I wake up. I check my phone. I eat a crappy bowl of cereal. I go to class. Check my phone. I go to work. Check my phone. Go meet friends. Worry about tomorrow. Go to dinner. Check my phone. Hear the stories. Complain about work. Check my phone. Eat more shitty food. Go do more work. Check my phone. Go to bed. I wake up. And check my phone. I keep going, never stopping to breathe, never stopping to see this moment. Before I know it, months have gone by. Where did that time go?
It’s easy to lose track of time. It’s easy for your mind to get cluttered with so many things going on. We are constantly bombarded with things and looking toward the future, never really paying attention to what is going on now. Even when we get a “break”, we really don’t because our mind is again distracted by the constant updates we receive on our phones, which aren’t relevant to us most of the time. Things get jumbled up, we lose sense of moments, and we forget to pay attention to ourselves and our bodies. Oftentimes, the mental stress takes a toll on our bodies, and vise versa. When this happens, we put ourselves in danger of spiraling and reaching a point of exhaustion or dysfunction.
Today, it seems as though we are never satisfied with the present moment. We get all these chances in between life’s busy events to just be present with our thoughts and ourselves, yet we don’t because we have the distraction of social media in the palm of our hands. We never stop to think and look around, we are continually simulating our mind with entertainment and something resembling social contact. And then we wonder why we are constantly tired, and constantly stressed. At our deepest points we question why it is we are doing what we are doing. Rarely do people know what it is to be at peace. What we must realize is that it is all interconnected—what we take into our bodies physically and mentally, how we balance what we spend our time doing, and how conscious we are of life itself.
The trick to finding peace isn’t to try finding it at all, but to simply be at peace. Some people meditate or do yoga, but there are more than just classical methods that exist to still the mind and work the body. Tranquility in life means not just mental peace, but physical peace as well. This can come in many ways, but is most often associated with pure being—so pure, we often fail to notice when we are in these peaceful states. When you drink water after being thirsty for a long time, when you climb a mountain and sit to rest at its peak, when you read a book for a few hours to finally finish it and put it down. All these events culminate in pure awareness of the moment. This, in Buddhism, is known as passaddhi manifest—the calmness in the mind and body, the silence and tranquilization of agitation. The more you do, the more you commit to what it is you do, the easier it becomes to find yourself in such tranquil states of being.
This physical body is temporary. Not only this, but what we can actively do with this body is even more limited. The body will one day decay by means of natural processes, so why speed up the inevitable? Why not use it to experience life as what we biologically are, animals? Go climb, run, swim, hug, meditate, make love, do yoga, and enjoy the activities you love. It not only improves your mental health, but helps you see just how blessed you are to have such a versatile vessel to experience this conscious existence with. Meditation comes in many forms: we can sit, swim, surf, skate, climb, fly, paint, and so forth. Anything that brings you to this present moment, a state of pure serenity upon what is in that moment, is meditation on the deepest of levels. When we can purify our minds, a pure life follows naturally.\
Art by: Julianna Sy