“A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent on arrival.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Mostly we do not want to feel uncomfortable. We don’t feel we are ok when we are angry, sad, fearful or anxious. So when some of these feelings arise, we try to do anything to make them go away: pray, do yoga, go to the movies, meditate, go to therapy. This is how the self- betterment project begins. Very often we never stop long enough to ask who or what are we trying to improve. If we can pause long enough to be with what is, the inner world is validated, the present moment is honoured for what it is, and we gain a deeper understanding of what psyche is attempting to communicate. We call this act of pausing, listening, and noticing, mindfulness, which is the ability to be present to whatever is occurring in the moment. Only then we have an opportunity to discover that feelings and thoughts are passing and they are not who we are. For me, both meditation and psychotherapy are not about self-improvement they are an invitation to take time out to get in touch with what needs to be heard, to experience our fundamental okayness.
Being with what is doesn’t mean we don’t make changes. It means that we stay with what is long enough to experience it. Then we respond.