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July 3rd, 2020
Close your eyes and recall that perfect moment: throwing the gear shift into fifth as that favorite song crescendos, the windows open, the warm air of that summer from long ago coursing over your skin. Or that wobbling image in the water of a loved one smiling at your noticed reflection. Or when the trees finally gave way to the view on that hike and it was as though the world had thrown open doors to some hidden beauty, the valley cascading down into the distance as you realized how much of the world seemed beneath your feet.
What is it about these moments that align, like variables in equations shuttling into place, revolving to align, those ethereal pins of our locked mind meeting their secret heights to turn our perspective onto the majesty of the moment?
Imaginably, there was someone else on that road without a favorite song, having a terrible day, cursing their luck. And somewhere else someone’s tears shattered their own reflection on another shore, and yet another person winced with the pain of a broken bone, wondering how they might get down off the mountain.
A fundamental question that too few seem to stumble across or seriously entertain: does my environment determine my internal state, or do I?
There is further an enraged driver whose mindfulness practice finally slips into the experience of their anger, who pauses within the storm of their own rage, for the first time, and breaths, merely breathes and marvels at the whole spectrum of emotion suddenly splayed wide upon their sense of life. There is yet another, heartbroken but grateful at the chance to have loved, to simply be capable of such depths of feeling who embarrassingly risks a smile, seeing the entire tumult of romance like a treasured book, unique and whispered now only in the private memories of mind that will forever cherish the story. And still there is a person calming their split nerves with a disciplined attention, suddenly grateful about the nature of their broken bone, realizing how much worse it could be, seeing quickly a solid and fallen branch nearby that has a perfect fork, that will make an ideal crutch once the initial pain has subsided.
What is it in our nature, in our brain and bodies, and from our experience that allows or creates these different experiences?
Is it worth it to wait around for all the variables of circumstance to line up for something like happiness to happen?
Or is there another set of variables, levers to toggle, buttons to push in sequence, habits to practice and thoughts to nurture that allow for a person to transform to the situation, shuttling different mental machinery into place, rotating perspective, oscillating the view of context in order to strike upon the ethereal combination of internal decisions that sync up with circumstance to produce a sense of life unmissed but embraced, no matter how terrible or painful..?
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