What are you grateful for, right now in this moment of your life? Is it easy to see? Gratefulness and being generous become part of the essential fundamentals of mindfulness practice because if we watch our minds closely, we are often preoccupied with things that are wrong and things that we would like to be different from how they are in this present moment. When we are busy complaining or worrying about things that are not quite how we would like them to be, it becomes difficult to be grateful and it…Read more
As human beings of course we should be kind. So, what does this have to do with mindfulness? Kindness often can manifest itself from a deeper place of understanding how we are as human beings. In mindfulness, we are able to put a bit of a space between stimulus and response, thus accurately seeing this moment for what it is. We learn not only to see how we or someone else responds to a particular situation, but it also allows for us to see what has caused this reaction in ourselves and others. If we are…Read more
Curiosity is an important aspect to mindfulness practice. Each moment is a new moment in time and space. To fully encounter the moment without coming to it with a lot of preconceptions and the thought that we already know what it is, can be best done with a sense of curiosity and investigation. When we are curious about the fullness of each moment, we might find that there are things about each experience that we have not noticed before. In essence, we are changing our view and our vantage point and…Read more
Letting go can be one of those phrases that we hear a lot. You tell someone something you worry about or something that matters to you but seems insignificant to the other person and they reply with, "Oh, just let it go. It's no big deal." This kind of blase' response is not particularly helpful and is not exactly what this foundation of mindfulness is pointing to.
The kind of letting go we are discussing in mindfulness may be understood more as loosening our grip on something on which we have gotten…Read more
All the foundations of mindfulness practice are important and they all inform each other. Acceptance, for me resonates as one of the most important and sometimes the most difficult foundation of mindfulness practice. Acceptance has an easy definition but certainly not an easy one to put in to practice. Its definition is to see things as they actually are in the present moment. Sounds simple enough right? But, how many times are we held hostage by our thinking because we want things to be different than they…Read more
Whenever I discuss the topic of non-striving in an MBSR class, I often get strange looks from people. After all, isn't that what we are supposed to do....strive to accomplish things, gain more, and get to our goals on time? The question comes up, that if we are not striving to get something done, then what are we doing? Of course we should strive to make our lives and the lives around us better, more meaningful, healthy, and peaceful. But in meditation in particular and mindfulness in general, a striving…Read more
Trusting in yourself may seem like an easy thing to do, but if we get caught up in our thinking, we may be misled by our tightly held beliefs, ideas, or opinions. In mindfulness meditation we are invited into this deep trust of ourselves, to trust our intuition. It is asking us to trust that if something does not feel right to us, then we have to trust our feelings and honor them in a way that is a true expression of ourselves.
In my years of Zen practice, teachers would always test this trust. You may…Read more
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. ”
― Shunryu Suzuki
The foundational principle of mindfulness that addresses the beginner's mind speaks to how we can miss the miracle of the "ordinary" or over emphasize the "extraordinary" if we get caught up in our preconceptions. In order to touch the immediacy of the present moment in its fullness, it requires that we step back…Read more
In a world of fast pace with expectations of quick responses and immediate access to knowledge, it is very easy to find ourselves being impatient. Of course there are many parables around this topic like the child who becomes impatient and breaks open the chrysalis in hopes to see an emerging butterfly. There is also the Taoist story from Chuang Tzu:
“Let us not be like the man of Sung. There was a man of Sung, who was grieved that his growing corn was not longer, and so he pulled it up. Having done this…Read more
The first of the foundational attitudes of mindfulness is non-judging. In mindfulness practice, we do our best to pay attention to the present moment, in its entirety. Not just pieces of the moment, but all of it. If we are to see the present moment and experience it in its fullness it requires us to set aside our ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes, so that we may see things as they actually are. When we see things through a distorted lens, that is only part of the picture. In…Read more