THE JOURNEY FROM MINDLESSNESS TO MINDFULNESS
It was a year characterized by T.o.o. M.u.c.h.
It seemed like I had been deeply involved with some work and when I looked up from what I was doing suddenly I saw I was in a flood of all the things I had been habitually piling into my life (and my wardrobe, calendar, suitcases, head). Without realizing, I had been in a life of B.u.s.y.- accumulating, wasting, spending, distracting.
It made me sad and a little bit sick to see that I had been in a mental version of a quicksand- slowly sinking and straying far from the centre where connection, creativity and wellbeing lie.
This sounds grim but in truth it felt perfectly ordinary. Until one day I woke up.
I saw that I had replaced heart-pleasures and deep human connections for mental constructs- recognition, income, travel destinations.
I took a piece of paper and wrote in essence a 5 sentence manifesto that I called
The Sufficiency Project.
It was my acknowledgement that where I had gone was not where sufficiency lay and what I wanted was not stuff but sufficiency.
Intuitively I sensed that Sufficiency was an innate human quality that just exists in people. I, like many others, had somehow overridden and ignored that natural sense of “enough” and had gotten trapped in the sense of ‘more’ and ‘not enough’.
This was my ride back home.
Spontaneously, from a kind of simple knowing of when I had been my happiest, I jotted down 4 principles that would be my Guiding Principles for the project. They were:
In Quietness are All Answers Found
A Change of Mind = A Change of Life
Outer Movement Creates Inner Space
Connection Heals the Human Heart
I called these The Sufficiency Principles. They were simple reminders, touchstones to reflect on and to light the way back when I got lost.
- The Source of creativity, resilience, connection and healing is present and accessible to us and brings to the surface many insights we can use to move us forward in a helpful direction. Answers come not from scrambling but from stillness.
- For real change, I need to look away from (my) Life as the cause of my suffering and look to (my) Mind where I will find both the source and the solutions to my problems.
- Simple outward actions in the direction of what I want – giving away an item a day, a long device-free walk, making time for conversations- create a kind of inner space. The Outside and the Inside are One.
- Somehow, connection is central to this all. Connection to people and humanity, connection to nature and the planet, connection to the invisible intelligence of life- the Source of everything. In any true transformation, this element is unmistakably present. What we really crave is an opening of the heart. We can try to fill it by counting Facebook Likes, blog stats, a new pair of shoes, a luxury vacation but really- REALLY- all you want is a simple experience of connection.
These four realizations led me to have deep respect and curiosity for the Nature of Life and our place in it.
Somehow I could see that this is a more benevolent place than we have made it out to be.
I found that a Sense of Sufficiency is at the heart of living well, creating harmonious communities and doing our part for a future that is worthy of the planet and of humanity.
People called it many things- wellbeing, inner peace, heart-centered, a loving space…when we spoke, we knew we are all talking about the same thing.
People tell the truth in many different ways.
That was many years ago and in the decade or so since I first wrote these 4 tenets down, I have seen them transform my work, my friendships, my sense of the potential of people and more. Every time I have been stuck, I have witnessed yet another mental barrier dissolve and a fresh possibility emerge.
It’s wonderful that I don’t have to be in-charge of this. It is build into the very fabric of life- when you inquire, in stillness, you will find what you need.