On shaky ground

We often find ourselves blown by this wind or that, unsettled, subject to varying emotions.  Inside ourselves we are restless, uncertain, or can feel entangled. This experience is nothing unusual, but rather is at the heart of the human condition.  In most moments, even after periods when  things go well, there is an underlying hum of  disquiet, of shifting ground.  Some writers call this ongoing feeling  “groundlessness”, others “loneliness”. Our first thought is to consider this as negative and it often leads us to feel disturbed. In today’s culture, the idea that one is unsettled or not completely happy is often considered a sign of failure.  It does not harmonize with the media insistence on happy people or the myth of easily established social relationships. So we can react to this inner sense by doing more, seeking to improve ourselves, or by keeping ourselves busy and distracting ourself or by looking to a relationship to take the feeling away. However, at the heart of mindfulness practice is the understanding that  life is always shifting and changing, that this change is unpredictable,  that we always have some inner sense of incompleteness and that this is ok. It does not mean that there is something wrong with us or our life. It can be a liberation to use this as our starting point. Life has a changing and unsatisfactory character. It is hard to establish a consistent  oneness of mind and heart that remains stable in such a way that there is never any disappointment. Accepting this truth opens the way to wisdom.

And this is the simple truth –  that to live is to feel oneself lost.

He who accepts it has already begun to find himself to be on firm ground.

José Ortega y Gasset, Spanish Philosopher, Who Rules the World.

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