Today in yoga class I was struck for a few moments by the miracle of the body: by what a marvelous, phenomenal, generous gift I had been given. That what Mary Oliver refers to as the “soft animal of your body” in her poem, “Wild Geese,” was given to me to inhabit so that I could have the experience of life. It is so easy to judge our bodies. To worry about them, resent them, struggle with them. For a few minutes I was blessed with the sweet simplicity of seeing the gift we have each been given.
I once heard in a 12 Step meeting, “I’ve been around these rooms for 35 years. The bad news is that every five years I got a new set of problems. The good news is that they were always higher quality problems.” There’s a lot of truth in this. We learn and grow, and our baseline awareness of our wellbeing, our capacity, our potential increases. Overall, we are doing better. At the same time, life continues to happen. We continue to experience ups and downs. If we focus on the ups and downs, we can overlook the fact that, overall, we really have made progress.
Why is it that the very insights we are so clear about needing are the ones that prove so elusive? Could it be that when we pre-specify an insight we’ve actually stopped looking for new thought?
A true insight is a fresh way of seeing. When we assume in advance that we know what we need, how it will feel when we get it, and how it will change our lives, we’re not really looking for insight at all. Insight comes when we open our minds and hearts and wills to what the Universe is actually serving up in the moment.
Contentment is connection with inherent wellbeing, resilience, and resourcefulness. Far from being a passive retreat from the problems of the world, it is the foundation for deep engagement.
Resilience is part of your nature, and the more deeply you see that, the more easily you will access that resilience.
In a recent episode of The Daily Show, Senator Cory Booker contrasted going through life as a thermometer or a thermostat. The thermometer is at the effect of circumstances; the thermostat has an inherent capacity to adjust, adapt, and respond. As human beings, we can not only do that, we can learn and evolve. Remembering that can make all the difference.