Passion on the swirl
Happiness, it’s true, does come from within. I would never deny that, but looking forward to the small things along the way is the passion on the swirl! Words and photography by Mark Abriel
Everyone is looking for a key to happiness. Well, for me, it’s not just one key, it’s many – and one of them is to always have something to look forward to, even if it’s just a little thing, like waiting on something to arrive in the mail, or for the surf to get good.
Every Wednesday morning, where I live on the NSW north coast, there’s a market. The benches are filled with produce freshpicked that morning, mostly organic: lady-finger bananas, mangoes, pumpkins, sorrel.
Produce markets probably haven’t changed much in hundreds of years. In our age of mobile phones, cars and internet, wandering through the produce stalls with only a hessian sack is walking back through time, to the pleasures of a simpler age.
After I’ve loaded up with bunches of basil, avocados, grapes and whatever else I can carry back to the car, I walk over to a little bakery stall. I peer in to the wooden glass-covered shelves, to see if there are any of my favourites left: passionfruit swirls and light pastries covered in slices of bright green kiwi fruit and blueberries. It’s all organic, made with fresh butter, and sea salt, a real testament that food that looks and tastes amazing can also be good for one. I usually arrive at the end of the market, and the lady that bakes the desserts always gives me a special deal on whatever is remaining: it’s just a little thing on life’s journey, but it’s one I always look forward to!
Happiness, it’s true, does come from within. I would never deny that, but looking forward to the small things along the way is the passion on the swirl! ■
Dr. Mark Abriel graduated from Life Chiropractic College, in Marietta, Georgia, USA. He is the director of Byron Bay Holistic Chiropractic.
Mindfulness has become the ‘ flavour of the decade’ amongst meditation practices, but has its meteoric rise in popularity resulted in its ‘ dumbing down’?
Has some of its exquisite subtlety and simplicity been reduced to a mere relaxation technique or a personal development tool? It would be a great pity, because mindfulness meditation, appropriated from ancient Buddhist roots, has so much more potential for deep healing and spiritual awakening. Its simplicity and ‘ordinariness’ belie its profundity. Yes, mindfulness is a very skilful stress management tool, but there’s much, much more on offer!
We often hear mindfulness meditation ‘marketed’ as a way of:
being more in the present moment, coming to your senses, getting out of your head and becoming more fully engaged in everyday activities.
Originally, mindfulness meditation was designed to address a case of mistaken identity. The mistake is identifying with a mind-constructed ‘me’, i.e., an image of self, and then taking that image too seriously. The image of self is made up of histories, dramas, unhealed wounds and defences. The image is not the real me. It is a mental construct made up of memory and imagination, and maintained by excessive thinking.
However, by simply choosing to repeatedly shift our attention to an experiential reality, in the present moment (i.e., being mindful), we can soften our attachment to our image. The past loses some of its power over us. The present becomes more attractive, more compelling and the confidence grows to face it.
From my experience, if you continue to meditate beyond the obvious benefits, the practice becomes subtler and more infused with insight, tenderness and mystery. Your practice becomes a spiritual journey to higher levels of awareness. Beautiful qualities of being develop naturally: compassion, courage, forgiveness and kindness.
You begin to contact your inner wisdom, integrity and discrimination. Your mind becomes more spacious and less reactive as equanimity develops.
You see great beauty in small things and, sweetest of all, you experience ‘happiness for no good reason’. Spontaneous joy brings a smile to your face, a song to your heart and a spring to your step.
Yet, the greatest blessing that grows from mindfulness practice is FREEDOM. The weight of the past lifts. Mindfulness meditation is a journey of liberation… and all from the skilful act of choosing to be present! n
Paul Bedson, Senior Therapist and Retreat Facilitator at the Yarra Valley Living Centre, Victoria.