Growing up, my mom often said, “You want instant gratification.” She had a unique way of dealing with this tendency of mine on the physical plane. She would agree that I could get whatever it was, but only if I waited two weeks. Usually, her method worked, and I had forgotten about that item after a couple of days.
As an adult, I find that the issue is less about the physical desire for stuff and more about letting go of the need to finish a “problem.” Probably most of us can relate - there’s an issue requiring resolution, and we stress about it until that problem is fixed. Then, of course, inevitably, another problem arises, and our focus goes to solving that one… and on and on it goes endlessly.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Life is nothing if not a continuous overcoming of problems. Every problem that waits for a solution at your hand is the religious duty imposed upon you by life itself. There can be no life that is not full of problems. Essentially, conditions are neither good nor bad; they are always neutral, seeming to be either depressing or encouraging because of the sad or bright attitude of the mind.”
So, we likely already know that this rollercoaster of a world will not bring us true happiness and fulfillment. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be on the spiritual path. So, how can we then accept that the physical plane will never be perfect, that it will be a continuous series of problems that we must do our best to overcome while simultaneously learning to enjoy the process?
A better question might be: How do we live in the present moment?
Go on a “worry fast.” Yogananda said: “Whenever you find yourself indulging in a worry feast, go on a partial or complete worry fast for a day or a week. Whenever you make up your mind not to worry, stick to your resolution. You can calmly solve your most difficult problems, putting forth your greatest effort, and at the same time absolutely refuse to worry. Tell your mind, ‘I am satisfied and happy that I am doing my best to solve my problem; there is absolutely no reason to worry.’”
Enjoy the space between things. Don’t just jump from one project to the next. Pause. Breathe. Enjoy the process. And if the “monkey mind” is having a field day with you, try practicing an affirmation with deep focus.
Here are a couple of my favorites from Swami Kriyananda’s book, Affirmations for Self-Healing: