Friday, June 16, 2006

The problem with grasping or clinging

I want to bring you a passage from an essay entitled "The roots of mindfulness" by Andrew Olendzki found in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy edited by Germer, Siegel and Fulton:
Much of our ordinary daily experience is colored by clinging. However, it is as dangerous as it is common, for a number of reasons. First there is the quality of compulsion, or being driven into action lacking in conscious choice. Without the mental ease to choose to act otherwise, we are in a cycle of conditioned responses, responding little differently than an animal or a machine might. We lose our humanity, our ability to act freely and with awareness.

Also, the pressing need to gratify the desire, whether it is in the pursuit of pleasure or the avoidance of pain, may lead us to overlook the needs and rights of others when they conflict with our own.

I don't want to be taken hostage by my impulses or compulsions. This is why mindfulness is so important. It helps me observe my own mind and make choices about what I want to do rather than have them made for me by my conditioning. Mindfulness will also help me experience more compassion for myself and others and act within and through that compassion rather than out of selfishness.

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