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November 5, 2013

How I Achieved Daily Bliss.~ Thuan Nguyen

Looking through the bedroom window, I gaze at the clear azure sky of Melbourne’s spring morning, appreciating every morsel of its serene beauty.

I can’t help feeling a total sense of bliss slowly rising in my body; a bliss which seems to be in perfect harmony with the cosmic grandeur.

Getting up early in the morning, then going downstairs to indulge in the smooth bitter taste of coffee to start a new bright day has become a routine I look forward to every morning.

Who would have thought, just three years ago, I was a different person living in a different world. I had a well paying job, drove a nice company car, and lived in a comfortable house.

My wife, daughter, friends and money seemed to be my unlimited source of happiness. I was always preoccupied with devising new plans for the future and pursuing many of my dreams to bring me home pride and happiness.

I achieved high academic standards. I traveled the world and met thousands of people from all walks of life. I used to believe the world I created for me was unique and completely insulated from the rest.

Then one day came a wake-up call that completely changed my life forever.

During the autumn of 2011, my wife became gravely ill. I took time off from work to stay home to look after her. I slept on the floor next to her bed during her three weeks recovery. I fought hard to stay awake every night so I could immediately respond to her needs.

Previously, back in 2009, she had suffered from a mild depression, which she managed to overcome quickly. This time her conditions were much worse.

After losing both her sleep and appetite, her health deteriorated rapidly, to the point where she developed constant suicidal thoughts.

Despite all the good things she had in life, she felt nothing but dread and misery. In her world, nothing was worth living for. In the beginning I found it hard to accept the absurdity of her mental state.

But then, after hours of soul searching, I finally came to the realization that reality and the reality we create in our minds are not the same. They are two different things.

My wife finally made a full recovery. Her illness marked an important rite of passage in my life. It gave me both courage and strength to help me start a new life chapter.

Since then, I have lived life differently. Now I enjoy whatever comes to me—happy with every step I take along my life journey.

Not long ago, I used to let my ego and emotions dictate how I should think and live. I protected my pride with anger and jealousy. I allowed fear, anxiety, frustration, and despair to dominate my thinking and behavior. I spent most of my time living in the past, and invested most of my energy on planning for the future.

I rarely observed and felt the present.

Nowadays, I don’t go out a lot. Every now and then, my wife and I spend an evening with family or friends, sharing quality times with them over lunch or dinner.

Occasionally, we sit down planning for a short retreat or an overseas holiday. Only rarely do we plan our future too far ahead.

We keep everything in life simple. We don’t earn lots of money. We no longer drive the company car. Yet, we never stop discovering new joys each day and we plan to keep it this way no matter how the future will unfold.

Every night, my wife and I spend 10 to 30 minutes meditating before going to sleep. We both have our own methods, but prefer to keep our meditation simple. We use meditation to achieve mind tranquility and inner peace.

I set the alarm to go off at 7:00 A.M.—but rarely need it. I often wake up before 6:00 A.M. and remain in bed for up to one hour, allowing my soul to wander within the realm of here and now, engaging my energy in some fleeting but long lasting moments of the present to extend my contained inner peace.

I am approaching the final destination of life, and with all the achievements I have unlocked during the past 56 years, there is nothing left in me now but a feeling of no regret for the past, and a sense of no fear of the future.

The Now has consumed my entire soul since it took permanent residence in my heart during the autumn of 2011.

 

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Assistant Ed: Kathryn Ashworth/Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

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