Sunday, August 21, 2011

zombies-mindfulness-karma

The Colours of the Soul
Picture "The Colors of the Soul" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
We live in a world of the half dead, I say that because we aren't really living, we are existing, we aren't really thinking, we are caught up in the hurt of yesterday, and a fantasy dream about tomorrow. We are simply reacting and playing a script in auto-pilot that we have created for ourselves or one that has been created for us.

Today we will explore where this script is coming from, we will look at mindfulness as a technique which will allow you to undo this script and write a new script, one that will take you to the destination where you want to be, a destination of a less stressful life, richer relationships and better natural results!

Where is this script coming from?
We write this script everyday, consciously or unconsciously.

We are bombarded by advertising, social pressure, useless entertainment, less then perfect role models, with little time for solitude and self reflection.

It seems we are living everyone else's idea of what life should be except our own!

The script is your deep mental impressions or Sanskaras in Sanskrit.

Where does these deep mental impressions or Sanskaras come from?
These come from intent and action from the past and the present or karma, this life and many lives before.

The problem is that new scripts are being written by the momentum of previous negative scripts.

Albert Einstein once said “problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.


Imagine if you see things as they are, being able to truly listen, even if it is temporary, imagine if you could suspend yourself  long enough to reflect on it to determine the right response.  This technique is called mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?
As its simplest level, mindfulness is a matter of looking things as they are suspending judgment and thinking of any kind, be it temporary, however with all the attention and compassion we can give to it.

It involves non-doing, something that may be strange to the western world, how can the mind not being doing anything, truth is the mind needs an anchor to be focused on, doing one thing, and then the mind disappears into that one thing, thinking disappears, time disappears.

It requires you to be totally devoted to what you are doing there and then, focused totally on the activity at hand.  It could be a meeting at work, doing a toastmaster evaluation, doing homework with your kids. Use what you are doing to anchor yourself in the here and now, delaying self gratification, until the impulse to act is brought under control, and can be directed for a purpose.  Acting with purpose, builds new useful habits, a new useful script, it does not matter how small or big the act. A little positive change every day, builds a big positive change over time.

It can also reduce stress gently and naturally, and is the basis of a formal method used successfully for that purpose called MBSR.  Stress is the number one killer according the American Medical Association, causing at least 80% of all disease.

It asks for us to be present here and now, not in the past or the future but the now.  There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says “If you want to know your past – look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future – look into your present actions.”   There is another biblical reference that says the same thing "As you sow so shall you reap".  The results of tomorrow will depend on the quality of your choices today plain and simple.

Imagine if you could write a new script that reflected who you really want to be:
Would it not help you become a better human being? 
Would it not benefit those around you? 
Would it not benefit your community, and maybe even the planet?

We talked about why we are in Zombie mode, its because of our deep mental impressions or script that are created every day.

We need to be able to rewrite our script so that it takes us to where we want to be, a more happier, peaceful and rewarding life.

We can use mindfulness as a tool to interrupt ourselves just long enough to establish a new script that will let us focus on the present, establish deeper relationships and make the most of the opportunities of learning that come every day of our life.

It all starts by being mindfully present today, now :)

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln



For further reading on mindfulness I highly recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's book "Wherever you go there you are" which discusses mindfulness in a great amount of detail.

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