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Showing posts from May, 2012

Awareness requires no effort

Here's something that I have found useful over the last few months. It's one of those thoughts that cuts through the nonsense and gets right to it. Is the mind aware or am I trying to be aware? Am I looking or am I seeing? Can I hear sounds effortlessly? Am I sitting on the river bank watching the water flow by, or have I dammed it up to control it completely while I think my river thoughts? Is my awareness effortless?

Once I realise that there is too much effort going on, there's a natural letting go and, for a few moments at least, the awareness is just peachy. This moment of letting go also has benefits as it brings along some feelings of contentment and openness. If I can remain with these moments then they lead deeper into other conditioned states that are very illuminating.

Anything that requires no effort is something I have a keen interest in. Things just happen. I don't need to add my sauce on top.

Contracted or relaxed

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I am going to go on about these two states again as I reckon it is a good place to start with mindfulness of the mind. The general idea is to appreciate that the mind is in either a contracted or a relaxed state and then take it from there. Both states are very powerful. One makes us empowered; we achieve things, we make things happen, we exert ourselves in the world. The other brings contentment and open heartedness; we access the the gateway to a different realm of being - spacious, free.

You might like to notice how things look when we are in these mind states. From a contracted mind state, the idea of relaxing seems like a waste of time - after all, we are not doing anything useful. Conversely, when we are relaxed the world of busy people seems like an exercise in hamster wheel futility. We might realise that these basic mind states are a kind of visor that changes how we see the world - if I wear this outfit then the world is like this. It is quite interesting to see how our per…

Learning to tame the mind - recognize two mind states

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I like to keep things simple and this will be my attempt to explain the beginnings of something rather complex (leading to something very wondrous) in as simple a manner as I can manage. Before I get going, the first thing that we need to accept is this:

- we have a mind but it is not who we are

Therapists will like to refer this to us as we sit in our tangled mess of thinkings; "you are not your thoughts". An experienced sufferer might discount this statement as nonsense but over time it becomes the truest thing we might ever realize. So, that's that.

The next step is to start recognizing what is going on with this mind of ours. Here comes the simple bit: we notice that it goes through various cycles but the main one to observe is that we become contracted (we are getting things done, we are stressed out, upset) and we become relaxed (we are letting things go). Sounds obvious. However, merely noticing these two states takes a lot of effort - we need to catalog everythi…

Spontaneous art

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I've always enjoyed dabbling in art but this has been curtailed since my ability to concentrate basically disappeared when my illness moved in. This has led me to doing spontaneous pictures and pseudo random music - I pick up the pencil and doodle, I sit at the piano and do random things. One thing I have found interesting is that the artistic output is dependent on the tools I use. Anyway here's one I did on Brushes on the iPad; a very soothing app. It's just a doodle of a monkey but there's something very cathartic about doodling. I would encourage everyone to doodle.