"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about calming your mind and opening your heart 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, March 2, 2017

Just a Few Thoughts...

"One can appreciate and celebrate each moment -- there is nothing more sacred.
There is nothing more vast and absolute.  In fact, there is nothing more."
-- Pema Chödron, 
Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. 
Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” 
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace




March Snow 2014
After days of warm, springlike weather, it seems that Mother Nature is poised to dish out a few single digit overnights again here in Western Massachusetts.

If history repeats itself, we could still get some serious snow before She rolls up her sleeves to sow spring hereabouts.

Then again, maybe not.  Then again, maybe...

Ah.  "thinking, thinking".  

Tending to to speculate, compare,  exaggerate, "thinking mind" can create all sorts of story lines about the weather -- or anything else imaginable.

All too often, it's just another snow job.

Yet, when I pause to gaze at the sun and shadows playing across the tawny world outside the window, when I open to the sounds of the birds twittering,  the wind whispering through leafless trees, and the traffic humming in the distance, when I let go of the storylines and just feel myself sitting here breathing, the world immediately expands.  Not constrained by the fetters of thought, Life becomes 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 moving on to click READ MORE
A Few Thoughts on Not Thinking

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--and therein lies the rub.  The dance that you and I are engaged in involves massaging words. They are a primary form of our connection through time and space at this moment.

That being the case, I will now use this mode of cyber-print connection to pester any of you who didn't pause:

Please close your eyes take three, slow, deep, conscious breaths.  Feel your body.  Feel your heart for a few moments before you continue.  Listen to the sounds emerge in the space around you.  Then open your eyes and look around.  
Feel the difference!?

Okay.  

What was I thinking?

Oh, yeah.

Although the Zen tradition stresses that thoughts and words are "limited" in their usefulness, it's not that thoughts are badIn fact, the part of our being that generates thoughts is itself an absolute wonder.  I marvel at the magical emergence of thoughts, at their expression here as my fingers dance along a keyboard to create a stream of words across this screen.  

It's sheer magic.

Yet, it is also true that thoughts can readily serve to ensnare us incessantly in a web of distraction, creating a distorted reality in deep and fundamental ways.  Thoughts can catapult us out of the moment into endless dramas about yesterday and tomorrow. They can and do make mountains out of molehills that then serve to have us scrambling up slopes that don't actually exist.

Yet, when they are balanced with finer sensibilities, thoughts are marvelous tools.  They can be harnessed to improve the quality of our lives in substantial and practical ways.  Thoughts are also capable of poetic brilliance, capable of expressing insights and inspirations that help bring us into our hearts and into 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.  It is just part of this amazing package we have incarnated with at this point.   Like anything else, it simply is. 

Reality? It's Beyond Words

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, compassionate, and more comprehensive quality of consciousness.  The process of Sitting Still and merely noticing that we are thinking, making the 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.  

No longer dominating our attention like an overbearing soloist in the unique hymn of our own experience, the thinking mind returns to its proper place as a member of the choir.  

As we return to present moment with all our senses engaged, with our eyes attuned to the symphony of colors around us, as we feel the dancing sensations of our breath and body, hearing the sounds play across the ever- present silence, something shifts.  

Reality asserts itself.

With our hearts and minds open to the vast, spacious, boundless universe of Awareness, the Present Moment emerges as the Precious Miracle that it is.  The Heart of Reality, existing both deeply within us and infinitely beyond us, embraces us as we embrace it.  The One Love becomes self-evident. 

Our thoughts can sing in harmony with this -- or not.  In the all- embracing heart of the present moment, even apparent dissonance isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It simply is.  With Practice we can embrace that as well. 

At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it -- or not. 

2 comments:

Christopher Kulp said...

Nice! Just... nice! We need these reminders from time to time.

Sheri B. said...

It's very nice to share the message of mindfulness, and kindness. Thank you for your article. It made me smile