As many of you know, I love talking to women of experience. I like to look for wisdom in high hopes it will rub off on me.
Women that have lived longer know the course of life better and what is hiding in its weaves. Those women that have written and read many more chapters than I have. I am fascinated by these women’s life stories and I often ask them how they face life’s big obstacles or great opportunities.
This week, talking to a 98 year-old woman, I realised that the wisdom she gained and applied over the course of her life would nowadays be referred to as mindfulness meditation. A woman of a great faith, but a faith that grew over time and right through the most difficult challenges.
To answer my question of how she coped or recovered from deep pain and how she handled and faced major obstacles, she told me she trained herself to not even think of a single moment after the one she is currently living. She warmly smiled and told me that when your heart is in hardship you cannot worry or be sad about any other moment but the instance you are living in and that you must learn only and exclusively from that right moment. “This is how I saved myself from losing it, and then when it was too much, I gave it to the higher power”
I was trying to explain to her this big new thing called “mindful meditation”, it was already difficult since I was speaking to her in Italian and even in Italian we use the English word “mindfulness”so the translation of this word really confused her. While I was trying hard with what soon revealed to be a useless attempt, she anticipated that all we need and must do is to be focused on this very instance and not a second after or before. Only that way it will be possible to find even little moments of joy in the harshest hardship. It’s really at that right moment when I realized that even in the darkest of times there can be some sort of perfection and order even if our mind is pushing us to think the opposite and tries lead us to desperation and anguish.
This wise and “less young” woman (as she likes to refer to herself) really blew me away. The point she made in summarising her life stories and challenges, was to live in the present. She insisted so much on this concept even by correcting me multiple times with words as she preferred to call it “right in the instance and only the instance you are in now”. She said that going through life is like reading a book, we might not know what the next chapter will be about but it will certainly be useless to focus on the 2 chapters from what I am reading now will be, since I will miss the essence of those words written before me.
In certain situations and hardship, we cannot move our focus and attention to anything that was or will be, even in an hour’s time.
This lovely “less young” lady, did not know about mindfulness meditation, yet she taught me so much and with such a serenity and peace as though she has already finished the book and enjoyed it a great deal no matter the ups and downs of the plot.
May all of you have a blessed “now”.
Antonella Lo Re