The Most Powerful Mindfulness Advice Given to Me

When I ate, I read articles.
When I was with family, I worked from my phone.
When I drove my car, I called business partners.
When I ran, I listened to podcasts.
When I went to concerts, I captured photos for Likes.

I got more done. I learned more. And I got those Likes.

But why did I never feel satisfied? Nothing was good enough, not even my own life. Maybe I should do more?

On and on I went, thinking if I worked harder, longer, and faster, then I would finally achieve the elusive intangible called happiness.

Salvation seemed to never be here alongside me, but at a destination somewhere beyond my horizon.

Desperate, I sought answers. And foolishly, I thought the answer was to do more.

Because I didn’t know what I wanted, by default the answer was always more. This is especially true with money.

But one day in my search, I befriended a wise person, and she gave me perhaps the most profound, yet simple advice that would change my life.

When you sweep, sweep.
— Buddhist Proverb

There is power in simplicity, and the force in this succinct wisdom shattered my paradigm.

Prior to hearing this, I believed the prerequisite to happiness was to do more, achieve more, and earn more. Stay hungry and don’t settle.

This is not to say I needed to stop doing. But maybe I had to balance allowing and trying, letting be and controlling, being and doing.

And so, I began to learn how to be a human being again, and unlearn how to be a ‘human doing’.

When I ate, I ate.
Eating became a sacred ritual, an experience in itself. I immersed myself in every bite and its aroma, taste, and texture. After experiencing this heightened sense of focused awareness, I knew could never go back. The mind, once stretched, never returns to its original dimensions. To me, every meal became an unrepeatable miracle I had to be present for.

When I ran, I ran.
I became curious about all my bodily sensations. What did my toes feel like pressed against the heated sock? 1, 2, 3, 4… How many drops of sweat were present on my forehead? How much sweat can my eyebrows retain before it falls to my eyes? Running for the sake of running became its own reward. It was no longer about the destination — the arrival to more energy, slimmer waist, and lost calories — but the journey itself.

When I drove, I drove.
I’ve known my car for many years, but I’ve only started to truly feel its essence. Let me turn off the music so I can hear its engine. Has my hand always gripped the steering wheel and shift knob this tightly? There’s a slight pull to the left; it’s time for an alignment. Time and time again, you’ve made sure I arrive to my destinations safely. I don’t think I’ve ever said thank you, so thank you.

I don’t know what your truth is. I don’t know what The truth is. But this is my truth for now.

For the longest time, I thought my life was merely meant to do, to achieve, and to conquer. But no matter how much I did, it was never enough.

It is so clear now that the treasure I’ve sought after has been here the whole time. To notice it, all I had to do was just be, not do.

I’m now a full participant in my own life, not just a hollow shell.

When I stopped filling my life with all this doing, I made space for joy to take place.

When I am, I am.