When we paint or carve wood, we can see ourselves palpably edging closer to success in the immediacy of our creation. When we try to lose weight, build a business, or raise a child, though, we can put down a paint stroke at most once a day or so.
If a dieter starts checking the scale every day, he or she is actually hurting the chances of success. A single paint stroke, when you can only lay down one in a day, can easily undermine your satisfaction, happiness, and motivation.
Well, unless you believe in your painting like you believe in your coffee pot.
Faith in a Coffee Pot
When we brew coffee with a coffee pot, we set up the grounds and water, hit the button to start the brewing, and walk away. In that simple action, we express the clarity of vision that is needed for success in larger works. There’s a modicum of effort involved, but then there’s a gestation period. We have to let time pass before we will have coffee to drink; knowing this, we start the brew process but then don’t hover anxiously over the coffee pot while the brewing is underway. We know that, in time, we will have a pot of coffee – we will have the resources at hand, from our investment into it, to settle into comfort in the manner that we desire. The process of bearing fruit happens externally to us, once we have done our due diligence.
That’s also the key to our larger ambitions – we must seed the garden, tend to it each day, and otherwise let it go so that it will bear its fruit in its own time. If we were to constantly adjust the coffee pot, stirring the grounds and checking the water, our ultimate goal of having coffee would take longer to come into being and might be entirely put off. If we know that our brewer is prone to problems, then we might check frequently to see that there’s been no starting of a heinous overflow of coffee onto the counters and the floor, but that visual check is the extent of it. Otherwise, we let it alone and trust in the fruiting process.
How can we become frustrated in our own efforts and growth? We have much more direct control over ourselves than the brewing process in a cheaply made machine. The difference comes from:
- Our attachment to the result. We might REALLY want coffee, but we trust that everything will be okay (if somewhat miserable) if it doesn’t happen – and we don’t even really consider it not happening, for the most part.
- Our expectation of the time to brew. We have a belief that the coffee will be ready shortly. It’s a near-certainty.
- Our ritual. We do this every day, and every day we have coffee. It’s an engrained habit and the way we warm our engines to the day ahead. It simply… is.
Faith in Ourselves
When you work out, eat healthily, work on your business, raise a child, or do any of the innumerable other joys that are part of the blessing of being in a country of abundance and relative freedom, it’s easy to forget the joy of painting by focusing on how much of the overall painting remains to be created. The real problem, though, is that we continuously doubt our dreams and allow the past to dictate the enjoyment of the moment. In other words, we don’t believe in ourselves to the same degree that we believe in our coffee pots.
In our practice of mindfulness, of living fully each moment, we discard our expectations of the future and failures of the past to fully embrace right now. In that sense, mindfulness does resolve the issues of faith and patience. In another sense, though, mindfulness is no solution at all if we let our daily focus come purely out of our emotional satisfaction and our emotional satisfaction is based purely on the small, temporal successes. Living in the moment results in success of what we do in the moment, but it doesn’t by itself give us the vision we need to fully determine all the gardens we need to tend.
So then, we need to start engaging in our grand visions with the simple faith we put into brewing coffee. It’s not that hard to do, if we consider the differences and make adjustments:
- Let go of the desire. Express your desire with a devotional act – put in a good workout, eat a healthy meal, put in a good day’s work, do something new and happy with your kids. Then let it go, knowing that you’ve tended your garden and that tended gardens yield harvests.
- Let go of expectation. Don’t circle the coffee pot again and again, anxiously waiting for the coffee to be ready. Instead, move on and plant another seed in another garden, and come back to this one in time. Each time we express our desire and move away with faith, our desire incubates and manifests on its own in the radiance of spirit and the universe.
- Let go of action. Forget the act of painting. Forget the act of the starting the brewer. Let those things simply be a part of what living is. Do them every day or every week as an expression of yourself, do them with mindfulness, but do them without clinging to the vision of the coming coffee. That might be hard, some days.
When fitness, health, productivity, parenting, and even spirit are a part of what living is, when they simply happen as devotional acts and don’t cause mental distress or anxiety, they come to fruition. Express your desire, then let it go so that your negative attention doesn’t harm or delay the brewing process. Plant the seed within yourself and the world, and in the right season the plant will bloom. Simply know that if you start the coffee pot, in time you will have coffee.
You might also enjoy:
- How to Qualify Short-Term Goals: Dreamlining – programminglife.net
- The Siren Call of Overworking – programminglife.net
- Stillness Affirmation – programminglife.net
- Don’t Scratch the Itch – zenhabits.net
- When Negative Voices Interfere with your Faith – stevenfurtick.com (video)
- Pick Your Battles Carefully – lifeoptimizer.org
- It’s Not Forever, It Just Feels That Way – danwaldschmidt.com
- The Top 6 Ways to Reclaim Your Personal Power – inspir3.com
- How to Cope with Uncomfortable Uncertainty – scientificamerican.com