Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Some thoughts on mindfulness

If you remember that awareness of whatever occurs is meditation, then meditation becomes much easier than you may think.

-Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Read this passage this morning in The Joy of Living. It's pretty much the whole  #mindfulness concept/practice in a nutshell.

Amazing how just paying attention to something can make such a difference. My foot fell asleep while I was sitting this morning, and I decided to focus on that sensation in my foot. I had never noticed what it really felt like before--a combination of pressure at certain points and that more familiar prickling sensation. Kind of strange to meditate on your foot, I guess, but surprisingly relaxing, nonetheless.

Or maybe it's the feel of the ground under my feet, or the tension in my muscles as I stretch, or the coldness of the water in the shower, or the texture of the steak, or the sound of the tea china rattling on top of the fridge, or ticking of the clock, or my own breath in my lungs.

But by far the best part yet has been noticing my own thought patterns--selfishness, insecurity, frustration. Mingyur Rinpoche likens our thoughts to a monkey jumping around inside a house, looking out all of the windows. And he says that just watching the monkey jump around is a form of meditation.

It's hard not to get caught up and carried away in the jumping and fretting--become the monkey. But the whole process does have a calming effect, and it's been teaching me to start noticing these thought patterns as they arise and just watch them go by, rather than always hopping around with them.

It's also teaching to to accept my thoughts, my actions, and whatever, and take "the blame," without worrying about it threatening my self-image, because I can see that monkey fretting about it, and I know he's just a monkey.

That awareness and willingness to know and accept everything just as it is is freeing. (It reminds me of  one of my favorite songs, by Tiesto: Just Be.)

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