Meditation, Goals and Nonstriving

Recently I came across these photos taken by Roeselien Raimond, a Dutch nature photographer, showing foxes enjoying themselves in the wild.

zen-foxes-roeselien-raimond-15__880

It appears that foxes don’t need mindfulness courses to learn about being in the moment, even in the face of adversity.

zen-foxes-roeselien-raimond-4__880

After seeing these pictures, I became curious about Roeselien, the person behind the camera. How did she ever get the pictures? I learned that she didn’t use remote controlled cameras or any other fancy technology. Instead it was a process that required mindful presence and nonstriving. She comments:

“ the harder you try, the more you’ll move away from your goal. If you are too eager, an animal will sense that eagerness and will remain alert. I learned to do as foxes do, just being there and see what might happen. And in the mean time, I just enjoy smelling some fresh air and feeling the sun on my skin.”

What a metaphor for my meditation practice. However, what meaning could it possibly have in the midst of a busy, goal-oriented life?

zen-foxes-roeselien-raimond-2__880

Of course we need to have goals and to work toward achieving our goals. Foxes need to eat. Roeselien wanted to get exhilarating pictures. She’s a professional. Her livelihood depends on it. We want the health benefits of a meditation practice and try hard to achieve those results.

Yet I’ve learned over time that one of the most profound ways to achieve my goals is nonstriving. For me this means just being there in the moment, being present, even with unpleasant things, and letting the action develop organically out of wisdom and appropriateness to the situation.

zen-foxes-roeselien-raimond-6__880

The results are often very different from anything I might have planned and beyond any expectation I could possibly have had of what would happen.

Meditation is a very direct way to practice nonstriving. When you sit down to meditate, you don’t get to control anything or to dictate the outcome. You quickly discover it’s impossible to control thoughts, for instance. What emerges is an ability to see thoughts more clearly and in the process not get carried away by the thoughts. In this way, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful for conditions like anxiety and depression.

I meditate because, over time, I’ve become more centered and grounded, and more compassionate with myself and with others. I’m able to get over periods of depression and anxiety easier and quicker. I feel more connected to the mystery and wonder of life. All of this happens without striving for particular results.

zen-foxes-roeselien-raimond-3__880

It’s about just being there and seeing what might happen. Just being there, for this particular meditation period, or for my life. As I discover over and over, what happens often is totally amazing and totally unexpected.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inspiration, Meditation, Mindfulness
One comment on “Meditation, Goals and Nonstriving

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

sign-up-web-2
Join us on Facebook
Join us on facebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: