“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”
– Alan Watts
Mindfulness meditation has no goal other than for you to pay attention to the way you are in the moment. Do not grasp for a particular state of mind. Just watch, and allow yourself to experience anything and everything from moment to moment.
- Meditation has no goal other than for you to be yourself. You are not trying to become someone else. You are enough.
- Paying attention to how you are right now – however that it. You are not trying to change anything, just observe.
- The paradox of mindfulness is that the best way to achieve your goals is to back off from striving and instead start to really focus on carefully seeing things as they are moment by moment. In this way, movement towards your goals will take place by itself.
- In meditation, when we strive, we create tension and a sense of self criticism, this can get in the way of our practice.
In meditation it might be better to think of this as balanced effort. Sometimes when we meditate, we try too hard and we can become tense; at other times we make too little effort and become a bit vague and unfocused. We may be able to feel the difference in our bodies. Do you feel tense or do you feel sluggish? When meditating we need to make a relaxed effort – and this needs regular calibration.
non-striving in practice
I have to admit, I am a striver. I have been accused of being a workaholic. Challenging this, for me means learning to take time out for myself. I even put fun things on my ‘to-do’ list. At the end of a day, I try to remind myself of what I have achieved, rather than focusing on everything I have yet to do. We will never get everything done, and even if we do it won’t be perfect. Non-striving means accepting our imperfections as part of being human.
Ironically, often the less we strive, the more we are able to achieve.