Reflections for the Week: Stay
One of the reasons people tell me they don’t meditate is because they think they’re getting it wrong. They think that mindfulness is about clearing the mind. The truth is mindfulness has one objective, to be with the moment. To experience what’s happening, right now, whatever that is. If there are sounds outside like the birds singing, we acknowledge that. If thoughts arise, we accept they’re here.
Although practitioners can experience what’s sometimes referred to as “the gap” in meditation – a moment of awareness where no thoughts have come up – it is not the purpose of mindfulness. It’s to accept, simply, what is.
This is why Pema Chödrön suggests that mindfulness training is a bit like imagining your mind is like a puppy. Every time it wanders off, you notice that and bring it back, encouraging it to stay.
Here’s something you can try:
Sit quietly for a moment and notice all the sounds around you. What can you hear? As these sounds come in to your awareness, label them “sound”. If you find one of the sounds annoying (like a ticking clock) label that “feeling”, because that’s what’s happening for you right now. Nothing requires your action at this point, just an awareness of what’s happening where you are.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis