Featured Articles

Real Happiness Challenge - Week 3: The Journey Is the Destination

My journey with mindfulness meditation has been long, winding, and sporadic.

I have dabbled on and off for much of my life. In 2012, I began to experience crippling panic attacks and came quite close to suicide. From an unorthodox therapist, I discovered a simple shamatha practice and began to meditate in earnest.

Things got worse. Then better. Then worse again. And I kept coming back. Showing up for meditation didn't get easier, but I came to see it as my most important challenge.

I've been doing it for awhile, and I am still a basket case, tortured by rumination, grasping, and self-aggrandizement. When negative emotions arise, I sometimes "fall off the cushion." Eventually, I return, and I find that those negative emotions are still there. But I also find that I can appreciate them in their wealth of variety and complexity.

I've learned some humility. I've learned to regard my thoughts and emotions with healthy skepticism and to take a second to breathe before I lean on my car horn, snap at my wife, or walk out on a job or a friendship. Sometimes I will do those things anyway, but that's how it goes. I have had fleeting moments of experiencing the world beyond selfishness and judgment.

I am a sloppy sack of feelings, organs, and outmoded instincts, and I’m okay with that. When I try to fix myself, I’m wasting everyone’s time. The objective is to show up. The goal is to eliminate the need for a goal.

That's as close as I expect to get to real happiness. And I am okay with that, too.

Vote for this article to appear in the Recommended list.

Site developed by the IDP and Genalo Designs.