The Adventures of Superman. The Adventures of Nancy Drew. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, Abraham Lincoln and the Adventures of (insert your name). Why not, put your own name in that space; every day is another day of your personal adventure. Even the “heroes and heroines” listed above had both their good days and not so good days. But their quests went on. Even if they did not know that the endings for some of them would not be so happily ever after.
Right now in the middle of your day what is your adventure? How can you view this moment as being on an adventure? What would that be like? Would you feel any different?
Does an adventure have to be something exotic or extraordinary? What are some of your adventures? Remember when you learned to ride a bike. Wasn’t that an adventure at the time? How about learning how to swim? Or going on a hike in the woods. Or baking cookies. What is holding you back from the enjoyment of this moment? Do you feel that this moment is not exciting enough to be part of your adventure?
Events keep happening one after the other all during the day. The way we connect to or look at what is happening can seem to make an adventure out of a molehill or a molehill out of our life.
In reality your adventure is what you are doing right now. And what you are aware of right now lets you know what you are doing. Are you aware of thinking right now or doing? Can you tell the difference?
Let’s say you go for a walk. While on you walk are you more aware of your walking and the sights and sounds and sensations you feel or are you more focused on what you are thinking about? Which is more of your adventure? The doing or the thinking about something else; like what you will be doing after your walk; or what happened yesterday or your plans for tomorrow? Most likely you shift up and back between thinking and doing. But what separates you from your adventure? What makes the thinking more interesting than what you are actually doing and experiencing?
There are five categories of hindrances that seem to crop up and create a detour or roadblock to our ability to continually enjoy the moment by moment experiences of what we are actually doing rather than having just a continual steam of thoughts about often something entirely different.
The first is our desire to want more of what we like and less of what we do not like. So as the critic in our mind evaluates and compares what we are doing to our past experience of doing something similar we either like it and want it to continue or dislike it and push it away. Both cause a loss of the experience and a shift into just thinking about it.
The second category is ill will towards something. That is having a thought in the mind that is about someone or something that we would like some form of misfortune or worse to happen to.
The third is restlessness. This is when we just are ill at ease and cannot sit still. We want something to be happening that is different from what is happening but we do not know what that is.
The fourth is being lazy or tired. We just want to sit and do nothing or just veg out in front of the tv.
And the fifth is doubt. We doubt that we have any ability to direct how we feel or that any of this is meaningful to begin with.
Try this – The next time you become aware that you are less than happy. Possibly when some repetitive problem comes around again contemplate which of the five hindrances seems to be present. You can then practice the remedy for that hindrance.
Remedies for the hindrances
- Liking and not liking — focus on the consequence of getting too much or too little ie. the extremes and how that would affect you. Even too much chocolate ice cream can make you ill.
- Ill will — change your focus of attention. See a broader picture or shift attention to a narrower focus and place full attention on your breath.
- Restlessness — just sit still for a few moments and smile. The sitting allows the mind to settle like a globe filled with water and snow flakes which settles after you shake it. And the smile releases the body’s own chemistry of feel good hormones.
- Lazy and tired — sit up straight, take some deep breaths, open your eyes more, look at light.
5. Doubt – first become aware of the doubt when it arises. Put the doubt aside until you have tried some of the practices for yourself and have had a chance to test them out. Speak with someone who has tried this and review their experience.