|Picture "Follow the Flow" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney|
Mindfulness is an essential ingredient in meditation, meditation itself cannot be described, only the meditation technique can be described, likewise mindfulness itself cannot be described only the techniques can be described, you probably use mindfulness already in much of your life, particularly when you are doing something you enjoy, or are with someone you love, the trick is how do you use it to dance with your Karma.
As with everything there is technique, from applying that technique, one gets to use the technique more skillfully without thinking too much about the technique. There is a view that it takes about 10000 hours to master any technique, so the more we do it everyday the faster we get to master it and, more joy and peace comes into our lives.
Often there is disappointment when a new technique is tried, we are all impatient creatures, we expect instant gratification, I told my friend I was having coffee with the other day, expect a 3 year learning circle, and it is worth every single moment that you spend on it.
One needs to realise that there is a learning cycle that happens with everything, and we need to give up so easy. The cycle goes something like this, first we don’t know that we don’t know, then we know that we don’t know, then we know that we know, the we forget that we know, we just know, everything happens automatically.
There are many great books on Zen mindfulness, the technique itself is so simple that it can be explained in a few lines:
- Be totally in the present moment,
- Be aware of what is happening within and without,
- Reserve judgement,
- Be compassionate to yourself and others
I often like to use the analogy of an anchor and the ship. Imagine a ship in a storm, it will get tossed and taken anywhere, but if there is an anchor the ship will hold steady until the storm passes. The anchor is the attention focusing technique, that keeps the ship steady rooted to the bottom of the ocean. Once the mind is held in the present, awareness and deeper contemplation takes place, coupled with compassion, only favourable responses or Karmas are possible.
They key to mindfulness is directing your mind to be present right here, right now, resist the urge to do anything else other than what you are doing. Practising control over this urge is what you what to develop.
I like to practice this using Qi Gong, you could apply this to anything really. It was the weekend of the Satnam Fest and Yogi Akasha was doing his overarm lion breathing, for at least 10 minutes and he kept on going, I spoke to him afterwards, and talked to him about it, he said, my arms still hurt yesterday but it is Tapas (Sanskrit word for purification, which is a poor translation), the next week I found some shifts happening in concentration, I was positive it was because of the weekend experience. The more that I thought about it, the more I realised it was not just the techniques, also I am sure certain Asanas help a lot, it was simply practice of will power that made the difference. I was able to confirm this by applying it to the Qi Gong Forms I did yielding similar results.
Once you practice it on a small controlled basis, then it really helps to be able to apply it to daily life. You notice the most effective people are the ones that can harness their intelligence, by rituals, focus, presence, and being emotionally connected.
That's what being mindful is all about, its a skill you can learn and build, the more you develop it the more you are in control, being better enabled to handle the path that you are on. You start bringing out the latent potential in you, in the mind problems that seem to be like mountains, turn into molehills, as you start realising the temporary nature of it all. You start realizing that you have been a slave all along, a slave to the whims of your mind, which itself is a slave to the ego, and to the sense, which themselves were slaves of external programming.
To Chapter 2