There is a Tibetan saying popular in mindfulness circles: “If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.”
When I remember this saying, my heart releases what it’s fixated on, and it’s almost always fixated or worrying about something.
Sylvia Boorstein once quipped that she is a “recovering worrier.” That’s me. But my recovery is a still a work in progress. I am even anxious about my own meditation practice!
As my day begins, my worries start to pile up. My anxieties thaw a little when I remember to yield to the present, making a U-turn from overwhelm, edging toward yes, I can handle this.
I start with small things: the lost cell phone, I got this; the missed doctor visit, we can reschedule.
I pause to watch a toothpaste stripe form, and smile. I put on fresh work socks. I got this.
I am fortunate to have discovered some years back the extraordinary teachings of the 19th century French Carmelite nun, saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
The Little Way of St. Therese Lisieux
She died a very painful death at 24, from tuberculosis. She wrote of a “Little Way” to joy, to happiness, and peace amid the struggles and tragedies she experienced in her short, bittersweet life.
She was inspired by Jesus’ words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.”
This “Little Way” is a path, she would say, of awareness and willingness, of gratitude and surrender, of confidence and humility; and above all, of love.
I think Mother Teresa captured the essence saint Thérèse’s Little Way when she wrote:
Don’t think that love must be extraordinary to be genuine. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen
This “Little Way” she said is very straight and short. You access it in the present moment, in your life just as it is.
This same now whose majesty moved Emily Dickinson to write:
Life is so astonishing; it leaves very little time for anything else.
Anything else, I hear her saying, like frustration and guilt and remorse.
Not going to Oslo and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize? Or experiencing profoundly deep and unspeakably blissful meditative states?
Oh, I see. For the Dalai Lama this moment now is the happiest of his life.
We all have within us an extraordinary capacity for joy, love and freedom. We just need to access it more easily and frequently.
Ah, mindfulness meditation! To re-awaken this joy, this love, is what this path is all about.
Maybe meditation itself is an act of love, not a means to an end. Stumbling on this notion has significantly changed the way I see and practice meditation.
Here is what I stumbled on, from a book by Bob Sharples — Meditation: Calming the Mind:
Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough.Mindful Living Community
So maybe just being here, as I am right now — a little frazzled, but here — is love, is joy, and is freedom. How amazing!
Enter your best email below and we'll send you our weekly support newsletter to help keep you moving forward on this journey of a lifetime. You can easily unsubscribe anytime.