Friday, November 11, 2005

More about mindfulness

Here are some wonderful comments on mindfulness by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche from his article How to Meditate:
How we tame the mind is by using the technique of mindfulness. Quite simply, mindfulness is compete attention to detail. We are completely absorbed in the fabric of life, the fabric of the moment. We realize that our life is made of these moments and that we cannot deal with more than one moment at a time. Even though we have memories of the past and ideas about the future, it is the present situation that we are experiencing.

Thus we are able to experience our life fully. We might feel that thinking about the past or the future makes our life richer, but by not paying attention to the immediate situation we are actually missing our life. There's nothing we can do about the past, we can only go over it again and again, and the future is completely unknown.

So the practice of mindfulness is the practice of being alive. When we talk about the techniques of meditation, we're talking about techniques of life. We're not talking about something that is separate from us. When we're talking about being mindful and living in a mindful way, we're talking about the practice of spontaneity.

It's important to understand that we're not talking about trying to get into some kind of higher level or higher state of mind. We are not saying that our immediate situation is unworthy. What we're saying is that the present situation is completely available and unbiased, and that we can see it that way through the practice of mindfulness.

I like the statement that we are not trying to get into some kind of higher state of mind. Many people come to meditation instruction thinking that the objective is to be in some lofty, ethereal state of altered consciousness. But meditation is about being fully present to what is. And the more we train ourselves to do that, the more liberated we become because we are then not trapped in the past or full of obsessions about the future.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:55 PM

    Mindfulness also makes my life richer in that I am at least sometimes aware when I respond to something out of an attitude of judgment. When this awareness of judging happens, I can stop and reassess whether my reaction is valid or not. This was not something which happened before I began meditating.
    Carolyn L.


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