Tag Archives: mindfulness

Mindfull, Mindful

Has anyone else notice an explosion in the use of the word “mindfulness”?  It seems that every topic – secular or spiritual – all have the term “mindful” in the title. Mindful Eating. Mindful Parenting. Mindful Gardening.  Even “mindful meditation”. (Really? Isn’t all meditation mindful? Apparently not.)

Turns out mindfulness is more than being aware; it’s about bringing all of our energy, being fully present – body, attention, emotion – to what we are doing.  And the payoff is that we find our self in a sacred moment.  As I am beginning to learn it, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhât Hanh saw us in North America being so busy racing around that we weren’t fully living.  Our bodies were busy, racing from one thing to the next, our minds were doing the same thing, preoccupied, flitting from one idea to the next, we were missing the point of it all.

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We are so busy Doing, we are not Being, we are unaware of the sacred and precious that which is present in that moment.  With mindfulness, we are “training the monkey-mind”; pretty accurate, eh?

If we know it’s bad for our body and our mind and our emotional well-being, to be running all the time, why do we do it?  I wonder if we’ve “drunk the kool-aid” believing that “time is money”, so to waste either makes us somehow “less than”?  Does doing three things at once, or squeezing in one more activity, moving onto the next task before we’ve quite finished the one we’re on, make us more worthy?  How do you feel when you are multi-tasking? How does it affect your zest for life?

 

As I am learning, Mindfulness invites us bring all of our awareness to one task at a time.  To focus our mind, all of our body’s energy, all of our heart’s connection to What We Are Doing, right now; beginning with the breath, to slow everything down and focus On This Moment.  Harder than it sounds. That’s why it’s called a “practice”; we must try and try again. But it is worth the effort.

For example, I confess that often when I’m knitting I am thinking about something else.  But as I practice mindful knitting, when the monkey-mind is dampened, 123rf 4752720-close-up-shot-of-two-hands-knitting-with-red-yarn

I become fully present to what I am doing right now. I see how amazing the body is: that I can breathe without thinking about it, that my eyes can see, that the hand is so very intricate. I notice how the yarn feels slipping across fingers, the variances in depth of colour and texture. I feel profound amazement as I bring all my mind and heart to what my hands are doing.  I become aware of all the elements, creatures, and people which have been involved in bringing the yarn to me, and having the money to buy it; I am brought to deep gratitude.  When I am practicing mindfulness, fully present to the moment I am in, I become awed; I touch the reality of Being Alive and connected, and am touched by the Sacred.  Harder than it sounds, but worth the practice. And  I am only just beginning.

 

 

*Thanks to uhs.umich.edu for the great “Mind-full or Mindful” image! and 123rf-4752720 for “hands knitting”

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Autumnal Amazement

Autumn amazes me. The blackbirds and sparrows fly like piece of fabric on the wind – one plane but undulating like a wave, turning as precisely as if they had internal GPS. gettyimages-com-uk The geese fly in formation, and land as one choreographed chorus of dancers on the river.   The deer begin to group up into small herds.  How it they know to do that, automatically?

The leaves change from a deep green to vibrant yellow and red.  The constellations move in such a way that we miss familiar “faces” for a time.  We lose two minutes per day of daylight until March, like clockwork. How does that happen?

rockland-luhudblogs-comI know, I know, it can be explained easily by science and chemistry. But knowing how it happens in detail doesn’t take away, at all, from the sheer magical experience of noticing it.  Experiencing the Holy in it.

Noticing changes transforms how I relate to this time of year.  From “brrr…do I have to get out of bed?!” and cries of “argh – where’d I put my longjohns?!” becomes “oh. my. Just look at that palette of colour!”  The fire-engine red of the sumac tree in my yard always brings a smile to may face, and the orange of that hedge shrub makes me feel “everything’s going to be alright”.

I, too, lament that the sun doesn’t have that kiss of warmth in it.  I, too, don’t like the fact that, sooner than I consciously think, it will be dark long before my supper’s out of the freezer.  Yes, I, too, don’t look forward to feet and feet of snow to shovel. bio-brandeis-edu

But when I just stay noticing what is around me, how the animals behave in this time of change, how the earth and sun move and change,  I am stopped short with Awe and Wonder and Gratitude.  It becomes one of those “take your breath away” moments.  A Timeless Now.

No matter what else I may be lamenting this week (and there’s lots to be sad about if you listen to the news, and look around our province), this glory of Autumn makes me feel that it’s going to be ok.

My work is to Be Aware; call it “mindful”, maybe.  Whatever, I am to Be Amazed, Be Grateful, and let that lead me to caring for the bit of land and air that I have to steward.

Maybe it’s enough to recognize and be part of this Holy Time.

 

Many thanks for the great photography of gettyimages.co.uk, rockland.luhudblogs.com, and bio.brandeis.edu