“Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote a wonderful book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, but perhaps it’s more accurate to say, ‘Wherever you go, here you are.’
At any given moment, whether you’re waiting at a stop light, waiting for a plane to take off, in line for a movie ticket, or getting ready to present at a meeting, here you are.
The truth is you’re never anywhere but here.
When we learn to embrace the hereness, all things come into place.”
~ Excerpt from Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler
All modes of suffering including anxiety, depression, trauma reactions and addictive behaviors arise from the brain’s very simple strategy of trying to get away from here.
If we can learn how to be okay with being here, a lot of the cycling of suffering will cease to exist.
However, there is a caveat. Here is not always the best place to be if we’re feeling too unstable emotionally. Trying to grit our teeth and be here when we’re in the midst of a panic attack or an extreme trauma reaction may only exacerbate the feeling, because there’s not a spacious container for it to process through. In that case, it’s perfectly okay to employ the “Great Art of Distraction.” Sometimes it can be quite skillful to turn to your IPad, the television or go on a walk while focusing on all the sights and sounds around us.
But if we feel a bit more stable and we can ride the edge of that window of tolerance, our brain begins to learn that it’s okay to be here and it doesn’t have to freak out or judge us so harshly.
In fact, there may be something to learn by being present to what’s difficult. I often quote the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi saying, “Don’t turn your gaze. Look toward the bandaged place, that’s where the light enters.”
Perhaps you learn how to apply the healing art of self-compassion and so the wound now becomes a teacher bearing gifts.
Try today to pause from time to time and just say, “Wherever I go, here I am.” Or just shorten it to say, “Her I am” and see what you notice.
You can learn to get better and better at being here in this life and open up to the wonders all around.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Woman on a rooftop image available from Shutterstock.