None of it prepared me for the firsthand experience.
Once, an elderly couple waltzed past me on a dance floor, and for just a moment I was unexpectedly aware of the sensation of joy. A flare-up of blazing delight, without my usual cynicism or jealousy. It was the first time I'd felt pure undiluted happiness in all my six decades. When the joy disappeared, there was no desire to hold on to it.
Years later, mindfulness introduced me to embarrassment. A woman insulted me at a party in front of a group. The heat of humiliation flooded my cheeks. My heart pounded, fast and loud. And, at the same time, I was peaceful, even curious. So … you’re shame. I’ve heard a lot about you. Then shame and I kept each other company for a few minutes.
Mindfulness. I didn't practice it. It saturated my parched landscape like a cloudburst. My emotions flourished, joy and shame equally lush.
Mindfulness: uncaused, unavoidable, unreasonable.