If you missed the bus, what would you do?
A fairy godmother who waves a magic wand to shower you with blessings is hard to find these days, but mindfulness can transform your life just as easily.
I’ll give a practical example.
Have you ever missed a bus?
I bet you can recall the anxiety caused by the sight of the bus already at the stop a few hundred metres away. The last minute sprint that would’ve had better results if you’d been wearing runners instead of city shoes. The pain in the chest caused by your lungs finding new limits. The surge of hope as the bus continues to be motionless, followed quickly by despair as it indicates, finds a gap in the traffic, and pulls away.
You stand there on the pavement, bent at the waist to catch your breath. You feel silly, annoyed, and angry with yourself for the extra five minutes spent between warm sheets that made you late. You fume inwardly at the way the day is unfolding, and avoid eye contact with those who saw your frantic, foolish, fruitless dash.
As you check the schedule posted on the bus stop to see how long it’ll be before another one turns up, you stew on the fact that once again you’re running late for life. You’re not where you should be.
You’re stressed. You’re emotional. And you have a problem.
Can the magic wand of mindfulness change the situation?
Deepak Chopra wrote in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success:
This moment is as it should be, because it took the entire universe to make this moment. When you struggle against this moment, you struggle against the entire universe. You can intend for things to be different in the future, but in this moment, accept things as they are.
So if Deepak Chopra missed the bus, what would he do?
He wouldn’t struggle against the fact. He wouldn’t become stressed or see it as an insurmountable problem. He’d probably stand there, breathing heavily and mopping his brow with a red handkerchief while accepting the reality that the bus is missed. The moment for getting on that bus is gone forever. It’s not coming back. He would accept what is, without judgment or expectation, and in a calm state consider what to do next.
He could hail a taxi, walk briskly to his destination, wait for the next bus, call a friend to pick him up, or go home and slip between the sheets again.
If he expressed any emotion it may be in the form of laughter. Laughter sends ripples of joy out into the world, and, let’s face it, city streets in the early morning could do with more joy.
So, next time you miss the bus (or things don't seem to be going your way in life), don’t fight the entire universe that has spent the past billion years working on this freshly minted moment. Try bringing the magic wand of mindfulness to it.
Mindfulness removes stress quicker than any pill. It releases you from pointless emotions and provides you with an opportunity to turn what you’d usually see as a problem into an opportunity to pursue other possibilities.
Many people regard mindfulness as vague, impractical and for other people.
But mindfulness is precise, practical, and for you.
With love, Marlane