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Showing posts from February, 2012

How do I park my mind at night?

Here's an interesting awareness experiment that I like to do from time to time, and perhaps I should do it everyday but hey ho that's the way it goes.

There's a useful little gap between the end of daily activities and retiring to go to bed. Exercise some mindfulness and pay attention to what is going on: feeling tired, ready for bed, feeling agitated (this happened, then this), feeling calm, feeling alert, feeling sad, feeling frustrated, feeling stressed, and so on. Interestingly, we take these mind states into bed with us when we go to sleep. Armed with this knowledge, we might like to inject some pleasantness into proceedings. We all have our different ideas of pleasantness but we might like arouse some sensual pleasure or pick out a pleasant area of the mind to pay attention to. We might become distracted by our usual thinking habits, but try to stay with the good times. Notice the pleasurable feeling and hang your mind there for as long as you can. Stay with it, sta…

The pleasure in being

This body, this mind; just simmering. A boat gliding through calm waters, a wide open sky, a gentle breeze. Rediscovering Pink Floyd after all these years.

Raise your hands to the sky

Here's quite a simple way to generate some good vibes in your psychophysical organism - or you, to be more precise. It works best outside on a blue sky day with the sun on your face, but you can still get a good zing even if you do it in a darkened cave or a toilet cubicle. Stand up straight, open your hands in a gesture of submission and then raise them up arms akimbo right above your head. An optional gesture is to tilt your head back and soak up some heavenly juice but beware neck injuries. Hold your hands in the sky pose for as long as you can manage, enjoying the charge of energy that beams out of your heart.

I don't know why this works, it just does.

How do we reach completion?

Are you waiting to get to that point in life where things are just the way you want them? It's a tempting mirage to say 'I'll be happy when I get to x' - a new job, enough money, a nice house, a family, and so on. Are we happy when we live with these kind of goals? What if we don't reach 'point x'? Are we flexible? Perhaps we think of ourselves as a project we need to complete - I need to sort out my body, my mind, my lifestyle, my health, the way I am.

Interestingly, thinking about these things already says something about the way we are. Reaching a particular point of completion (car, house, retirement) usually does not deliver us from who we are - we usually tack on another goal after completing the last one. Can we see this?

There is a trick of perspective here. We need to achieve things but they should not become who we are. I made that mistake and it takes a lot of unpicking. Our worth is somewhere beyond this dynamic. Being chronically ill throws …

Find your heart

The body is a rich source of pleasant refreshment and, within that, the heart is like a gushing fountain of emotional thrill moments - some quite nice, some not so succulent. Place your awareness on your heart area; just be with it. Perhaps there is nothing there - this is quite common - you can't connect to it. Blow some pleasant thoughts through your head instead and try again later.

Back to the heart. Perhaps it feels soft, tender. Perhaps it yearns or aches. Perhaps it is a beating drum of delight. Perhaps it is ready to open you right up. Do you feel love in there? Do you feel unlovely? Is it hard? Does it feel it strong? Broken? Perhaps it is too much. Perhaps it is enough to acknowledge that we all have one and leave it at that. It is a vast area to explore.

How can nothing feel good?

Well, I guess it's a personal thing. Mainly, it is a relief to be free from 'what is usually going on in our lives'. From this relief springs a pleasant feeling, and from the pleasant feeling we can open a window into contentment. Once we are feeling content and spacious, we can let go of many mental objects and rest in a still place. Our reactivity is on the wane and we have connected up the dots of feeling settled.

Alternatively, you might get bored with nothing to do and nothing on your mind. This is always a risk in this type of situation. Perhaps boredom means something else?

Emptiness and the self - part 1

In my last post I was rattling on about how useful and refreshing an empty bowl can be. Moving on, I will now attempt to convince you that we are intrinsically empty and that this is an excellent idea to see for yourself. However, this may not be an easy thought to digest (if indeed you even bother to put it into your mouth (mentally speaking)).

So then, how to appreciate that we are not really who we think we are? First step is to acknowledge that we have thoughts and that these thoughts come and go. Try it now, observe your mind: what's he on about, I have better things to do, I need to do the washing up, why does no-one do the washing up, what's the world coming to, and so on. We see the thoughts, they contain ideas and new ones come up. One interesting perspective to realise is that: no-one else can hear your thoughts. Is that important? Well, perhaps.

Thoughts come and go. We see them come and go. Now we might dig a little deeper and ask ourselves: where do these thoughts…