The Biggest Obstacle To Mindful Living Part One
The Biggest Obstacle To Mindful Living (and a Short Powerful Exercise That Will Help You Overcome It)
This is a short audio session of the Mindfulness Summit Journey. These 5-15 minute sessions are an exploration into some aspect of mindful living where I’ll share with you a poem, quote or story and then I’ll unpack the wisdom within it and give you an easy method to integrate that wisdom into your life.
In this episode we explore what is often referred to as the biggest obstacle to mindful living and I give you a way to begin to break free from this obstacle in your daily life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this exploration so feel free to share them with me and the community on Facebook & Twitter. I always love hearing from you.
This quote below, to me, speaks powerfully of the cost of getting caught up in this obstacle to mindful living. Please share this around (share links below the image) as a potent reminder of the preciousness of life and the importance of living today fully.
Ready to start your journey to leading a more mindful life?
Join over 250,000 others and register to receive exclusive member content, weekly exercises, quotes, meditations and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Upgrade to get full access to the Full Mindfulness Summit Journey including access to download & stream all expert interviews, presentations, meditation audios, video and separate audio meditation tracks (can download onto your phone to listen anywhere) & pdf transcripts of everything.
Get Full Access to The Mindfulness Summit Journey
Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page
Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com
G’day, it’s Melli O’Brien here and I’m going to say it feels so great to be reconnecting with The Mindfulness Summit community again in this way and to feel a sense of continuing journey.
Today I want to talk to you about something that’s often spoken about as being the biggest obstacle to conscious living, to mindful living. And this is something that we’re actually going to explore in the next month in various ways through interviews with experts, through blogs and little mindful reminders and also through ways that you can begin to explore this at home, in your own life and in your own mind.
If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been on this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour and day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments.
It’s just that if I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living my life so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle and a raincoat.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
and I would pick more daisies.
This second poem is anonymous. I don’t know who it was written by.
First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then I was dying to marry and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire.
And now I am dying..
And suddenly I realize I forgot to live.
Why do so many of us get to the end of our days and then look back with regret, feeling like we haven’t truly lived?
You know what tends to get in the way of living a really rich, full, meaningful human life? You know what tends to get in the way of mindful living, perhaps the biggest obstacle? Well, the Buddha stated probably about over 2,500 years ago that craving or more accurately attachment to craving is our greatest obstacle. Sometimes people say he’s quoted as naming craving as the root of all suffering.
Now craving, you know this might sound as quite of an obscure thing that you can’t really quite get your head around but craving makes itself manifest in the belief I need something more or the sense I need something more. You know that belief, right? It’s the one where we keep dreaming: I’ll be happy one day when… It’s the one that keeps us striving and struggling our ways through the days looking for the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, hoping that this next thing that we’re straining at will finally fill us up.
You know I’ve heard every version of this pesky belief and I’ve said a lot of them to myself too. Do any of these sound familiar? When I get this car… when I take this holiday… When I get this dress, this house… then I’ll feel happy and whole. When I get this job… When I achieve my potential… When I find the right person, which often then becomes when I get rid of this person… Or when I have kids, which often becomes when the kids leave home… Or when I retire, then I can finally relax and be at peace and find wholeness. Any of these sound familiar?
What’s your own story of I need something more? Maybe it’s a spiritual story. When I finally purify my mind, when I find enlightenment then I’ll finally find wholeness and fulfillment.
This unconscious belief is a doozie. It keeps us looking for fulfillment in the two places it can never be found – outside ourselves and in the future. You know in Buddhism they have a word for living in a state of constant craving, they call it samsara which translates into English as endless wandering. It’s a state where we continuously search and search for satisfaction and wholeness but we can never quite grasp it. It’s a game we can never win because we are looking for that wholeness and satisfaction, as I said, in the two places where it can’t be found. In other words, it;s a game we can’t win because we’re looking for those two things in the places they can’t be found and the truth is happiness can only ever be found – this happiness that I am talking about by the way, this sense of satisfaction and wholeness, that kind of happiness can only ever be found in the present moment and it arises from within.
You know this is the essential and radical message of all the world’s wisdom traditions that the wholeness that we tend to seek outside of ourselves is already here, if we would just stop and drop in more fully on what’s here to be seen and known in this moment.
So here’s my invitation for us, what if in this next week and continuing on from that, we might continue this journey further on, but what if in just this next week, this one week we explore what it’s like to let go of this constant craving, we step out of samsara. Now, I’m not saying stop doing and creating and doing the same things that you do everyday in your life. But I’m saying what if we explore a new way of living the same life that we’re already living, one where life is embraced and enjoyed moment by moment instead of using these moments as a means to an end and having the sense that they’re just passing us by.
So here’s our exploration: how do we stop this constant seeking? Well by simply recognising that there’s something more. Beliefs are just thoughts. We recognise them for what they are, they are just thoughts, they are not reality. They are not the truth. They’re not something we have to play out. They’re not something that has to make a life into a stressful series of tasks that we have to get done.
So here’s the task: each time we discover that belief arising, whatever you’re story is you know, I’ll get there when I’ve got the job, the achievement, the person, when I’ve got rid of the person, when the kids finally behave themselves – when we find that belief arising of I need something more , I just need one more thing before I can be whole, we can just smile at it. Drop it. Take a deep, slow conscious breath returning our awareness to the present moment and the miracle of life that’s unfolding right in the middle of our eyes. And each time we feel ourselves rushing, restless, pushing, struggling, striving we can do the same. We can just gently note, perhaps mentally if that’s helpful for you, ah restlessness is here and with a friendly, kindly awareness, you know with a kindly attitude, we can take that deep, slow, conscious breath and returning, returning, returning to this moment. Letting that breath bring you home. Letting this be a homecoming and in returning to ourselves and our life in this way we can make the discovery that there’s no such thing as a mundane moment. If we’d only open our eyes to see it more fully. And we can use this exploration perhaps to make the discovery that the peace, the satisfaction, the contentedness, the wholeness that we’re looking for is actually right here in our own heart and our own minds if we just stop and open our hearts just to feel it in that moment.
So this is such a critical skill, if you will, in mindful living – the noticing when we’re getting caught up and the coming back home with a kindliness and gentleness and easefulness and allowing the insight to naturally unfold as we notice more and more that what we’re looking for is right here. And making that discovery over and over and over and over again and in this way, you know something that we might have thought of as a setback before: this craving, this restlessness or discontent can actually become like a wake up call. They can actually become a beautiful ally on our path to more mindful living. So each time we notice the something more belief or each time we find the pushing and the struggling back, we can use that as a wake up call to take that slow conscious breath that brings you home to yourself and the present moment.
So we’re learning how to notice ourselves caught in samsara and instead of playing it out just stop, breathe and come home to the moment. So I’ll be taking this journey with you, this exploration with you over the next week and if you would like to share your experience of what’s happening to you on FaceBook or Twitter or email feel free to let me know how it’s going for you and I’d be so curious to hear about your journey. And I’ll touch base again next week with another little story and an activity to kind of keep you touching in on this awareness of craving. And then over the next month we’re really going to unfold some really beautiful interviews and blogs and content to continue to deepen our exploration into this. Enjoy the ride. See you next time
Leave a Comment
About Post Author
Leave a Reply Cancel Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
This is so timely. I say to myself I would be so happy living in Florida. I say it all the time. Do I want to be the person who in the end of life wonders why I wasn’t happy or satisfied? No, I do not want to be that person. So yay Mellie for today’s mindfulness reminder. There goes Florida living and I am happy. Deep breath, there it goes, and I am here in the present and content. Thank you.
Very Inspirational and clear, thanks so much.
It’s great to hear your voice again, Melli, and hear you offer more wisdom about mindfulness. It’s been a while since October last year and it will be good to have a few reminders – thank you so much
Thanks, Melli, so much for continuing to share ideas and insights through this new short audio format! What a great way to keep the thread alive and continue the teachings and sense of community established during the Mindfulness Summit. I look forward to many more moments with you and others in our “little” community.
Thanks so much Mellie! Great to be sharing the journey again and thank you for your genorosity at doing this all for free. It’s so helpful to feel part of a community and have something happening weekly like this. Your summit changed my life really in that I have become completely dedicated to mindfulness on a daily basis ever since. And what a happy journey!
I loved this, thankyou
I can see what you are saying and I say cool tho i do think that the constant reference to Buddha limiting. We do not have to be a Buddhist to practice Mindfulness right? and lots of other faiths deal with exactly the same issues as you have described . I am commenting I think maybe this emphasis on Buddhism is unintentional and maybe you don’t actually notice you have slipped into this…or maybe you have noticed. I just think its a shame because many people will feel what you are saying is not for them..when actually Mindfulness is for everyone…atheist..Jew …Christian..whoever. What about being inclusive?..or maybe actually non denominational so that nobody is left out…
My saying to Christians to consider is “Maybe this is heaven? What do you think Meil?
Thank you for activating the mindfulness summit again, Melli! I feel more calm and relaxed, taking deeper breaths just by hearing your voice ?
Reminds me of a quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
So very true! Living Life in the Breath of the Moment…
felt so reconnected hearing music tune at the beginning and your bubbly voice. Thank you for your time and generosity to share. Hong Kong
Very well spoken. You have an amazing gift at speaking in such a way that is thought provoking. This message is very timely to me. Thank you! I am looking forward to hearing more moments such as this.
Thank you. I needed this connection. I’ve strayed from my practice – or run from myself, really, would be a more accurate description. This made me feel more grounded and ready to dip my toe into being present again. I had a lot of trauma at the end of last year, and it’s become a habit to hurl myself through life rather than risk feeling anything. So thank you for this little nudge toward conscious living and a self-loving practice.
Thank you for sharing this wisdom that can gently guide us back to the center of awareness.
Thank you for this Melli, I really enjoyed your wisdom. Welcome back, it’s lovely to hear your voice again. I’m looking forward to hearing more of you. I need to get back into my mindfulness practice.
Wow,thank you so much for this short mindfullness reminder..for me its the Key to my sense of happiness and how easily i forget!!!!
Thank you for the reminders and your your clear wise way of delivering the message! You so Rock!!!
I would love to take an online class from you..I am in Salt Lake City,Utah.We have the beautiful mountains that remind me to come home to myself.
I just retired and have been struggling to feel “happy”.I have even contemplated taking antidepressants to feel..better…Now I understand its just another craving to want something different..I can see what stories i have been telling myself…THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME SEE WHATS REAL..NOW
I notice exercise and meditation help but it has to be combined with mind trainning and awareness! THank you,Mellie.with all my heart!!! Ally
Thank you, Allison. You so well expressed my story. I’m in Massachusetts and it’s beautiful here, too. I’m not fully appreciating all I have. I’m practicing, though, and that’s what it takes……….practice, practice and more practice.And thank you so much, Melli!
Thanks again for the opportunity to be enlightened and to grow Melli. You have a way of speaking that is so soothing but also thought provoking. I am so looking forward to this new journey!
Thank you again Melli.
Thank you Melli!
I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for you, as well as the teachings and offerings you have given the WORLD through this summit. Shine on!
Thanks Meli! so clearly explained and in a lovely calm manner 🙂
Wonderful to re-connect with you, Meli and your calming presence and wisdom. The message is clear and potent, and I appreciate its simplicity. Looking forward to next week’s offering!
Hello Melli, thanks for re-connecting. It is much appriciated:)
So very happy to be with you again x
Melli, so good to be back in touch and reminded to “just be”! Every morning when I look out my window to my flower garden I try to get centered and start my day with gratitude. Love these little sound bites. Appreciate you immensely! Have a great week.
Thanks Melli. I really needed this today, i actually needed it last week but that’s life ! Glad to be sharing the journey with you.
definitely there is a consciousness shift going on around the world.. maybe a transition moment from human beings to realized beings.. I have been struggling with these pattern thoughts for a while, and now I also realized I can’t find fulfillment in the future or anywhere outside.. but I still didn’t quite get rooted in the present moment and get taken away from thoughts and emotions throughout the day.. I fell like I am in a limbo many times, not completely asleep but not awake!!
but I am relaxed in general, letting it happen naturally..
thanks for sharing your perspective.. sending good vibes from Brazil!! 🙂
So glad to be hearing more of this. Much appreciated. Thanks so much Melli