Neuroscience shows us being present is a real skill which overcomes negative emotion:
It stands in stark contrast to the everyday bellyaching we are all apt to say and hear:
“I can’t wait until this is over.”
“When will it all end?”
“If I can just survive until...”
Once these roadblocks are surpassed, there will be another set. Once the summit of this mountain is reached, there will be another. Once you’re past this overwhelm, there is more.
There’s a misattributed quote in the spirit of the Dalai Lama but probably never spoken by him in this way exactly:
“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
I joke with people that in two years when I turn 40 years old I can begin “living.” Finally, I’ll have overcome enough challenges, learned enough of what not to do, obtained enough financial stability, proven myself professionally/business-wise/otherwise, I can BEGIN to live.
I joke. But our minds try to problem-solve this way. As if “life” should be without difficulty or challenge, we imagine reaching a point where life can begin because the challenges are all behind us.
There’s no need to chime in about the struggles of life. I understand. It may be hard to believe, but I have known one or two people with struggles. Lol. I think I faced one or two life challenges in my day. Only one or two. So I probably could never understand what you’re going through.
My point is about fixation. If you are fixated on arrival, if you are fixated on achieving a point, you’ll miss life. I know it well. While I was visiting the ER every 4 weeks with my son for 4 years, I kept wondering when the impossibility would end. When I couldn’t lie down without impossible nerve pain for months on end, I wondered when I would be able to enjoy life again.
But now I look back at photos or videos from those time periods. There were a lot of good times too. My sweet boy was (and is) the coolest dude. Clients and family and peers were doing really great things while I was in nonstop overwhelming pain every day and night.
If you stare at the destination, especially when there really isn’t one, you’ll miss the journey.