiety. It hasn't changed the fact that I will faced challenges in life, but it makes them less daunting because I now have a much more manageable way of coping. It hasn't changed the fact that I am almost 28 and unmarried but it has taken away most all of the former anxiety that I used to have about that. I look on without jealousy as more friends get engaged, get married and become pregnant because I no longer see those things as impossible for me because I only digest life one moment at a time now and it's no longer near impossible because I have accepted not being nor ever being near perfect.

Right now, I'm not even the best that I can be, and that's okay. I just pray that I am good.

And in this starting over, remaking and rebuilding, that's what I strive to be. Good. I pray that I am a good person, a good physician, a good daughter and sister.

The great thing about being good is that you can be better without reaching your ceiling, ever, in little ways, in little moments, and I pray that I am.

I pray that I can fill my surroundings with peace and charity.


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