Many years ago I would have said my version of paradise was in a small town located 135 kilometers outside of Geneva, Switzerland where the air was a crisp as summer sheets on a clothesline flowing in the breeze and the silence was sweet. The dramatic yet simple views of the Swiss Alps made me weep on the inside. Perhaps it was the freedom I felt there, or maybe the stillness that my inner life had been longing for but, either way, it felt like paradise until I began the journey to finding real paradise within myself.
Why did I need to find paradise within myself?
Well, the outer world wasn't working anymore. Material objects were not filling the holes in my heart, and the crevices were wide open regardless of the expensive handbags and shoes in my closet.
I realized one day if I wasn't able to find peace and calm through "things" then the only other place it could be was within myself. I was scared to go within for what I might find and to a certain degree, I was right for thinking so. Inner work was the opposite of paradise, it was intense and I have never cried so much in my life but it was necessary.
The day I began the journey within my being I was presented a daily practice by my mentor to calm my mind and encourage me to live more in the center of the present moment. As you can imagine this took a deep desire to want to live a meaningful life as well as an immense amount of mind discipline and thankfully, I had both.
My "Swiss Paradise" has been morphed into a daily practice in which I find a sense of freedom from the human world of duality, judgment, criticism, self-doubt and pain. There is an element of stillness within the peace that is not of this world and it wraps me up in a warm blanket until I am ready to go “out” again with a clear and centered approach to the next moment.
When I find my mind wandering and looking for a story to create and take me down the rabbit hole my practice "fires" and I am back to my breath and in the center of the present moment where only truth resides.
Within my practice is a soft spot where only a sense of restfulness lies and that my friends, is my version of paradise.