Tap Your Inner Resources Using Mindfulness

March 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are of little importance compared to what lies within us.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ruby SlippersMost of us are familiar with fictional tale “The Wizard of Oz.” In this story, a twister picked up Dorothy’s Kansas house, with her inside, and carried it to the Land of Oz.  Dorothy’s mission throughout the remainder of the adventure was to return home.  The residents of Oz suggested that she follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City in order to find the Wizard, who supposedly would help her return.

Along the way she met companions: the Scarecrow, who was convinced his life would be better if he only had a brain; the Tin Man, who desired a heart; and the Lion, who believed he was deficient of courage. Each of these characters thought that he was lacking something and put his faith in the legendary Wizard to give him what was missing.  However, when they finally reach the Emerald City, their expectations were shattered to find an unsympathetic Wizard. Nevertheless, as they continued the journey, each one illustrated the quality he felt was most absent: the Scarecrow demonstrated wisdom, the Tin Man embodied tenderness, and the Lion behaved bravely.  In each case, they revealed that they had those inherent virtues the whole time, but they just weren’t adept at accessing them in the beginning.  The Wizard, who turned out to be a charlatan, could only present the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion with outward symbols in recognition of their qualities: a diploma, a medal, and a testimonial, respectively.  The Wizard wasn’t able to give them anything they didn’t already possess.

And, what about Dorothy; she still hadn’t found a way home to Kansas?  When the Wizard’s hot air balloon finally sailed away from Oz without her, Dorothy believed her last option for returning was lost.  Yet, auspiciously, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, appeared once again. Glinda informed Dorothy that she didn’t need to be helped any longer.  In fact, Dorothy always had the power to go back to Kansas, but she had to learn it for herself.

Mindfulness practice often follows much the same journey.  When first arriving at this practice, many of us have been seeking solace, fulfillment, and security from sources outside of ourselves; to provide what we believe to be lacking or to fill perceived holes in our lives.  Yet, we have not found satisfaction in those attempts.  In contrast, as we cultivate mindfulness skills, we find a greater ability to bring our attention to our own experience, rather than searching externally.  In doing so, we essentially develop the capacity to come into closer contact with our intrinsic nature, to find our way home.  Reconnecting with our inner wisdom, heart, and courage is possible. Buddha is commonly quoted as having said, “Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.”  We realize we always have had this power. We just needed to learn how to access it.  And, essentially, the way we do this is by bringing our awareness into the present moment, rather than unconsciously becoming engaged in distractions, either outside of ourselves or in our own mind.  Bringing your attention to the present moment is the equivalent of Dorothy clicking her heals together and saying, “There’s no place like home.”

“it is here
in the breath
it is here
in the stillness between breaths
it is here
in the active mind
it is here
in the resting mind
it is here
in the dream’s panorama
it is here
in each moment of awakening
it is here
when all is well
it is here
when fear has nothing left to fear
even then
there is pure noticing
even then
there is no need for doing
no frantic searching
can find the obvious
no seeking needed
to find that which seeks
it is here
where it can never be lost
or found”

~ Nirmala

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Julie Forbes, Ph.D. photo
Julie Forbes, Ph.D.

STRESS MANAGEMENT
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