Mindfulness Tips Blog...
"Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief, they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
Mind precedes all mental stats. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow." The Dhammapada, Chapter 1.
If I had a dollar for every thought that comes into my mind, I'd have tons of money! On the other hand if I had to pay a dollar for every thought that is valuable, I'd be pretty destitute. Then again, if I had to pay a dollar for every instance where I reacted to a thought as if it was true...well then I'd be back to square one!
Thoughts are real but not true...
How many times do we believe our thoughts, react to them and then create suffering for ourselves and others? When we really start to notice, we can be surprised by the number of times we are off and reacting to thoughts as if they were true!
Before practicing mindfulness it was very difficult to even be aware that I was caught up in worry, anxiety or sadness. Much time was spent ruminating over things that I couldn't control. This patterned way of thinking was like a blanket I carried with me everywhere. It gave me a false sense of power. Like I could keep the worry at bay, when all I was doing was spinning in it. And it was exhausting!
Caught in a tornado of thoughts...
So, there was no peaceful place to rest because the worry was always playing out scenarios of loss, deprivation, and catastrophe just waiting to happen. Yet, deep within there was a knowing that there was another way to live life that wasn't based on a logic or if only's or luck or any of that. It was just a deep knowing that all this living with a fixed view about the way life should/shouldn't be was misleading and toxic. It wasn't until I began to learn and practice mindfulness that I really understood and experienced a taste of freedom from getting hooked in the thoughts and stories created by the untrained mind. And it isn't that I don't get caught in the swirl of thoughts. The difference now, is that I can sense, feel and recognize when I'm caught in an unwholesome pattern of thinking. Practicing mindfulness helped me to come back home to the body and to the heart that helps us come back to the present and find our way back to compassion, kindness and the true refuge of the heart. It is a path that helps us to come back into connection with what is wise, loving and nourishing.
Freeing the Mind and Heart takes a different approach...
Living mindfully is an invitation to connect beyond the world of thinking. We shift our attention from the thought to attune to what is happening in our body, mind and heart as the process of thinking is happening. This is a radical approach and takes practice. In the beginning shifting from thinking to the breath can be seen as a mini-vacation from the constant outflow of thoughts. This break can be like the clouds shifting to allow the sun or clear blue sky to be seen. It is a moment of clarity, a moment of being present with the way life is.
I'd like to end with a poem that really embodies this practice. I don't know who wrote it but it was included in Ajahn Amaro's book, "Don't Push: Just Use the Weight of Your Own Body".
Please read it slowly and let the words resonate in the heart:
Close your eyes and you will see clearly
Cease to listen and you will hear truth
Be silent and your heart will sing
Seek no contacts and you will find union
Be still and you will move forward on the tide of the spirit
Be gentle and you will need no strength
Be patient and you will achieve all things
Be humble and you will remain entire
Until next time...May you be well
Cindy Ricardo is a compassionate and experienced Psychotherapist, Gentle Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Meditation Guide. She facilitates a Dharma/Meditation Circle in Weston and Coral Springs alternatively, 3 times a month at 11am on Sundays. Her focus is on helping others learn about peaceful practices that help cultivate insight, connect with wisdom and awaken the compassionate heart. For more information about her please visit acaringcounselor.com, contact her at 954 793 6442 or email her at wbmindfulness.