Mindfulness is great. Studies show that it keeps us focused, reduces anxiety and increases our level of calm.
But mindfulness is just half the story. There is another part that is greatly missing.
Right now, for example, I am mindful of the fact that I am sitting at home, typing on the laptop keyword, hearing the sounds of thunder and rain.
This helps me to live in the present and avoid all sorts of worries, like: will this column be interesting? Will people read it? Will I finish writing it before my children come home?
So mindfulness reminds us of the “what” of life. What’s missing, though, is the “why”. Why am I here at this moment? What’s the reason for my existence in this particular place?
In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes the journeys of the Jewish people that led them from Egypt to the Holy Land. The list contains 42 stops in various places in the desert.
Looking under the hood, we find some surprising facts. The stops are not the same. One stop lasted more than 20 years, while others only lasted one night and the caravan continued the next morning.
Why is it so important to share these details?
It is almost as if you share details of your cross-country trip to Yellowstone with your friends and describe every pit stop you’ve made. Sounds uninteresting to me!
Yet this is the exact message that the Torah wanted to convey.
Every stop on your life journey is important and intentional.
Every place we visit has a reason and purpose for our visit.
And no step can be skipped.
Whether the stop lasts an hour, one night or 20 years, it is directed by divine providence. It’s all part of the plan.
Sometimes we can easily see G-d’s plan. Sometimes it takes years for us to understand why our life journey has taken us through this place. It could be for our own benefit or for others who need our help. And yet the reasons may sometimes remain unknown to us.
But it was all masterfully planned for us by the one above.
Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety. But purposefulness is the secret sauce of life that makes it all worth it.