"One can appreciate and celebrate each moment -- there is nothing more sacred.
|Chicago last year looking like MA this year.|
Of course if I was in the mountains of Colorado, even this could be seen as "no big deal". And so it goes. The thinking mind, tending to compare, tending to exaggerate, tending to speculate, can create all sorts of storylines about the winter snow cover. It can and will do that about anything and everything. All too often, it's just another snow job.
When I just gaze at the sun and shadows playing across the snowfield outside the window, when I open to the sounds of the birds twittering, the wind softly moaning, and the traffic humming in the distance here at my son's house north of Chicago, when I let go of the storyline and just feel myself sitting here breathing, the world immediately expands. Rather than being constrained by the fetters of thought, Life becomes vast and wondrous.
It happens every time I pause and stop typing. (You could, perhaps, pause here for a moment or two and open up to those other channels of your own experience right now before clicking READ MORE)
Now, after a moment, (did you actually pause and take a few conscious breaths?), thoughts work their way into my fingers, and you and I continue. It's not that thinking is a bad thing, exactly.
(OK. I am a Pest. If you didn't pause yet: DO IT NOW! LOL)
No, it's not that thinking is bad. In fact, the part of our being that generates thoughts is itself an absolute wonder.
Although it is obvious that thoughts can ensnare us incessantly in a web of distraction, although they can distort reality in a deep and fundamental way, they are also capable of being extremely helpful and useful, creating word pictures that can improve the quality of our lives in substantial ways. Although the thinking mind can catapult us out of the moment into endless dramas about yesterday and tomorrow, it is also capable of poetic brilliance, expressing insight and inspiration that helps bring us to the wonder of the present moment. Although it's clear to me that we meet Truth directly through a sensibility beyond words, the thinking mind in itself isn't bad. Like anything else, it simply is. At times, thoughts can help pave the way to hell -- or grease the skids to heaven.
One of the major merits of Mindfulness Practice is that we are able to expand our awareness to embrace thought in the arms of a clearer, kinder, and more comprehensive quality of consciousness. We can greater access to what is called Big Mind in the Zen tradition, experiencing a palpably more spacious and inclusive mode of awareness.
The process of Sitting Still and merely noticing that we are thinking, then making a mental note "thinking" with as much grace and gentleness as we can muster before returning our attention to our breathing, (and/or our bodily sensations, our other senses, or other meditation object), can be transformative.
With Practice, the quality of our own experience shifts. Rather than dominating our awareness and becoming a sovereign soloist in the unique hymn of our own experience, the mental noting practice aids in returning the thinking mind to its proper place as a member of the choir. As we return to present moment with all our senses engaged; feeling the dancing sensations of our breath and body, hearing the sounds play across the ever present silence, eyes attuned to the symphony of colors around us, hearts open to the entire universe of human feeling, the Present Moment emerges as the Miracle that it is.
Our thoughts can sing in harmony with this -- or not. In the all embracing heart of the present moment, even dissonance isn't necessarily a bad thing. It simply is. With Practice we can celebrate and appreciate it as well.
At least, that's what I'm thinking at the moment!
What do you think?