Thursday, October 19, 2006

Letting go of rigidity

My word, this woman is sensible! I want to share with you another excerpt from Living Meditation, Living Insight by Dr. Thynn Thynn. This whole book is written in question/answer form and Dr. Thynn's answer to the following question gives me enormous respect for her:
Q: I have tried being mindful of the moment. But it is strenuous and I get all tangled up.

A: For goodness sakes, staying with the moment is only a figure of speech. It is not a commandment to be followed rigidly. This is not a proficiency test. You must understand this from the outset; otherwise you will be tied up in knots trying too hard every second of the day.

If you become too involved with staying in the moment, you lose the art of living -- of free flowing.

You must realize that staying with the moment is just a means to break the mind's old habits. Usually the mind flitters between thoughts and feelings about the past, present and future. Staying with the moment is just a way to train the mind to cease flitting.

It is not important that you be with the moment every single moment of the day. What is important is that you learn to get out of the constant mental run-around and to be more focused and grounded.

Once you break the habit of the roaming mind, you will find you are more centered and more with the present moment.
Sometimes people are more concerned with "getting it right" than they are with accepting what is. When we accept what is, we accept that we're not going to get it right all the time. This is just common sense! So let go of perfectionism and don't get rigid or legalistic about any of the instructions about working with the mind. Remember, it's the spirit, not the letter, of the law that gives life.


  1. Ellie,

    This post is truly a gift - on so many levels. I am grateful to be introduced to Dr. Thynn.


  2. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Along these lines, I've thought, hey, utter absorption might not be such a bad thing at times. Utter absorption in joy even if it meant giving up mindful awareness for a few moments might be alright. I've been thinking about "flow" (coined by m. czetnsh.... the russian with the unspellable name) and mindfulness. Anyone else given that any thought?

  3. Anonymous12:12 AM

    I've thought of being in the moment as the path that leads to being absorbed by joy. First, being in the moment allows me to notice those things which give me joy instead of just passing them right by. Second, if I stay in the moment I leave previous things behind me whether they be good or bad. Therefore, I am not always dragging all this excess baggage around. That has always seemed to be an experience which has the potential to be pretty joyful to me. Now, I only have to keep practicing how to do it!!
    Carolyn L.


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