"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, & allowing it to emerge" - Eckhart TolleMany people would identify themselves as "not religious but spiritual." To me, being spiritual means devoting life of daily spiritual "exercises." Like muscle, these virtues will strengthen over time when exercised, but not to be fooled by the competitiveness that is of-this-world, as these virtues are already within us at all times. All I need to do is to bring it out more and more into my way of life.
Such spiritual exercises are daily gratitude journal and meditation. These are exercises that I do daily to "remind" myself of who I really am: not my role as a mother, daughter, wife, employee, parent, or others. These exercises can seem mundane -- what's the point of giving thanks over and over and over again, or sitting quietly while watching mind chattering like bantering Minions.
What makes these exercises far from mundane is the fruit that I reap every now and then. Just like an apple fell suddenly from the tree, hitting Issac Newton's head, the fruit of spiritual practices are sudden yet bright moment of enlightenment. Issac could easily curse at the apple for giving him the goose egg, or, instead, he discovered one of the most fundamental theory of Physics.
Some may call this grace. In Zen Buddhism, this is called Satori. These fruits are but a moment, but when come, they are sweet as heaven itself. Pretty soon, the sweetness lingers and starts to permeate everything that I do. This is how transformation starts: some worries slowly disappear, some solutions find themselves out of problems, petty nuisances become reminder of how good life really is.
Here are some fruits that I reaped this week:
- A surge of patience when the Tod was especially testy -- somehow I found it within me not to yell at him, yet redirecting him patiently, avoiding saying things that I would later regret.
- Blessings that comes in the form of opportunities to exercise my creativity.
- A sudden burst of appreciation of people around me, even those who I don't know personally yet contribute to making my daily life a more enjoyable one: friends who introduced us to yet another friends, bus driver who said hi to the Tod, the grocery clerk who asked if the Tod has had his choice of free fruit of the day, Tod's preschool teacher who asked me, "How are you doing? No, really, how are you?"
- I used to be able to paralyze myself to sleepless nights, thinking and worrying about things I've said and done to some people. Now I found myself doing it less and less.
- A realization that lessons in life do not have to be "bad" lessons or wake up calls. Life gets really friendly when I go with the flow and noticing the little stuff, rather than choosing to indulge in "unconsciousness" of it.
Maybe the gift comes in a form of a taxi when you need it, or your being ok waiting for it. Maybe the gift comes from the green light so you won't have to hit the break. Maybe the gift comes from noticing the small gifts along the way. Isn't life a great adventure?
Sending you all many blessings for this week. Please come back and share with us your discovery of the fruits of gratitude.