“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Modern life offers many benefits, such as medicine and communications, yet mankind is confronted by its biggest challenges. At one time, we could predict how life might be in ten to twenty years, now we face great uncertainty and for many of us, increased anxiety. 2020 and the many unpredictable events we experienced demonstrated this with great clarity.
Has there ever been a time when possessing an inner-stillness while holding hope for the future has been more important?
There is an inherent tension between NOW and the FUTURE, between being present and conceptualising. Awareness of this tension, this attentional tug of war and how we respond to it is key to solving our problems and to our personal and planetary wellbeing.
Meditation is the ideal training ground for cultivating an awareness of the tension and developing the composure required to respond wisely and think clearly about our difficulties.
An illustration for this tension can be seen in parenting.
Effective parenting involves being wholly present with the child; this is when we truly connect with them and become aware of who they are and the person they are becoming; we gain insight into their needs, wants and how we can facilitate their growth.
I ascribe to the notion that children spell the word love, “T…I…M…E”, however, simply being with them for extended periods is not enough. Time, effort and consideration are required to plan and decide how we can best guide them and nurture their spirit.
My wife and I always had the parenting intention of having close Adult-Adult relationships with our children (I’m a massive fan of Transactional Analysis!). Yes, we want them to fulfil their potential and be successful but most importantly, we want to be close to them. This demands that we are present AND that we consistently update our thinking and strategies in order to realise our vision.
Beyond parenting, I believe we have an opportunity to face all of our challenges with hope by embracing this tension with mindful awareness and applying all of our remarkable intellectual and conceptual abilities.
Tension is a wonderful thing, as long as it is held in awareness. For it is from the struggle that creativity, new ideas and new solutions emerge.
This is where the practice of meditation comes into its own.
(The above is material from the book “Unzenable”)
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Learning to live well, despite the tough times, is key to being happy and fulfilled. This is what this blog is all about.