Waking up

I hear the word mindfulness from my cousin. Google search and I could gather mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally. I really didn’t understand this. Analytical as I was, I tried to break the sentence into pieces and tried to understand more. How do you pay attention to the present? What is present? How do you do it non-judgmentally? I spent hours thinking about this. Read blogs trying to understand, but there was a shell that wouldn’t crack.

And then I found Mindfulness in plain english by Henepola Gunaratana. There is something about the way monks speak and write that leads to calmness even before you understand what they are saying. Imagine walking into a beautiful, calm monastery. It is easy on you. So quiet that you can hear the drops of water.

Mindfulness and concentration are the two key concepts in meditation, the book said. With concentration you gather all the rays of the sun on a piece of paper, and with mindfulness you notice distractions. Ah. I got fixated on bare awareness. As if saying the word bare awareness in my head would make me more mindful.

When a really cute girl looked at me and blushed and I felt pleasure and ease in my body, I realized I had landed on to something. Interactions with the opposite sex became the highlight of this phase of my journey. I had never before experienced pleasure in the moment without any physical contact. It was as if you do a dance with the person you are attracted to without explicit physical contact. They feel it, you feel it, and you both carry this state of mind to a happy day. My previous experiences with sex were plain mechanical, none of these beautiful sensations and never two individuals doing an instinctive dance together.

There was this sudden joy in existence. It slowly extended to enjoying food more, enjoying physical sensations of running and the runners high afterwards, and I started enjoying listening to people without interrupting them with my story. I planned a trip to Canada and discovered the joys of using Airbnb to find a place to stay. I thought I had found a traveler in me. I wanted to travel. To Iceland next. Spain. This was happiness like never before.

But with all great experiences comes a road block.  Global events. Paris. My sense of positivity soon dissolved into deep anxiety. Instead of looking for new experiences, I wanted to find a place I feel at home. I planned my trip to India to visit my family. This visit to India was amazing. I noticed details, I wouldn’t notice otherwise. I observed how people across the world are fundamentally not that different. If you remove culture, and notice the vibes, and basics of communication, it is the same thing. Regardless of what mind (ego) makes us believe, deep down all we want is to feel connected.

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