Most people perceive things through the distortion of desire, aversion, or delusion; grasping for objects with thoughts, “I like this, I don’t like this,” or grasping for self with assumptions of “I am this, I am not this.”
It is our predisposition and assumptions that distort perception. For example, we might be basically aware that we are experiencing sadness, yet there is a difference between being able to say “I am sad” and being mindful of sadness.
When somebody is just generally aware that they’re sad, they may be caught in the story of it. They may be judging their experience or be caught in a reaction to the experience.
That is not mindfulness.
by Sergei Aparin
by Shalia Catherine
Situations of inconvenience are terrific areas to discover, test, or develop your equanimity. How gracefully can you compromise in a negotiation? Does your mind remain balanced when you have to drive around the block three times to find a parking space? These inconveniences are opportunities to develop equanimity. Rather than shift the blame onto an institution, system, or person, one can develop the capacity to opt to rest within the experience of inconvenience.
We can observe the mechanism behind our emotions and triggers. Sometimes the mechanism of the mind enhances thoughts without mindfulness. Investigate the desire behind the thought.
What is it? Investigate the desire thoroughly, know it completely. Awareness can dissolve the illusions.
Mindfulness for us, is not a spiritual journey over decades with attention to abstract thoughts and concepts.
At its most basic form, it is following the breath as we slow it down on the breathing track, period.
We practice this to be able to feel our triggers fully as Shailia Catherine describes here:
“Feelings are to be felt, known, understood fully.
We intentionally cultivate mindfulness with feeling.”
Being able to stay present and feel our feelings fully without the distraction of traumas story, integrates and heals the mind. Nothing is behind to story but our fight or flight drugs and reactions. Nothing to fear in real life, thoughts are air without attention.
Be here, empty of thought and discover the miracle of living, minus doubt, worry and fear!
“How much effort does it take to be present right now? How much effort do you need to feel the breath, observe the body sitting, hear the sounds around you, or let go of distraction and worry?
Adjusting the quality and quantity of effort is one of the most important meditative skills. If we strive too hard, we may distort and manipulate what is happening rather than be mindful of it.
But if we hold back, procrastinate, or don’t connect with our experience completely, then laziness and complacency may dull the mind.
Balancing our effort is the art of meditation. But balance is not a static state. Balance is attained by continuously responding to what is needed now. If your face is tense, perhaps you can relax that excess muscular effort.
If your thoughts wander habitually to past dramas or future plans, perhaps a stronger determination to be fully present is needed. Right now what is the quality of engagement that you need to be fully awake, fully committed, and responsive to whatever is happening within and around you?”
From Wisdom Wide and Deep by Shaila Catherine:
“Insight is not intended to foster cleverness, speculation, or intellectual knowledge. Insight refers to an immediate knowing that will move you beyond the fragmentation of the conceptual mind. Problems arise only through how you conceive of things. You make experience problematic by conceiving of the impermanent as permanent, by interpreting that which is unreliable as satisfactory, and by viewing what is impermanent and unreliable as self.”
In plain English, we can not think our way out or follow the ego. The ego is impermanent and unreliable, needing approval and energy from us to exist. Be here and experience now, instead of getting lost in cognitive wandering.
Isaac Ilyich Levitan
“Insight into the characteristics of dukkha (suffering) is gained by realizing that everything that is impermanent will inevitably bring dissatisfaction or distress. In essence, anything that is pleasant is vulnerable to loss; anything born will die; anything unstable is an unreliable support for happiness.
Simply because mental and material phenomena are impermanent, they are the basis for suffering, not happiness.
“There is simply no place in the cycle of birth, struggle for survival, aging, and death.
The countless activities of living create a relentless impingement on the senses; we move from one activity to the next without ever finding a reliable place of comfort.”
My bucket list has permanent things in it now with a few impermanent requests. Knowing my inner world and mechanisms intimately, familiarized me with my permanent true self. I wish to be present to experience all of life without doubt and with full effort. The whole universe is right here in front of us.