Welcome to my new website devoted to all things connected to awareness. I wrote this post in 2012 on the connection between our ideas about the world around us, our senses and how we inhabit our world through our habits. Meditation offers us the opportunity to see our habits and through clear recognition, choosing how to move forward with them. At the core of meditation and yoga are the artful practices of giving all phenomena space, interest and time to understand their conditioning (what brought them to be in this particular pattern). I am offering the following practices to help you learn how to pause when thought patterns arise and how you can met them with understanding.
“In the last meditation in December, the Tuesday Evening Meditation Group dove into the third and fourth elements of the eightfold path, Right Speech and Right Action. We took time to discuss what these elements are. We explored the guidelines of behaviour set out by the Buddha. After a few exercises, we realized that when paying attention to our speech and actions, they reveal pre-existing ideas an biases to everything we experience. These assumptions are connected to past experiences and belief systems (ideas) about ourselves and others. How do we enter our internal matrix of ideas and assumptions with space enough to see them?
If we take meditation off the meditation cushion into our daily activities, we start to see every action we do has an assumption or intention behind it. Basically, how I greet someone tells me what I assume about them. Or how I walk in a forest or down a street, reveals to me what I already think and expect from that environment.
So when I soften, listen, quiet my attention to the breath, walk with intention to opening sense or speak with care, I am letting go of my assumptions about the present moment and learning to engage with what is happening with less bias, or hopefully no bias at all. I am directly seeing. I am fully listening. This is meditation in speech and action. This is taking the attentive awareness we nurture on the meditation cushion and transferring it into our daily lives.
In our age of information overload, taking time to be quiet is essential so we can manage all the stimulus flowing around and at us. When we choose to break from constant stimulus, we are consciously choosing how to engage with our senses. And we are choosing to disengage from other stimulus for mental well-being. This is right action for one’s mental well-being.
An article by Pico Iyer captures this modern day conundrum we all live in. It is called The Joy of Quiet. Below are some excerpts from it.
This article describes beautifully the essence of willfull renouncement of entertainment and information overload to cultivate living with more sensitivity and awareness.
So take time this week to carve out time each day to be without your phone or computer. Simply meet the present moment through the senses of your body. Sit quietly with your breath and feel it. Sit quietly with hearing and hear each particular sound in your home. Sit quietly feeling your body and open to the myriad of senses that arise and pass away. Vow to sit or walk quietly each day for 10 – 15 minutes at the same time each day as an experiment in cultivating “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
Be Well and Be Metta,