We've heard it before: Be in the moment. Be present. Just be. Even the best of us who practice yoga or already embrace some form of meditation––if we are honest––still struggle to master the art of being. In a modern society of busyness, to be still and quiet is unnatural. To do nothing feels foreign. Finding an antidote to boredom is a struggle. And, in the midst of this pandemic’s forced shutdown, having more time unexpectedly on our hands can feel ironically stressful.
Zen Buddhist author David Michie writes in The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow,
"Give yourself permission, here and now, not to think about any of your usual concerns. From this moment on, let anything you may have been thinking about become completely irrelevant while you are meditating. Consider this time off from your usual mental activity. Let it be time to restore, rebalance, and recharge. Try to be pure consciousness––without a past, without a future. Just abide in the here and now."
With a “here and now” that centers around a pandemic, it’s needless to say that life is overwhelming. As someone who often takes a methodical approach to life, it has been challenging to cope in the present without overanalyzing the past or worrying about the future. Yet, I am grateful that sheltering in place has given me a chance to experience life in a slower lane, something I probably would not have chosen on my own.
The past few weeks have been an opportunity to question my status quo of busyness (and quite frankly, all of humanity’s, too). In these quiet moments of reflection, books have been a solace, sustaining me with a well of meditative musings and timeless wisdom. My favorite paradox to ponder so far comes from Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim who shares, “When you feel overwhelmed and busy, remember that you are not powerless. When your mind rests, the world also rests.”
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS THAT OFFER INSPIRATIONAL GUIDANCE TOWARDS MINDFULNESS, CALLING US TO SLOW DOWN AND SEEK WHAT’S ESSENTIAL IN LIFE.