Today we ask that you enter new experiences with presence and clarity.
What does this mean?
Most people enter all new experiences carrying a lot of baggage. They are neither present, nor clear.
Children enter new experiences with presence and clarity. Each day is greeted with excitement. There is so much to see and do, so much play. That is why it is hard for them sometimes to take naps, or go to sleep at bedtime. They are having too much fun.
Most adults do not greet the day with such excitement. The new day is a day of chores to be slogged through, unpleasant tasks to be done. They awaken in the morning, and right away their minds start running with worry and fear. They have difficulty falling asleep for the same reason. It is worry and fear that keeps the adult from his bedtime — not joy and fun.
What happens to people, between childhood and adulthood?
They lose their presence. They collect “baggage.”
Adults walk around burdened by all their baggage. It is literally like walking around carrying heavy luggage. You cannot really focus on new experiences, because you’re so preoccupied with all this heavy baggage you’re dragging around.
The baggage also prevents you from understanding why it is you do the things you do. You are so preoccupied with your baggage, that you really don’t know what you are doing, much of the time. That is why whole weeks will go by, and you have no idea what happened, where the time went.
You were so busy lugging around and tending to your baggage, that you paid little attention to anything else.
Imagine you are traveling to a new city. But you must carry many bags of heavy luggage with you, everywhere you go. You cannot leave them in the car or hotel.
What would happen? The traveling experience would be quite miserable, wouldn’t it? You really couldn’t enjoy anything, because you’d be so preoccupied with taking care of all your baggage.
This is the predicament most people are in.
Baggage is really a symbol for history.
What is history?
History is, in essence, your story.
More specifically, your history is your narrative recounting all your grievances and traumas, your victimhood, your failures, your condemnation of yourself and others. It is the narrative that recounts all the ways life has been unfair to you, and how you and others have failed to live up to expectations.
That is your history. That is your baggage.
That is what you drag into every new situation. Like the foolish tourist who lugs around many heavy bags with him everywhere, your baggage prevents you from enjoying your life experience.
Drop your baggage. Let go of your history.
This is extremely difficult, for most people.
They hold on to their history for dear life, as if it were precious. They polish their stories of grievance and victimhood like jewels. They nurse their judgments of themselves and others like beloved babies.
It is madness.
Really, if you opened up that luggage, you could see that all you are dragging around is heavy junk.
Enter into new experiences with presence, and clarity.
When you meet an old friend, pretend it is the first time you are meeting this person.
As you travel through familiar haunts, pretend you are a tourist, who has never seen this place before.
Wake up. Drop your baggage. Pay attention to the world around you, to life as it is happening. Know why it is you do the things you do.
Really, all that is required for you to enjoy and appreciate your life right now is for you to drop your baggage. Drop your history.
And if you feel that you cannot do this, ask yourself: “Why?”
Why can’t you drop your baggage?
What will be lost, if you do?
Is it really true, that you will lose something precious?
In truth, all you will lose is a heavy burden. And you will gain so much more. You will gain joy, and presence.
It is your choice.