“The greatest masters are not necessarily the ones who detach from the world and their bodies, but instead are those who manifest their spirituality into their bodies.” – Michael Mirdad
Have you ever felt, what seemed like, a conflict between your spiritual nature and your human nature? For years, I did; I felt an ongoing struggle: a conflict between my need to live a spiritual life and to deal with the every-day realities of my human existence. I have benefitted from many spiritual teachings and, as a result, embraced living more from my heart, and less from my head. Still, I am often left wondering: is it really an either/or proposition, or is it more about learning to live each day from a balanced perspective of both? Can I live as a spiritual being whom is acutely aware of my human self – my physicality, my mind, and my body?
I realised, recently, that my early endeavour to learn about mindfulness living and to incorporate the practice of meditation into my life, was an escapism exercise: I was relying on mindfulness and meditation to escape the stress and pressures of life; to escape hurts and disappointments I experienced in my past; and to escape anxieties about the future. I appreciated the resulting reductions in my stress levels, and I was motivated by my increasing ability to respond to life instead of reacting to… well… everything! But, something felt like it was missing; not-quite-right. Then it occurred to me… balance was what was missing.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
So, how do we address this? How do we find and maintain balance?
On the one hand, we can learn to minimize the chaos in our lives by letting go of what does not serve us well: our thoughts and thought patterns, our negative emotional responses, our perspectives, our opinions, our aspirations, and anything else that we cling to irrationally. Consciously letting go helps reduce the stress we feel in our daily lives. Letting go helps us to begin developing our inner sense of peace and tranquility. Meditation was and is a key technique I use: meditation assists me to consciously let go and to find my inner senses.
On the other hand, living mindfully means connecting with and being present in the here and now – this very moment, and each moment as it unfolds. It might mean ending our resistance to that ‘which is’: those inevitable realities of life over which we have little or no control. It might mean that we do need to connect with our physical selves, our minds and bodies; our physical senses, our thoughts and emotions, and our physical surroundings. We also need to learn to express ourselves more creatively, and to participate more fully in our physical realities (our families, our friends, our co-workers, and our communities). We need to connect to our relative self.
Grasping the difference between letting go and connecting with my own relative self was difficult and confusing for me, almost contradictory… at first. Then, I returned to the idea that our present experiences are always two-sided: consisting of both our relative existence (body and mind) in this time and space; and, our conscious awareness (from our hearts and in our spirits) of our very existence; our ability to move effortlessly from day-to-day in the greater field of groundless existence (or, more simply, a non-objectified sense of separate self).
I was learning a lot, no doubt, but I found myself searching, almost frantically, for a way out of what felt like a disjointed and confusing haze: I needed to reconcile these ‘realities’ in a way that encouraged and cultivated a sense of harmony, ease and balance. I realized that what was missing was my willingness to surrender: to surrender my whole self/Self, both mind-body and heart-spirit to ‘what was’, ‘what is’ and ‘what will be’.
Surrender comes with recognition and acceptance that our body-mind is impermanent: we are always changing; we evolve; we are ultimately temporary. Surrender comes with gratitude and living from a soul-centred place: appreciating who we really and ultimately are; embracing an eternally conscious awareness that manifests physically.
Surrender starts to emerge when we approach and enter into meditation with a truly open mind and heart. It becomes our natural way of being when we approach all of life, the good and the difficult, with the same open mind and heart; when we allow everything to ‘be’ without resistance, and without clinging. This is when our lives begin to find harmony, balance and inner tranquility, regardless of what is happening in any given moment.
When we allow ourselves to surrender, to yield to our heart-spirit reality, we allow ourselves to be consciously aware of and to live in the present moment, and what emerges for us is space for flow, for harmony, and for peace to come to us naturally and effortlessly.
Balanced harmony is possible for all of us when we acknowledge and embrace both sides of who we are: we are cosmic miracles of life that temporarily manifest in physical and mental forms; and we are ever-present ‘spiritual’ beings for whom conscious awareness is eternal.
I breathe in with an open mind. I breathe out with an open heart.
Breathing in, I mindfully acknowledge the physical world in which I exist.
Breathing out, I let it all go, surrendering to the infinite potential of the cosmos.
Author Bio – Paul Kenney has contributed to DailyZen before ‘Rewiring Your Brain Through Mindfulness And Meditation‘. A devoted meditator, Paul believes in the integration of mind, body and spirit as necessary for healing and bringing about physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness. Through meditation, he believes anyone can develop the ability to be heart-centred and live in gratitude, joy and peace, despite past or current trauma and life struggles.