So when we sit down and observe our breath or sensations in meditation practice we are learning to give space and time to the present moment. Yes thoughts will arise. yes at times they will hijack our attention and whirl our mind into scenarios of planning, fantasying or complaining. Yet if we remember our meditation instructions, we will give space and time to observing these thoughts. We will see that just as they arose out of neural connections, they will subside into neural connections. We will can directly see the ephemeral nature of thoughts. In this act of giving space to thought with our feeling them, we are learning “the Pause” which is the root of equanimity.
So what is “the Pause”? How do we Pause to learn to hold back from simply letting our reactions slip out in unskillful word or habitual action?
In the pause, we teach ourselves to be discerning and considerate. We are seeing our thoughts as thoughts, just what they are. Then in the next moment, we see if the thoughts link up to reality. Many times they don’t. They are simply fabrications. Many times they do, ahh! clear seeing. In the pause, we are fortifying our minds to be mirrors into our lives.
Seeing things just as they are, we see the interconnection of all actions and how actions influence other actions. This is the beginning of equanimity – upekkha. The Buddha said that upekkha is the beginning and the end of meditation practise. The more we practice upekkha on the meditation cushion or in a yoga posture, the more we will practice it in our daily lives when talking to friends or dealing with a problem at work.
This week, take time to pause and give space to whatever you find yourself doing. Pause and breath one breath before speaking. Pause and breath one breath before picking up the phone. Pause and breath before responding in a conversation. Pause and breath before eating the next morsel of food. Pause and breath before everything. Get back to me on this awareness experiment. : )
In Metta, Allison Ulan