20 Be Present

by Suzanne L Beenackers/ LS Harteveld

I never really GOT it, the whole Mindfulness thing. Personal development without heroism? Without myth, without hearts, rainbows, incense or bronze dancing Shiva statues? Not my thing. I like the drama of crossing swords; the danger of a treacherous road, and the excitement of demons lurking in the shadows. I don’t need that stripped bare to “it’s only thoughts” and “observe your feelings”. Just like I wouldn’t enjoy someone in Disneyland yelling “It’s all fake!”
Maybe. But my experience is real.

When I visited Disney World I was with my late father and sister. We were all grown ups, but were adamant to visit everything with a cart, and found ourselves on Mister Todds “Wild Ride”. Now, in my defense: my sister and me had just barely survived Snow White’s Castle, where the witch had scared the living daylights out of us, jumping at us from behind trees and hiding behind every corner. We had spend an hour waiting in line at Mister Todds, but the nerves were still on edge.  Our father took one cart earlier, and my sister and me anxiously took the trip. It wasn’t scary at all. That was nice. We took the last corner and went through the final room, which we recognized because you could see a glimpse of that while standing in line. We let out a big sigh with relief. We made it. Just as we went through the last door, our father jumped at us from the dock yelling: “Boo!!”
And my sister and me shrieked so hard, all 500 people waiting could hear it. And they all started clapping their hands for my father. Who then took a bow, in appreciation of his audience.

The similarity between mindfulness and really fun moments in your life is that you are completely in the moment. You are present. And it is this quality, that makes the moment so special and bright. The other way round, when you re suffering, part of the suffering is caused because you resist it. Because you’re not present, and you re mind is going “I hate this, I don’t want to be here, how did I end up here? I m never going here again” et cetera.
If in that same situation, you would open your eyes, and your mind, and your being, to connect with the moment and the people you’re with (f.e. your dentist or your doctor or the inlaws) in that moment, a great deal of your suffering would immediately disappear.

And then if someone yells Boo! you will still be stunned, but it will not leave scars, or grudges. And you might even remember it 25 years later, as a pleasant experience.

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