So – this is actually one of my big challenges now. It has to do with the nature of doubt as it constantly gnaws at the back of my mind. I’ll write about my doubt separately because it will be a rather involved topic.
Instead, I’m going to focus here on the methods by which I am using to keep myself grounded in mindfulness and love. The basic premise of my approach is that cultivation takes practice and practice will make things easier. At some point, it will no longer require practice – it will just be.
But we have to start from a place of absolute dedication to the truth of love.
When I woke up to love as my truth, I saw that every person and every object is deserving of love. That everything in this universe represents an opportunity to learn and grow – if you remain open to it. Everything around us is an experiential gift just waiting to be unwrapped.
In my writings from that night I talked about loving my pen, loving my notebook, and loving my words. It is because they are a gift. And I FEEL this. I KNOW this. I SEE this. THIS IS TRUTH!
This is the fundamental shift that has occurred within me. I see the entire world as a delightful playground of experience and learning, filled with endless opportunities for growth and wellbeing for all.
My love extends to everyone and everything because of the gift they represent – and in my mind, that gift is to be repaid with love. My love is all that I have to give in return. Love for myself and love for the world.
This doesn’t mean I’m running around hugging everyone. I’m not looking for a restraining order to be issued against me or anything. But what I see is that my love extends outward in small acts of kindness that arise with NO EXPECTATION of ANYTHING in return.
It may be taking two minutes to ask the cashier at the counter about her day instead of grumbling limited pleasantries and not making eye contact. It was the clerk at Macy’s who’s beautiful accent demanded an inquiry – and we talked momentarily about her home in Peru. There are a lot of these from the past 3 or 4 days…
In EVERY case – my love was mirrored back at me. Now – this is not an expectation that I have. My love is freely given to anyone open to receiving it. But so far, those moments of love have been returned unto me tenfold in the enlivened presence, broad smiles, and dancing eyes that I now see when I extend even the most basic of kindnesses to others.
There’s still this nagging doubt though. It is hard to explain – the best I can do is say that after 35 years of behaving a certain way, my brain is having difficulty coping with this new model of seeing. It eats away at my resolve constantly. EVEN WITH so many evidentiary experiences of undeniable proof that this is my path!
So how am I able to tame that doubt and keep it in check? For now, I use a set of reminders to myself.
On my left wrist I purchased and placed a cheap wooden bead bracelet with small symbols of the Buddha on it. Next to it, on the same wrist is my Fitbit Flex.
If I find myself absent from the moment – or absent of love – or disconnected from the world in some way, I remind myself to touch my bracelet. Doing so reminds me of the truth of the Buddha’s words and allows me to examine, in a flash, everything that I’ve seen to be true since waking up.
This reminds me of my truth. I then shift my attention to my Fitbit. Remember – my truth is “love is the only answer. Love for myself and love for the world”. I immediately reflect on the Fitbit being part of a commitment I’ve now made to loving myself fully.
The Fitbit represents a newly arrived at understanding that my body really is a temple. A vessel for my awareness and my consciousness to experience the world through. The Fitbit reminds me of the need to love myself through acts of self-kindness, like going to the gym and eating healthier, etc.
As I feel this love for myself flow, I am filled with it and am once more able to extend it outward again. It may be love for the floor that is holding me up, or love for the air that is feeding my lungs. Of perhaps it is love for beauty as I see things unfold around me.
In any case, once I have stepped my mind through this process, I am rejoined to the interconnectedness that we all share through the very nature of our interbeing. At that point – I’m good to go. It becomes love for everyone and everything again.
Yes – in some small way this is like a trick. But I see it more as a reminder. I see it as a return to the truth that is in my heart, which was temporarily dulled by the unrelenting pressure of doubt.
And – it works. This is how I live in the world now and how I return over and over and over again to a place of love. Love for myself and love for the world.