mindful livingPre-Mindfulness Course

Tomorrow night I begin a 6 week comprehensive course in Mindfulness with Natasha Rix from Mindful Living (Tauranga).

I’m durious and cubious. I mean curious and dubious.

I don’t enjoy sitting still.
I have enjoyed meditation.
This is what I’m assuming I’ve signed up for.
I love walking meditations.
I adored meditating with Bert and Ken upon Ohauiti Hill. We read profound texts aloud. Listened to music with a spiritual / world / magical quality. Then we meditated in quiet in each other’s presence. This was followed up with a sweet something we took turns to bring, and fascinating conversation.
I miss those eves, pregnant with husband and my second born.
I’ve also enjoyed meditation with Erin from Satsang with Erin.

I get the feeling I’m going to be encouraged to sit.
I’m fearful of all that I will meet in the nothingness.
The aches.
The impatience.
The tight chest when I’m reminded to focus on or watch my breath.
The resistance of ‘my character’.

A very guiding cousin of mine has done the Vipassana Retreat. My mind has blocked out how many days or hours he sat in silence. There he met his mind. The website says they offer a 10 day retreat. Did my inspiring cousin sit for 10 days in silence with himself, next to others? I feel claustrophobic and anarchic just contemplating it.

I have intended to participate in one of Natasha and Grant Rix’s introductory classes for the past 5 years (since we moved back home to Tauranga and I saw a flyer for their mindfulness courses at Playcentre). A generous handful of my closest local friends have completed the course and LOVED it. They’ve talked gently to me about how it’s positively influenced their lives.

Some say these courses on mindfulness with the Rix duo have saved their marriage. Some say it helps them be the calm, peaceful, loving person they want to be around their children. Others say Natasha (Mindful Living) provides a ‘How to’ to lead a happy life.

Even though the timing is a bit screwy and I’m having the most intense creative week of my mothering / creative / producer career (bar our wedding and the little YOGA festival, and maybe moving house) I’ve said yes to the challenge. This is also a new venture but one I’ve been manipulating in my mind. Tash and I are exchanging time rather than money for this course.

I write this blog with heart and a koha of time.
Writing is my meditation.
It’s where I let me be.

I haven’t ‘borned’ it to be a ‘job’.
But, I’d adore it to be.
By job, I mean, it providing me (which equals 3 kids, husband and dog) with a currency to do the things I love, and ‘be’  – authentic, brave, at ease, creative and happy.
I don’t want to advertise on this creative space that I intend for altruism.
By the same token I’m learning to ‘value’ my skills, my offerings.
I’ve figured I don’t need to receive money.
I’d be tickle pink to receive a community, skills, assets for festive occasions, invitations, teachings, offerings to help me and our family to be well and happy.

There you have it.
Stay tuned for a weekly update of my experience with Natasha and the mindfulness for well-being course (an introduction to meditation) in our bountiful Bay of Plenty.


Post Night 1

karma choeling monasteryI made it. Husband arrived in our driveway from Auckland at 7.18pm and I walked through the Mount Club’s double glass doors at 7.31pm.
I followed the mindfulness sign that pointed up the tall staircase (away from the TAB and the smell of beer on carpet) through the open doors into a spacious, fluro lit ‘conference’ room. I could see the base of the Mount (I think) through the vast windows beyond the people on the other side of a semi-circled group of chairs and about 18 people.
Tash (our Teacher) was sitting at the front, friendly and prepared. Her Tibetan bowl, some water, notes and other props I haven’t retained-to-memory are dotted around her.

lama tseringI will admit another point before I continue, some of my resistance in attending the mindfulness courses, have been my anticipation they’d be centred around Buddhism. Before anyone thinks I’m anti-Buddhist, I’d like to say, I’m interested, fascinated in all religions. My favourite University paper (apart from ‘Travel Writing’) was ‘Women in Religion.’ I’m receptive to anything that explores alternative ways to a sense of calm, happiness and well-being. I’ve been to a robust handful of Buddhist Teachings (mostly in my 20s) and been moved and led by them. Notably, Lama Samten from Karma Choeling Monastery in Kaukapakapa, and Lama Tsering Everest who gave teachings in TAPAC theatre  – I still occasionally play the CDs of her teachings. In my early 30s I started to chant with some thespian friends (of which there was a large community practicing as I explored Nichiren Buddhism) through Soka Gakkai International (SGI). I’m wondering if this is the place to write this, but, where I became unstuck with Buddhism is when a Teacher I greatly revere pointed out the similarities within Buddhism and Christianity around wanting to ‘be good’ – to put it simply. I am of course fairly naive and ignorant. I have not yet studied or immersed myself within one religion or philosophy for longer than a few weeks at a time. Perhaps this is an invitation to at least read essays which support and refute the notion that Buddhism and Christianity are similar. I do remember it’s said Jesus Christ met/studied with the Buddha. What I do know is, I feel alive and happy when I read Anita Moorjani’s story and listen to her interviews and how she focuses on accepting ourselves, accepting life and all its offerings (even the unwanted, the uncomfortable, the difficult). I feel warm and inspired when Anita encourages us to L O V E ourselves completely. There seems to be no shame in what she implores us to be – ALL of ourselves. Whereas the notion of converting anger into compassion, or of confessing one’s sins and striving to live by the commandments, seems to be making judgement on oneself. This judgement seems to be an activity that brings suffering. If I judge myself, then I also judge another. If I find it a challenge to accept myself, I have difficulty accepting another. Whereas ‘The Tao’ suggests we are everything. Capable of all. This ‘reality’ feels closest to L O V E, to acceptance, to calm.


“When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


Now that was a long aside…
What you may or may not be interested to know is during Night 1 of this 6 week Mindfulness Class – there is no reference to Buddhism, to any religion.

Point 1: Anyone can attend Tash’s Mindfulness Course(s) – irrespective of Religion, whether Christian, Taoist, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Agnostic, Hare Krishna

More about Night 1…
This took me by surprise – I was moved to tears by hearing the men and women in the room share their name, (some shared their profession) and their purpose or intention for being ‘here’.
I felt an instant sense of connection to everyone, and a genuine deep interest and care for all of us.
I guess I was expecting the room to be full of Mum’s wanting to manage their melt-downs with their under 5s – hint some of my motivation…
Instead in the arc of faces and bodies were high-functioning, big-hearted, humane, brave-to-try-something-new-and-stilling people who were living already full and successful lives as doctors, lawyers, business owners, mental wellness workers…
I was inspired by them – their honesty and generosity, their faces, their voices, their words.
I would get to spend another 5 evenings of learning with new people sharing a common purpose.
Community and commonality is powerful – that sense of belonging and purpose was potent.

The last ‘report’ for the night before I snuggle is:
I got a greater understanding of the definition of mindfulness. Tash suggested we can think of mindfulness as:

decreasing distress
increasing wellbeing
by training the mind

I liked also that she suggested it’s not actually mindfulness but BODY Mindfulness. Which I took to mean: the body’s experience (it’s keen awareness) informs the mind’s presence.

buddhism for mothersAs she spoke in that 7.30pm-9.00pm Thursday session other connections were being fired in my curious brain. The idea of Awareness (articulated so accessibly in Buddhism for Mothers) which I wrote about a few posts ago i.e. I’ve slowly cottoned on to focusing on the sensation of this experience of being alive (inside the physical body). I also thought about how a couple of pregnancies ago I’d recognised how much unnecessary tension I carry in my body and I’d started playing with how light or strong my touch or hold could be – it turns out this is also a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness – I feel less reluctant now.

It feels like Tash is highlighting some tools to employ in daily life, rather than adding another must-do thing to my already very-active day.

I have meditated (in a very casual way whilst lying in bed) twice for 5-10 minutes. I will admit to not feeling great success in this area. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.

The hold-up? Feeling like there’s no physical space or quiet me-time in my house (with 3 small children) for this. A friend gets up before her children – ouch. BEFORE 6am. I have an inkling I may be more of an evening ‘sitter’. We will see. Keep tuned with this life of a gal giving Mindfulness a go…


Post Night 2

Mindfulness is GOOOOOOOOD.

I like these classes with Tash.

We (I carpooled with a friend) were the first to arrive for Night 2. Fireworks cracked through the silence and hum of the air con above. I noticed the chairs were semi-circled differently to the week before – less space between each participant. Is this ‘deliberate’? I noticed I wasn’t so comfortable with the arrangement. I wanted to move my chair out a bit, to give myself more space, but i was concerned about offending someone or not being ‘part of the group’. Interesting. This is mindfulness at play already. 1) Noticing/observing what’s going on and 2) recognising how i feel about it.

Tash reminded us of an acronym for mindfulness, appetising to return to: C O A L. Curiosity. Openess. Acceptance. Love.


Can I have Curiosity, Open-ness, Acceptance and Love with all around me – with life, with people, with emotions, with beings, with relationships, with self?


And indeed I sit curious with my response to having less room to shuffle and be smelly in. This reminds me of one of my dear teachers from 1997 Sue Weston from the UK. She essentially taught movement ‘therapy’. Her student was Kate Hamblyn (who brought Sue out) and who originally taught a bunch of us for a bunch of time whilst at Drama School. From Sue and Kate we learnt sound and movement. They were teachers that were truly wise and saw each and every one of us, and gave such gentleness and kindness and (without us being aware at that stage most of us in our early 20s) therapeutic relief. With these women we learnt Chi Kung, dancing the elements, ancient rounds, rolling the bones and other body work, bubbling well points on soles. I remember Sue marvelling how large our circle was – the wider than English gap between each person in the circle, symbolising the space in New Zealand. This space indicated in the amount of DOC land, green, blue, white (natural) space, coupled with the lower population equalling less density.

A-ha, time to return to the children, to continue where a friend has left off, and encourage into moe time. I return anon.

SueDouble a-ha, I am again helping littlest into moe time again, and in between soothing have some to write. I cyber-searched dear Sue Weston and ‘jackpot’ she’s offering mindfulness and relaxation (still involving Qigong) classes and retreats in Scotland (e.g. the Holy Isle, Pontypool). Click here to go to her organisation Relax the Mind – direct your Scottish friends here.

Today’s post is becoming about teachers. And why not? This is the aspect of living I have most gratitude after my senses and physical body. I have written about the glory of teachers and learning before.

Lamas+Samten+&+ShedrupAnd to complete the curious circle I typed in dear Kate Hamblyn. I’ve know for years Kate tours with Lama Samten as his personal assistant around the world. I’ve included a photo from about the time of my visits to Karma Choeling. I found this website interesting (and will return to the chanting) so will include it today. Click here to visit a site dedicated to the Buddhist Healing Prayer Chants.

I realise we live in a world of fast and that articles should cut to the chase before readers get bored and jump to the next ‘writer’.

But, I am into the slow movement. To honour this I shall include a message from Kate which I find suitably adorable and you may too:


The Land of Wisdom teaches us wisdom.
Wisdom sees that everything is ok.
Everything is simple,
Everything is pure,
Nothing is complicated.
With everything be natural.
The Land of Wisdom teaches us to slow down.

That is why my Christmas message is slow…
There is nothing wrong with slow.
Good things take time.
Wisdom teaches us we are ok,even when we see a land of pooh, it is still ok.

Everything is just arbitary and names.
Ultimately pooh is not pooh. It is considered nectar.
Pooh doesn’t exist, it is just a name.

Relatively in the Tibetan tradition it is a very good omen. Human beings are never satisfied and never say no.
When they see pooh however, they say no. So that is a symbol of contentment and satisfaction.

I hope you are satisfied with your life.
Keep breathing and so will I.

Kate Hamblyn
5th January 2015


Back to class.

I can report 7.30pm-9.00pm flew by. We started the class ‘with a sit’ (meditating). Actually this was after being encouraged to walk around the room and feel the sensation (and information) of our feet contacting the floor. Walking with Body-Mindfulness, or without mind and in body. Allowing the body to inform our sensational experience and recognition. We returned. Then encouraged to sit (and shown positions which would sustain a comfortable practice) and sit we did. Some in chairs, others on wooden meditation stools, and myself and many on the floor upon a conglomerate of strategically stacked and stuffed supportive firm cushions.

I found this meditation fairly enjoyable. As we shared later, I find when asked to focus on my breathing, i notice a sense of tightness or self-consciousness, or actually if i’m authentic challenging the instruction. When asked to breathe in I observe this: sucking breath in from outside of my body. My shoulders and chest rise up. It feels tight across the top of my torso, almost the band in line with my armpits. Then there’s a suspension a holding ‘at the top’ which i can register in my upper torso back. When my inner dialogue says the words ‘focus on breathing out’ has this sensation: breathing out feels gentle calm, but again there is a subtle panic at the end of the breath.

Tash suggested to apply C O A L to the above awareness.


Curiosity. Open-ness. Acceptance. Love.


I have this week (during homework) been playful with breathing – experimental. Now that i’ve gone to share my findings i’m struggling to find them. Humph.

One visualisation or sentence i used (instead of breathing out and in) was: Expand (a gentle moving down of the diaphragm?). Contract (a gentle meeting back). I think i in fact did the opposite of the words from my mind, in my body. When my ‘nose’was breathing ‘ïn’ air by diaphragm moved ‘down and out’. Breath out through nose and diaphragm moved in. I removed the notion of air coming into my body, and leaving it, and focused on the action of my diaphragm or my lungs (cue anatomy lesson). The result was the breath stayed centred in my body as opposed to almost in my throat. It took the spotlight off my nose and mouth and the idea that breath was being taken from outside of my body. Instead, it put the empowerment on the inside and the centre of my body.

This week I facebook fed me this clip of the lungs being in-and-de-flated. Thanks life.


I wonder who else is talking about the mechanism of breath? I wonder how many people feel relaxed or stressed about breathing as a highlighted process? I wonder how many other sports/movement people do the opposite of the word? e.g. I want to talk fast I think slow, I want to jump high, I think down (first).


Post Night 3

The chairs were close together again. A couple of us voiced it and adjusted. I was intrigued by how many didn’t. Did they feel comfy as they were?

We waited for some to come.
Tash talked about (now i’m going to try and remember what she said) there’s no such thing as waiting – it implies being in a state of limbo, a state of not being able to be present. This moment is the moment we have so we ‘use’ it. Can i quietly attend to my breath?

The most memorable invitation of the night from Tash during the ‘first sit’ (meditation) was:


Can you be open and embracing in this moment (in this meditation, with this quiet attention to your breath)? And if not, notice this, can you then be open and embracing of that (not having been open and embracing)?


GOLD.

We are encouraged to choose as aspiration for our ‘quiet attention to breath’ our moment sitting where we practice being Curious, Open, Accepting, Loving as we focus on our bodily experience and return the mind to our breath as it wanders…

Here we are ‘learning to become more present and more attentive.’

It’s a ‘continual coming into being and passing away’.

A ‘body mind integration’.
‘Effortless presence’.

We are given homework (eek, i have 24 hours to complete mine) – stand and ‘be’ with the experience of the kettle boiling.

A co-mindfulness student shares a great strategy, worth sharing again, to overcome procrastination (who knows how this topic sprouted up, but i’m glad it did). Utilise the alarm clock. If there’s a task one has been ‘overwhelmed’ by and delaying, commit 15 minutes of one’s day to it. Honour it. Stop mid toilet clean or garden bed weed if you must. I like it.

What i love more is the power and gift of being with people. These are the gems a pre-recorded lesson, or a book, cannot offer. The dynamic of the ‘live’ workshop. Bring them on.

Personal re-realisation for the week: i have a habit of postponing my enjoyment of each day until…
I’m wondering if it’s steeped in the Puritanical sense of deserving, the delayed gratification, the once i’ve achieved or done the ‘stink’ stuff i can enjoy the ‘appealing’/’pleasurable’ stuff.
The strangeness of this.
The notion of work VERSUS play.
And these being mutually exclusive and necessary.
Work cannot be play?
Play cannot be work?
It’s everywhere and starts young.
I see it in the life of our 5 year old.
It makes me think of acting.
The notion of Play as a concept features in Early Childhood ‘Education’ and in the role of the Actor.
When we play a cruel character, one that struggles to find compassion from the audience, we have succeeded (as actors) when we find it – this compassion in others. It is skill or perhaps necessary to (note) PLAY each character with COAL – Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance, Love. To be in ‘le jeu’ (the game) with our fellow ‘players’ (actors). To play our character (sometimes cruel/sinful) with some (perverted although it may seem from the outside) joy.
It’s a little late to elaborate or find more articulation on this.
I will anon.
Adieu.


Post Night 4

I’ve had to go back to my notes this week – has been a full one, and my brain hasn’t seemed to have retained all it often does.
I feel moved to tell you about The Venus Project (even though i haven’t looked far into it). I watched a London Real interview with Jacque Fresco. I blogged about it (go here if you wanna read it) yesterday too (a rare procrastination blog). Oh I just clicked on the site – its bi-line ‘Beyond Politics, Poverty and War.’

Anyhow, attempting to stay focused.
Husband says all good business stays focused.
His quote for the week:B7MepRuIQAEAZVp
My new mission is to collect anecdotal specimens of business/productive/creative women and men who started ‘business’ offering MANY things.
His point is a business will succeed if it’s focused and offers one clear ‘something’ (service, product…)
He believes once that business is established it can offer multitudes of ‘somethings’.
I operate the other way round.
wild & grace = blog = writing + photography + events = festivals, workshops, micro, macro etcetera.
Am i a product of my conditions?
Multi-tasking mother, creative (maternal & productive), desperately inspired, moved, motivated by…much.

Focus: Post Night 4
15 minutes before school & kindy pick-up and toddler wake-up.
And.
Go.

Here are some tips that stuck (out) for me during Mindfulness Night 4:
Focus on the breath in – to become more alert – during meditation if i feel myself feeling sleepy.
Focus on the breath out – to become more settled – during meditation if i feel myself feeling agitated or restless.
Become more mindful of what ‘is’ rather than ‘resisting’ it.
When we ’tilt’ our CHIN UP it’s arguably impossible to ‘feel down’.
When we ‘hang our head’ and ‘cast our eyes to the floor’ it’s arguably impossible to ‘feel uplifted’.
Become specific and discerning of our experience. How do i feel right now? What emotion? Where do i feel this? Are we sure it’s that emotion – what’s beneath the first emotion? Where am i holding tension? Am i breathing?
Am i grounded? What does the sensation of my feet on the ground feel like? Can i ‘anchor’ myself? Does this have an effect on how i feel?
Can i be Curious, Open, Accepting, Loving towards myself, towards others, towards this experience, towards how i feel, towards this environment?

We were encouraged to check this out:

This week’s homework:
A catchy two sided table.
One page – Pleasant experiences record.
T’other – Unpleasant.
Squares to record time/place, situation, body sensations, narrative, emotional response.

Interesting to note the unpleasant experience was easier to remember and somehow i felt more motivated to write about it.

Time to wake toddler up.


Post Night 5

Before i share about Night 5 i have been desiring to add a link to an article i found on one of my fave publications ‘Dumbo Feather‘. I’m secretly hoping husband will get me a membership for Christmas. I first found out about it when one of my bridesmaid’s gave it to us as a wedding present. That and the Joseph Campbell CDs from cousin Chris were gold! Here’s that link to: Why Entrepreneurs need Mindfulness and it’s not too shabby for everyone else too.

I’m on a bit of a roll with watching you tube atm. London Real is replacing my Ted Talk visits. And School of Life has recently got my vote too. It’s all coming out of Melbourne (for today’s post). Here’s a story suggesting 10 situations to apply mindfulness to from School of Life (started by UK philosopher Alain de Botton) – the Melbourne branch. Here’s a School of Life vid i’ve got queued up:

Night 5 was our smallest congregation. Were there 6 of the 16? The small group allowed Tash to invite us all to share something of our ‘mindful’ experience.

We began with ‘a sit’ (meditation). For those frightened of the stilling still part of mindfulness i’ll let you know it felt like 5 minutes maybe 10 tops. One woman shared her frustration that her mind was wandering. Tash asked for greater specificity, “Have you identified whether the mind is going to what’s happening in the future (scattered or busy) or revisiting what’s in the past (dull or unclear)?”

I observed my breathing was ‘happening’ with less stress or concern – there was progress from Night 1. I’ll admit to not having practiced the meditation aspect of this 6-week Mindfulness Course with Tash, and yet the other mindfulness practices especially COAL and going slower and focusing on my sensory experience are helping me feel more calm, happy and able to navigate through stress of time pressures.

In fact i had an insight around time this week. I realise(d) time is irrelevant when i’m in flow. Here’s what wikipedia says about Mihaly Csikszentmihályi’s flow:


In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields (and has an especially big recognition in occupational therapy), though has existed for thousands of years under other guises, notably in some Eastern religions.

According to Csikszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task,[2] although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.


 

I’ll be honest. I’m in flow when i write. I’m in flow when i create events. I’m in flow when i eat. I’m in flow when i’m at Mindfulness Course, and have been in flow during other workshops. I’m in flow watching a film or reading something that ‘grabs’ me. I’m in flow sharing a conversation with a like-minded person.

I’m just wondering whether i’m in flow as a Mumma? If not why not? Is it the reality of the experience of ‘serving’ 3 different people’s needs simultaneously?

I wonder if flow must have a perceived beginning and end, an intention and an activity?

Could i also be in flow having a conversation with an un-like-minded-person? Interesting.

Nearly school bell time again.

We looked at the 5 hindrances to well-being and nourishing supportive practices. I could look again at this – i felt unsure of how to adopt a new habit in this regard.

We looked more at the definitions of mindfulness. One co-mindfulness student suggested it’s mindlessness, because ‘mindfulness’ is getting away from the bust, wandering mind and becoming more attuned to the physical experience of the NOW.

Tash reminded us Mindfulness ‘looks different’ for each one of us. Each of us will adopt the mindfulness practices that best resonate with us. Each of us will aspire to a quality an experience through Mindfulness which is different to another’s.

“Mindfulness is taking notice,” she said.

Mindfulness could be about becoming more flexible and resilient.

She invited us to look at our life the; conditions; habits; practices; activities; relationships of our life…and to ask:


What is supportive of my well-being and what’s not?


’twas another night of intrigue and opening up my mind and body to greater joy. Tash is a great mix of professional, researched, kind, warm and direct. She is authentic – another quality i’m exploring.


Post Night 6 – Final Night

nature.jpgI am sad our class has come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of others as we learned tools to be happy.

What does happy mean?

For me (at the moment) Happiness means:
Comfortable in my skin, in my experience, as myself.
Less guilty or embarrassed or self-conscious or ashamed. More ‘me’. Happier to BE all of ME.
Aware of the tension in my body and thoughts.
Aware of the / my (passing) emotions, more able to look deeper into what may be below what i thought was the emotion – therefore recognising a more root emotion.
Being more at ease and more interested in cultivating ease.
Less self-loathing therefore less righteous and judgmental of others also. Playful.
Curious.
Slow down, you move too fast, you gotta make the morning last now, kicking down the cobble stones, looking for love and feeling groovy. Making eye-contact.
Watching people’s faces – looking into people’s presence.
Listening.
Asking for clarification – do you mean?
Allowing the silence.
Being without the answers.
Being slow, patient to discover the solution.
Forgiving myself when i go fast and furious.
Looking at the colours.
Stopping to smell the roses.
Touching the trees.
Listening to the birds and animals.
Joining in the games the children begin.
Tracing my gaze up to the top of the tree and sitting there.
Tasting.
Absorbing how my fingertips feel to touch my partner’s tattooed back.
Can I be kind? Realising LOVE is kindness which is friendliness + forgiveness + open-ness OR flexibility OR allowing (which i think it ‘my’ new accepting).
Noticing how often i make a choice, which is based on wanting other people to like me, or wanting to please someone (whilst wondering if i believe this will make them love me, or make me recognise or realise they do).


What if i did nothing to please another? What would my daily life leave and what would it receive?


I’ve also recognised or pondered since motherhood:

does my mind likes to recognise (fleeting) problems and play with them (as a sculptor readies a malleable material) , simply to give the mind something to busy with, and something to feel potentially proud or triumphant of solving – how curious?

when i am judgemental or critical of things and people i am signalling i know what is right or wrong. That my ability to be critical means i have ethics, or cultivated-taste, or an educated opinion. But does sharing critical thinking enhance my (and other’s) well-being. Do we enjoy witnessing criticism whether it is founded or developed or not?

when i am anxious am i trying to prepare myself to better ‘deal with’ or try to out-think or side-step the disaster. Is disaster synonymous with surprise which is synonymous with being out of control? Is the disaster more about the catastrophe of my un-censored RAW or WILD emotions and being stripped of self-control than of the physical manifestation of ‘disaster’? Or am i driving defensively? Am i scanning for danger in order to truly keep my body alive? Do people who have a unfailing faith in an ‘after-life’ lead less physically restrained lives?

I like that i have been here longer now.

I am recognising the helpful in situations rather than the purely critical. For instance i am wondering if i enjoy being late. I like the adrenalin. Unfortunately, it affects others. This is the bit i don’t celebrate. I’ve never welcomed the finish. I always want my friends to stay. The festival to keep on. The musicians to continue. The summer to sun longer. Perhaps i am good at being late because i unwelcome the end. Or is it i don’t like to end before i am ready. Ah, so perhaps i just desire control.

the unhelpfulness of pride and shame and the disturbing fact that our schools and parenting history encourages both. The moment i am proud of something i am exercising judgement which means in the next breath i could be critical, rather than simply observant. This undulation of perspective causes ? Movement? Disorientation?

I also recognise i throw parties so i clean my house. This is too a happy discovery. More parties everyone.

This reminds me of Epicurus which sums up my being and drive:

This post is being more self-focused than i imagined it would be upon beginning.
Curious.

I will admit to questioning Tash on the relationship between COAL, and in particular the acceptance or allowing (as i have since heard others call ‘it’), and the loving kindness meditation which wishes for all ill-will to cease (within myself and others).

Here’s the voice of Grant Rix leading this loving kindness meditation:


May I be friendly, calm and free from ill-will, and may I live in happiness.
As I am, so may everyone I meet be friendly, calm and free from ill-will, and may they live in happiness.


 

The chemistry of this notion of unwelcoming ill-will disturbs me. Questions…


  1. The alchemy of welcoming acceptance or allowance seems at odds with unwelcoming ‘anything’ such as ill-will.
  2. I have noticed the more i resist something the more it persists.
  3. It feels the above ‘mantra’ is making judgement on ill-will. The moment i judge an action, a person, i open myself up to judge myself, or others, and/or their actions. I have experienced once judgement is in view compassion has a hard time getting a look in.
  4. I recognise there is a different quality in setting an intention of kindness (no ill-will) and pushing ill-will away and that this mantra is inviting us to be aware and intentional – but the moment i include the word ill-will my psychology can attach itself to this without remembering ‘to not’ or ‘to do’.

 

Somehow i feel more comfortable with the Naam Yoga Rootlight prayer of a similar quality:

Love before me
Love behind me
Love at my left
Love at my right
Love above me
Love below me
Love onto me
Love in my surroundings
Love to all
Love to the Universe

Peace before me
Peace behind me
Peace at my left
Peace at my right
Peace above me
Peace below me
Peace onto me
Peace in my surroundings
Peace to all
Peace to the Universe

Light before me
Light behind me
Light at my left
Light at my right
Light above me
Light below me
Light onto me
Light in my surroundings
Light to all
Light to the Universe

That time of the day again.

I will be upkeeping (without clinging – lol) to a mindfulness awareness and practice. Perhaps attending Tarchin Herne’s ( Tash’s teacher) teaching too, when this becomes available again.

In trying to find a digital copy of a quote about suffering by Sharon Salzberg (given to me from Tash) i have found another from her book Real Happiness:


“The simple act of being completely attentive and present to another person is an act of love, and it fosters unshakeable well-being. It is happiness that isn’t bound to a particular situation, happiness that can withstand change.”
Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness


I will leave you with this from Dance with me in the Heart.home.jpg

Kia Ora Tash for helping me find a way.


If you’d like to check out Mindful Living and the courses they have on offer, click here for their facebook page.
Their website is: http://www.mindfulliving.co.nz/

Mindful Living is based in the Bay of Plenty and is a husband wife dynamic duo.
This is what their About Page says:

Our vision for Mindful Living is to provide individuals, workplaces and organisations with practical mindfulness skills and strategies for increased wellbeing in our daily lives.

We have been studying and practicing mindfulness and meditation since 1999. We have been teaching in Tauranga since 2008, giving classes that are relaxed and inclusive, encouraging enquiry and personal growth.

We are graduates of a unique three-year mindfulness teacher training study and meditation programme, run through the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre under the guidance of our principal teacher Tarchin Hearn (a master of mindfulness with over 40 years experience). During this period of intensive training we lived as part of a mindful community from 2005 to 2007 exploring mindfulness through Body, Speech and Mind.

In addition to completing numerous periods of intensive deep retreat work, we continue to study with experienced mindfulness teachers and attend practice retreats. We are committed to living and parenting mindfully, and helping others awaken to the fullness and richness of life unfolding now.

Grant is the Mindful Aotearoa Operations Manager for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and creator of the Pause, Breathe, Smile mindfulness in schools programme. Natasha is a Mindfulness Strategy Consultant to the MHF and trains and supports mindfulness facilitators to deliver Pause, Breathe, Smile.

Posted by:media | events in Bay of Plenty & Beyond

Connector I Sharer Events-maker, Writer, Photographer, Teacher

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