Last night I went out drinking with friends (and that is where today’s post ends it link with ale/beer). Many of them I hadn’t met for a long time. Inevitably they were curious as to why I had returned. Having been so sure and so determined to make my way back to the UK, the turn around is…well…turning heads. Explaining this turn-around to friends in the UK was difficult, explaining it to family who had been long awaiting our return and enjoying us being near them was downright painful for all concerned. This is a hurt that only time can heal. However, I digress.
During the drinks with friends, I again came to realise that although we are not exactly ‘living the life of Riley’, we are indeed rich. We have no big problems really. Again, I have been able to really appreciate what we have and I put this down to Mindfulness. A few years ago, I was not. I was only able to see a different future, which was always better than the one I was heading for. I was in a dark place, only able to see what I didn’t like. I wasn’t, to quote Buddhist philosophy, able to ‘see things as they actually are’. This pre-occupation drove us to move. That’s not to say that I regret the move, I don’t. I feel we are all richer because of it. The decision to return to Japan was qualitatively different and I didn’t experience the same intense dislike that clouded my judgement during my ‘dark days’. Thanks to my Zen studies from years earlier and a recent interest in Mindfulness I am much better able to appreciate the good in the present.
You may ask, ‘why couldn’t you see enough good in the UK?’ Actually, there was and is plenty of good in the UK. My family and friends, the much greener environment, the more creative curriculum in schools and many others besides. But, when you have to balance up everything and size up one place against another and see the ‘situation for what it really is’ we came down on the side that actually Japan suits us better and gives us a more secure future.
You may be thinking ‘hang-on a minute, is this the same guy that was telling us about his pagan-esque ritual use of ale on the Autumn Equinox?’ Yep, I am the one and the same. I don’t see a conflict with my beliefs and wonderment at the natural world and the forces that guide it and my beliefs regarding Mindfulness. One is more externally located and one is more internal and at the inteface of both there is a interacting relationship where the Mindfulness actually amplifies this wonderment and appreciation.
I really feel that my Mindfulness has made me feel much more content with my life and, though it may sound corny, happier. To see the positive and beauty in the present moment is literally a treasure and to not see only the negative is a relief. The ‘dark’ is so burdensome. Once the weight is lifted you really notice it. My good friend, himself a therapist, commented that he thought I had grown taller. It is simply due to a more upright posture. Whether the heaviness of the ‘dark’ was weighing me down I don’t know. I do know that I do not want to go back. I feel empowered and positive and I want to keep it that way.