The streetlight effect

Today I share with you a story that Tamara Levitt told during my meditation session with her on Tuesday using the Calm app. I found what she said very interesting and inspiring because I think that sometimes we only tend to see what is comfortable for us but not what we may work on in oder to shape our character to become that person we have always aimed to be.

The title of this story is ‘The streetlight effect’ and it comes from an old parable. Late one night a policeman sees an elderly man searching for something under the streetlight. The policeman approaches him to ask what he has lost. The man explains that he has lost his keys and they both continue looking under the streetlight together. After a short while, the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here and the man replies: “No, I’ve lost them in the park!”. The policeman then asks: “Why are you searching here?!” and the man responds: “This is where the light is”.

So we are often tempted to look for a solution where it is easiest to look rather than going into the depths of the root causes of our problems. Our relationship is failing and we don’t want to deal with it, so instead we throw ourselves into our work. We have an interpersonal conflict at work and we don’t want the discomfort of a confrontation, so we just ignore the person. We are feeling down or dissatisfied and, rather than facing our pain, we seek escape in food, shopping or entertainment but these things only bring momentary pleasure and soon we are once again confronted with our difficulties.

We are habituated to looking outside of ourselves for answers but, when the problems we are facing is an internal one, usually the solution lies within and this is good news: we already have all that we need. We just need the insight and courage to confront our difficulties head-on. The truth we seek, the answers and solutions lie within. So it may be difficult to turn inward in time of challenge but this is the work of our practice. When we learn to stay and face fear and discomfort and open ourselves to experience, rather than shut down or turn away, we can be sure we’re digging in the right place.
As Emma Tiebens said: Going inward. That’s the real work. The solutions are not outside of us. Get to know who you really are, because as you search for the hero within, you inevitably become one.

The strteetlight in Sevilla, Plaza de EspaƱa

Walking with Thich Nhat Hanh – The art of Mindful Living

For my 30th birthday Ursel sent me the book Touching Peace of the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh who created the Community Plum Village.

During the whole 2016 my mind was busy thinking about the meaning of the word Mindfulness. That Ursel gave me this book it was just a sign which indicated the importance of the concept of Mindfulness in my life. Recently I heard that the books you receive are never a coincidence and I think it is very true.

Reading Touching Peace was for me a great experience which made me feel a lot of good vibes. One of my favourite quotes of Hanh refers to the Christian values I grew up with: “To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now“.

Now I practice Mindfulness in my daily life. Indeed once a day I meditate with the App Calm (about which I will write a review in the next few weeks), I pray, I try to do something kind for an other person and appreciate to have something good in the fridge and to live in an multicultural and opened country like Germany.

To introduce you to the philosophy of the Zen Master Hanh, I share the trailer of a brand new film about him and his community, Walk with me.

You can find more details about this film and the Community of Plum Village on: http://walkwithmefilm.com/