By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
Someone close to me recently asked me what I thought about Nirvana. Being a smart aleck, and trying to give myself time to think through my answer, I asked my friend if he meant the band or the state of being. He replied, “You know, Nirvana. Shang-Ri-La.” It took me a moment to respond as I have a hard time determining exactly what Nirvana means to me. For some, I know it may mean an ethereal vision of heaven. For others, it may mean the resolution of this life’s pain.
When I think of Nirvana, I imagine a state of inner peace and harmony. I envision an overwhelming sense of well-being. I believe it is not a place or a state that I will only encounter upon death, but, rather, something I can strive to find during my daily life. The moments of contentment and peace may be fleeting, but they will be perfect moments.
Therefore, for the past three or four New Year’s, my resolution has been to find a state of grace. Grace in the way I treat myself and others. Grace in the way I view the world. Grace in my desire to continually strive for inner peace. For I know that when I am in turmoil, I am further away from the person I desire to be: a caring, compassionate person with the patience to see life’s daily trials with humor and grace.
I know in this season of New Year’s resolutions it is easy to focus on tangible goals. However, I have found this seemingly intangible goal of striving to live in a more graceful manner more meaningful than any other goal I have made. I am more self-aware and feel more empowered to engender the changes needed to bring forth significant personal growth and personal fulfillment.
Thus, as I thought through my answer to what Nirvana was for me, I realized that the closest I had come to it was a few years ago. I had hiked up a canyon in the Bitterroot Mountains in western Montana with my family and we were sitting by the chutes of a river. I looked up to see a pine forest mountainside glinting in the sunlight. The stream water babbled as it rushed by. I listened as my Dad told us his childhood stories about growing up hiking those hills. I was in a state of inner peace and harmony. I was in the place I most loved with those I most cherished and felt, for that instant, complete contentment. That, for me, was Nirvana.
© Ramona Flightner, writer