Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Getting to know your own mind

I want to show you an excerpt from an article called Mindfulness and Meditation in the Modern World:
As a moment of silence is filled with thoughts of distraction, desire for noise, company, or movement, you begin to discover how your mind works. The hum of a clock elicits a cycle of thoughts and feelings of movement, again you begin to understand how your mind works. Over time and practice, you may gain patience, first a tolerance, then an embrace of a deeper understanding of your self and your relationship to the world. The repetitive pattern of 'discovery' can arise in everything you do, and you may discover that introspection and reflection have created a space between experience and your reactions to them, a space in which you can choose your response. Practicing over and over while sitting, while walking, or doing daily activities are part of learning to be more mindful. Everyday objects can replace the breath in practice. For example, you can eat mindfully, observing the texture, smell, and taste of each bite of food, giving it your full attention. In this way, mindfulness can be integrated into daily life, when talking, walking, listening, or relating to others, the planet, or yourself.

Perhaps mindfulness, meditation, and other mind-body practices (such as yoga and tai chi) are increasing in popularity in the West because they let us experience internal investigation, without it being so verbal in nature. They provide us with an awareness of the chatter within and around us, they provide us with a gift of listening, they provide us with great insight into our very nature. It is a misperception to think that meditation means silencing the mind, silencing thoughts or feelings; it is a process of learning about the mind, full of the complexity it holds.
Mindfulness meditation is about really getting to know yourself. It's not about "making the mind go blank" or any such nonsense. It's about seeing what's really there and getting acquainted with our habitual reactions. Only then can we make different choices than we have habitually done and thereby improve our lives.

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