"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about progressively opening your heart and calming your mind enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trouble in Mind

"Trouble in mind, babe, I'm blue,
but I won't be blue always
Yes, the sun gonna shine,
in my back door someday
-- Big Bill Broonzy, "Trouble in Mind"

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent,
dynamic nature of your own being and of reality,
you increase your capacity to love and care about other people
and your capacity to not be afraid."
-- Pema Chödrön, Practicing Peace in Times of War


I regularly Sit for an hour each morning these days.  I have no idea at this point whether this is a sign of advanced practice, personal inadequacy, or addiction.  It could be said that this daily ritual is a result of my personal commitment to Practice. It doesn't feel like that anymore.  It's just what happens when I roll out of bed most mornings.

Over the years I've learned that labeling a particular meditation session "good" or "bad" is missing the point.  Although I certainly notice my own tendency to prefer the pleasant sensations of a particularly bright, calm and spacious quality of consciousness over the claustrophic feeling tone of doom and gloom melodrama or the buzzy feeling of endless discursive prattle, it is precisely there that Practice begins.  I suppose its the primary lesson of Buddhism 101: A whole lot of needless suffering seems to emerge from the conditioned habit of mindlessly grasping onto the pleasant and reflexively rejecting the unpleasant.  Bringing that process into the light of Mindfulness opens a new world of possibility. 

As we bring Mindfulness to the present moment oftentimes we see quite clearly that the "trouble in mind" is quite ephemeral.  It is just held in place by the current storyline.  Seeing that clearly, the sun returns, sometimes instantaneously.  

Yet there are also deeply troubled waters in life.  Mindfulness Practice then becomes the bridge to a deeper understanding.  Gently and courageously opening our hearts and minds to the horrors and sadness of life, exploring and embracing the human condition as we experience it with diligence and care brings forth a deep transformation.  And, wonder of wonders,  it increasingly allows us to open to deeper levels of joy and peace and amazement as well. 


When we are no longer deeply invested in grabbing for one thing and pushing away another, a new sense of ease and appreciation emerges.  When we aren't attempting to dam the river of life to suit our own, generally unexamined,  preconceptions (often damning the river in the process), the flow gets to be even more deeply interesting and worthwhile.  At times, the river dances and sparkles, reflecting the brilliant sun. At times it glowers. consuming storm clouds as it broils downstream.  It is still the river.  As we approach our True Nature, we see that we, too, are the river -- and Love becomes increasingly possible. 

It just takes Practice.