"Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom."
-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
When Tom and I started a daily meditation practice a little over a year ago, we didn't really have expectations for results. Honestly, we did it because- like eating kale- we'd heard it was good for you.
After about a month of regular sessions we noticed a shift. We both reported experiencing an overall, steady sense of calm. We were less reactive in our jobs. We shared stories of situations in which our pre-meditating selves would have experienced an emotional reaction to a situation (perhaps a quickened heartbeat and a rush of anger), but instead a calm disposition flowed on, unscathed. This calm place gave us time to consider a response, instead of reacting emotionally to challenging situations. As a middle school teacher, this was epic. My students could not longer "push my buttons".
The most profound realization was that we have choices in every moment. When we are fully present we can control our responses to each event, creating our experience in this beautiful universe. This is indeed life-changing. Do we remember our ability to choose in every moment? Absolutely not. But it is incredibly freeing to know that the choice is ours for the making.