I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back.
The Eiffel Tower lit up at night—an amber stairway pointing straight to heaven.
The thunderous roar of Niagara Falls—the irrepressible power of nature.
Rain tinkling on the window in the early hours of the morning.
Three things that make me love life.
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How To Love Life And Have Life Love You Right Back
You know that feeling when you see something so awe-inspiring, so beautiful, so divine that it makes you stop? It’s the way you feel when you see a stunning sunset, or when you witness an act of supreme kindness—I felt that way today when I saw a teenager give his school lunch to a homeless man. It’s that sense that life is so damn beautiful that you feel as small as an ant, albeit an ant so very glad to be part of such a stunningly beautiful world.
That is the way we human were meant to be.
We should be full of love. We should be swept up in the rapture of nature’s divinity. We should be lost in the splendour of this most precious thing called life. But many of us are not. If we could live mindfully, if we could appreciate the moments in which we live, we would naturally have peace and happiness. But for many, that seems like a fantasy.
Waking up at seven in the morning to get ready to work. Working from nine to five. Coming home to chores, or to take care of the family… there’s just not the time to appreciate life. We feel rushed, we’re constantly on the go, we never stop… it simply isn’t possible to live mindfully.quote-i-have-found-that-if-you-love-life-life-will-love-you-right-back
Recently a student came to me and said, “Paul, I would love to be able to do what you say. I would love to let myself be swept up in the beauty of life. But that’s just not reality. That’s a fantasy. When am I possibly going to have the time to doing nothing, to simply sit there meditating on the beauty of life?”
My response was simple: “You don’t need time. ”
My student raised a dubious eyebrow and scoffed. “Everything takes time.”
“Nothing takes time,” I said.
At this my student slapped a hand down on the arm of his chair. “You speak in riddles. How can I possibly not need time?”
The answer was simple. “Because whatever it is you do in your day to day life, you can do mindfully. Every single thing you do can be an act of peace and love.”
“Okay,” he said, raising a finger to make a point. “Then tell me this. Today I woke up at six thirty to get ready for work. I then drove to work. At work I spoke to more than twenty clients. Sure, I had a twenty minute break, but that was for lunch. When could I possibly have been mindful in my day?”
My answer took around half an hour—it was a very in depth discussion. But I’d like to share the gist of it here.
No matter what you do, you can do it mindfully. Everything can be an exercise in meditation. Everything can be an act of peace and love.meditation-student-learning-to-meditate
We wake up. We meditate on the sensation of the sun breaking through the window, of the birds singing outside. This doesn’t take long. Five minutes of lying in bed listening to the world and you’ve started your day off wonderfully.
You go to work. If you walk you can easily practice some Zen walking. You can use walking as a means of exercising peace and love, and of connecting to the present moment.
And when you’re talking to twenty clients, provided you focus 100% on listening, and then 100% on speaking, you will be living in the present moment, and you will be experiencing peace and love.
Mindfulness is easy. Meditation is easy. Living in peace and happiness is easy. We simply have to do it.
I made a challenge to my student. “I’d like to ask you something,” I said. “I would like to ask that tomorrow you do everything you did today, exactly the same. There is only one change I would like you to make. When you do something, do only that one thing. When you are walking, walk. When you are listening, listen. When you are speaking, speak. Do one thing at one time. Meditate on each thing you do. Then call me tomorrow.”
My student nodded eagerly and bit his lip. “Okay,” he said, determinedly, “I’ll give it a try.”
He did. He did one thing at a time, meditating on each thing he was doing. He called me the next day. “I don’t believe it,” he said. “When I spoke to you yesterday I thought it would be impossible for me to accomplish everything I needed to while doing only one thing at a time and while meditating. But I did it. I got through the entire day meditating, doing one thing at a time mindfully.”
“How does it feel?” I asked.
His exact response: “Like I’ve awoken to the most glorious of days.”
When we appreciate the present moment, we live in a state of peace and love. Mindfulness connects us with the divinity of the living moment. We all can do this. We simply have to decide to.
I discuss how to meditate during your busy day in my new book Zen And Now: How To Find Peace And Happiness Wherever You Are, Whatever You’re Doing.