Mindfulness is the worst. I’m serious. It has single-handedly forced me to face reality and accept that so much of my suffering is of my own making. I can’t sit around pointing fingers anymore. I can’t wait around for other people to change or fulfill me. I can’t hit the easy button and pretend that my unproductive habits will fix (read: ignore, numb, avoid) my pain. I can’t just implode and wallow in my own misery without also witnessing myself imploding and wallowing in my own misery.
The worst, I tell you.
Unfortunately, there’s no going back. Once you open the lid to Pandora’s Box, you can’t shut it and pretend you don’t see. As my friend Shoshanna says, “Once you know, you can’t not know.”
But here’s the thing about mindfulness: it’s the first step towards making real change. It’s a painful but crucial catalyst, because on some sick, sadistic level you have to watch the train wreck of your own self-imposed suffering for as long as it takes you to finally say ENOUGH. It’s like the pain has to do its work on us—it has to corrode our resistance. Then, as Revered Carrera wrote in his translation of the sutras, “the pain of holding a hot pot outweighs our desire to hold it” and we choose a different way forward. This is tough stuff. This, to me, is the real yoga. Asana is great and all, but only if it holds up a mirror and helps us see ourselves clearly; if not, it’s just part of our problem.
My point is this: don’t give up. Keep practicing. Practice helps us cultivate the courage and strength to transform mindfulness into right action. Don’t be afraid of the work. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s so worth it—to realize that if we change our state of mind, we can change our reality. Even if nothing changes, we can change, and that’s everything. Keep your eyes open and face the music because it’s the only way in. It’s the only way h(OM)e.