Always, everyday, there are so many choices. And just beyond that, there is something driving those choices we make. I walk into a room, and something grabs my attention: do I tend to it now or do I shrug it off in favor of another activity? Too often I just say, “Oh, I’ll take care of that later” and head off to do something more urgent or more indulgent. And then later, when it comes up again, do I do it now or choose to put it off again? I mean, what is it that keeps drawing my attention to those things anyway? There are thousands of other things in my surroundings that I simply don’t take notice of: Why that thing? Why now? What is it that it is here to teach me?
While we certainly can’t immediately tend to every little thing that draws our attention, it is important to recognize that there is something unique about those things that draw our attention. The thing itself is just a symbol of something deeper. Everything that is in our lives can help reveal something about ourselves if we just see past the object to the subjectiveness of the object or overall situation.
It is important to recognize our patterns of resistance and indulgence. I mean, face it: indulgence is typically only really indulgent if there are other things you “should” be doing instead. The more off limits you make something in your mind, the more indulgent it becomes when you do give yourself over to it. It is selfish decadence at it’s best. “There are so many other things I should be doing, but I just really want to be doing this right now.” And then when that moment is over, you’re still left with all those other things that needed done, but now you have less time and more stress.
What I have found is that if a couple times a day, even for maybe only fifteen minutes, I give myself over to those things that I would otherwise put off, and I do it in an open and willing spirit, I find more peace and fulfillment than I ever could by doing whatever else I wanted to do instead. In those moments, I get insights into questions that have been plaguing me, or I get filled with a sense of aliveness and gratitude. And just having those experiences a couple times a day helps me meet the rest of the events in my day from a point of calm rather than chaos. Rather than limit meditation practices exclusively to sitting in stillness, I make those experiences into my meditation.
And when I open myself up to the lesson that the things in my life have for me, I quickly realize the reason an activity drew my attention had nothing to do with what needed to be done and everything to do with simply providing me an opportunity to stop resisting for a few minutes. In that surrender, I have found more clues leading me towards more fulfillment than I ever could have found at any level of indulgence.
So whether what it is you resist is putting something where it belongs or leaving things where they don’t, recognize the resistance and then do it anyway. The next time something grabs your attention, if you’re fortunate enough to catch yourself in the moment of resistance, surrender to it instead and see what you find hidden within that surrender. You may just find peace, and maybe even joy, and from those platforms you will find clarity to see what really needs done and the empowerment to do them.