just do this...for the rest of your life
Jul 26, 2019
I thought you were practising mindfulness? I don't see any results.
Fair point. Fact is, you’re probably not being mindful. I mean, even if you want to be mindful, most times you probably come up short. So, what to do? I think the best thing is to exercise those mouth muscles. Smile. It changes everything. It's also a useful doorway into the guest house of the beginners mind. Smiling helps with starting again. There’s a resilience in smiling. Seriously. Seriously start smiling.
Then there’s wisdom. Wise words are like a cool, refreshing glass of water. They rehydrate intention. And intention with mindfulness really does invite you to soften up. Just soften up into some of those button-pressing moments. You know them, they happen all the time. They're intimate to you. Just see if you can soften into them. And by 'soften' I mean, pause on recognising your buttons being pressed. Just pause. Okay, it's here. Feel it in the body. Activate the old parasympathetic nervous system. Get that longer out-breath kicking in. You know the deal. Perhaps even congratulate yourself on recognising this moment.
The whole point of this blog is to share with you my own mindfulness quest but also - more importantly for you, I'm sure - to share with you the words, thoughts and wisdom of teachers, practitioners and influencers. At the moment, as you may know from my last piece, I'm reading Pema Chodren. It's a cooling aid.
My own challenging situation at the moment is simply one of transition, adjustment. But that can throw up a lot of stuff. The one thing it prompts me to do is actually meditate. Just so I can see things clearly and not get caught up. But my practice is - how should I put it? - desultory. Yeh, desultory. I need to get back on track.
Here’s what Pema Chodren has to say about the value of getting back on track through your practice.
The first thing that happens in meditation is that we start to see what’s happening. Even though we still run away and we still indulge, we see what we’re doing clearly. One would think that our seeing it clearly would immediately make it just disappear, but it doesn’t. So for quite a long time, we just see it clearly. To the degree that we’re willing to see our indulging and our repressing clearly, they begin to wear themselves out. Wearing out is not exactly the same as going away. Instead, a wider, more generous, more enlightened perspective arises. How we stay in the middle between indulging and repressing is by acknowledging whatever arises without judgment, letting the thoughts simply dissolve, and then going back to the openness of this very moment. That’s what we’re actually doing in meditation. Up come all these thoughts, but rather than squelch them or obsess with them, we acknowledge them and let them go. Then we come back to just being here. As Sogyal Rinpoche puts it, we simply “bring our mind back home.” After a while, that’s how we relate with hope and fear in our daily lives. Out of nowhere, we stop struggling and relax. We stop talking to ourselves and come back to the freshness of the present moment. This is something that evolves gradually, patiently, over time. How long does this process take? I would say it takes the rest of our lives. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times
So go and rehydrate. Get back on track. Do it now. Even if it's a one minute med. It all helps.