That swim seems to me like a miniature model of life. Anxiety crescendos and decrescendos; joy alights and then flies away. Grief goes on and on; overtaking me for a time and then lying low. Those anchovies are still out there somewhere in the ocean; sometimes they're all I can see, and sometimes the water is clear. Things come and then they go.
To ask what I should do next encourages me to use my brain and my judgement to think about what activities are valuable or desirable. But to ask what is required encourages me to be mindful of myself, inside and out. It asks me to scan the state of my mind and body and figure out my actions based on what I need at the moment.
“Do you believe there is someplace that will make the soul less thirsty?” Do you believe there is a right and wrong way to do everything? A good and bad?Kabir invites us to come away from that imaginary river, that fantasy goal, and simply rest in the reality of who we are—embrace what is solid and firm.
Fredrickson gives a map of how to induce the upward spiral in our lives-- by intentionally creating and savoring positive moments, states, activities. I took the general principles that she mentions and brainstormed my own lists-- things I could do in my life to shift the balance just slightly from the negative to the positive. Each week, I would create a set of little goals for myself.
What to do when it's just a down day? It's Sunday. Sundays can be sort of inherently sad. I think for many of us, Sunday represents a difficult mental transition from fun-time to work-time, and it might contain a fair amount of anticipation or dread for the week to come. Sunday afternoon is basically the opposite of Friday afternoon. But, there's something more than that Sunday malaise that I'm feeling right now.
The purpose of sitting meditation is not just to learn to quiet our minds while sitting, but to increase our capacity for whole-life meditation, living and breathing mindfulness in our regular lives. Have you felt these moments? The glimpses of what it is like to be so "meta"— to be aware that you're aware?