The following is the seventh installment in a weekly series of reflections from one of our learners in the Beyond Mindfulness program. Each week, Noopur will recap her personal experience to give insight into her journey towards a more aware and intentional life. If you’re ready to start your journey in mindfulness, please get in touch. We’re here to help.
Hello lovely people!
How are you all today?
I am doing well, but I am also a bit sad. Though the journey beyond mindfulness will never end. Our six-week-long journey came to an end this weekend. And I am left a bit empty. It never felt like I was going for a class or was “studying” something. It always felt like I was having a conversation with a bunch of friends about life and together pushing our thresholds of thinking.
Even with the last session, there was so much I learned about myself and took back from the session.
A Failed Meditation Practice
Tracy took a wonderful meditation at the beginning of the session, but guess what? I was super restless. The first five minutes I found myself drifting mentally, and after that, there was a deep sense of awareness of all the physical things, the way my hair was touching my shoulder, the general heat in the room, the stiffness in my neck and shoulders, how uncomfortable my posture was. It felt like the silence and internal quiet made the voice of my body a lot louder. My body seemed to be screaming. It needed attention at that point. So I did what one would do in this situation. I decided to acknowledge my body and how I felt and tried to let go and refocus on my breath. At last, I caved in, I opened my eyes and started staring around me. When I shared this experience with my cohort. I was reminded that this was very normal while meditating. It just means one has to try to focus more. With time it gets easier to do. There will still be days of restlessness, but I will find my way out too. Definitely a good reminder at the start of the session.
Importance of Creation
Ever wondered what it means to create? Though somehow people (including myself) consider that creation has a lot to do with artistic things and the creation of art, is that all there is to it? What does it take to create? This was our discussion for this week. I do tend to wonder about these things quite often. What defines creativity? What makes an artist an artist? How does one become more creative? I don’t think these things have a fixed formula to them. But one thing I understand better now and that was also brought up in the session was the importance of play.
One of our cohort members shared this story about the origin of everything and said that there was no plan and a lot of play involved in it. That stayed with me. Play is a word that gets associated with either children or artists, a lot. It’s a word that comes without any baggage of judgment, fear, and restrictions. But is that actually true? Is there no play in other things that we do or have we forgotten how to notice it? This is less of a question for you and more a question for myself. Have I forgotten how to play? Or have I just compartmentalised it? A couple of things that are coming to my mind as I write this are. Nature is so playful. Each leaf on a plant looks different. Animals and birds make time for play during the day. Babies! I think babies are such a wonderful example of play! When they are learning to use their body, they move it in various ways, with different energies, and learn about it. They play with food, with items around them. So will I be wrong if I say everything is play, everything is art? I don’t think so. I remember watching this webinar on our channel where the guest speaker mentioned that in olden times when people lived in tribes, art and living were one and the same thing. They were never different. When I first heard this I thought it was very profound. I feel somewhere I started segregating life into pockets of this is creative, this is not. While creation truly stems from shedding every label and just playing, appreciating the process, the pain that comes with it, and the joy it brings.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ― Alan Watts.
A couple of months ago this quote was shared with me—I thought it was an interesting take to things. I usually find myself being very biased towards doing things I like or love and I can never even sense time while doing these activities. While there are things that I categorise as boring or just work, these things are what feel like I am climbing Everest. I know it’s not the thing that is that way, but the way I look at it that makes it feel that way. My thoughts about this months ago were maybe I haven’t found systems or ways to do this that are enjoyable to me. But how does one find enjoyment in the more monotonous things of life? For example, how do you find joy when you are washing dishes? I usually put on music to give me a nice distraction when I am doing dishes. But if someone told me to just do the dishes, I know it will be a lot harder to do it. The motion is repetitive, the process is the same, the only thing that does change is what I am washing, how does one “play” in a scenario like this?
The good news about this is that I think I found an answer for myself a couple of days after our last class. I was doing the dishes, visibly upset by the idea of doing it. Until I remembered our learnings from last class and I decided to just stay present and feel how the water felt on my skin, the way the bubbles formed on the plates, the way the water was hitting the sink. And truly it wasn’t as bad as I always thought it to be. Just observing the details shifted the way I felt about this whole experience.
If I had to give you my learnings in pointers they would be:
Focusing on the details- This can also help in being present.
Don’t label things- This was such a big eye-opener for me.
Doing spontaneous things- During the day, during something that I feel is getting too structured or planned.
Feeling curious and non-judgemental about my own curiosity- I feel this one is a big reminder for myself. I am allowed to be curious without feeling that what I am doing or saying or being is stupid, silly, or anything. And even if people think or look at it that way, I don’t need to internalise that voice.
This one is hard to write as a pointer but easier to explain as an example. When I start doing things I usually have this feeling that whatever I am doing has to be amazing, which adds so much pressure to things at times. It paralyses me. I don’t start doing things when I feel this way. But, when I let go of my resistance, start taking actions and flow with the moment, things are created on their own and I don’t need to apply any kind of force. When I look at the product with gentleness, I can easily see where things can be improved and appreciate what was created. What I am trying to say is to trust the process. Things happen on their own, in their time, it only takes patience and perseverance.
What if this was not only something we do for things we create, but also for the humans we live around? Not forcing things into templates, but seeing the potential of people as they are and helping them become better. Helping each other grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I feel when we really are able to do that in a way where we are in sync with our universe, there is no stopping us in moving Beyond Mindfulness.
Signing off for now!