Opening to the Fullness of Life

Ten Percent Happier
January 7, 2024
A person holding a mirror, taking a picture

While mindfulness can often feel good in many ways—helping us to be calmer, kinder, and more focused—that doesn’t mean it’s all easy sailing. If you’ve started a meditation practice and found it helpful, only to later hit a wall and fall out of the habit, you’re not alone. 

In our New Year’s Challenge, a member of the Ten Percent Happier community drops the hard truth of what it means to get into meditation. We’re sharing an excerpt about her experience below, along with follow up from meditation teachers Matthew Hepburn and Cara Lai. 

May you come face-to-face with all that needs embracing in your life this New Year. Don’t forget, you can still join the Challenge and practice being perfectly imperfect with us through January 21. 

Vanessa: Things are not okay. Things are not okay for a majority of us, actually. I just appreciate that there are these practices that help us to live. They’re literally helping me live. But it’s not like, “Hey, now buy this and your life will be better.” In fact, it might actually hurt more, because you’re going to be aware of what’s happening. But that’s amazing, because that makes you more human. And when you’re more human, you can see another human. And you can embrace all of it, because you’re embracing yourself.  

Cara: Vanessa is crushing it with the wisdom bombs. I think she’s pointing to how [meditation] is a whole different game. This is a paradigm shift where actually we’re opening to the fullness of life—with all of its pain and all of its beauty and the confusion and not being perfect. Learning to open to that is real freedom. 

Matthew: It’s really significant, being willing to meet the moment just as it is and not be fighting with it, wishing that it were some other way, but actually to feel like, “Yeah, this is how it is. It’s imperfect and that’s not a problem.” The moment is imperfect. The world is imperfect in a lot of ways. We’re imperfect AND we can be at our best, even at our most imperfect. 

Cara: When I shift out of the mentality of “being happy and being free is somewhere outside of me” to, “Oh, wait, it’s right here, right now,” there’s this real sense of putting down a burden. I felt like I was responsible for making things a particular way and for making myself a particular way. And I’m not. And it’s such a relief. It’s like a remembering, or a coming home: I don’t need anything to be different. I’ve been okay all along. And then I can start moving towards that, instead of spending 20 minutes looking at the reviews for the little cushion things that go on the bottom of chair legs. Because those aren’t gonna do it for you—but this actually gets close. 

With the Ten Percent Happier app, you’ll access practical teachings alongside guided meditations to make mindfulness into a habit you carry everywhere.

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