Mindfulness: Simple, but not easy

“While it may be simple to practice mindfulness, it is not necessarily easy.  Mindfulness requires effort and discipline for the simple reason that the forces that work against our being mindful, namely, our habitual unawareness and automaticity, are exceedingly tenacious.  They are so strong and so much out of our consciousness that an inner commitment and a certain kid of work are necessary just to keep up our attempts to capture our moments in awareness and sustain mindfulness.  But it is an intrinsically satisfying work because it puts us in touch with many aspects of our lives that are habitually overlooked and lost to us….

…Mindfulness can help us to appreciate feelings such as joy, peacefulness, and happiness which often go by fleetingly and unacknowledged.  It is liberating in that it leads to new ways of being in our own skin and in the world, which can fee us from the ruts we so often fall into.  It is empowering as well, because paying attention in this way opens channels to deep reservoirs of creativity, intelligence, imagination, clarity, determination, choice, and wisdom within us…

…We tend to be particularly unaware that we are thinking virtually all the time.  The incessant stream of thoughts flowing through our minds leaves us very little respite for inner quiet…our actions are all too frequently driven rather than undertaken in awareness, driven by those perfectly ordinary thoughts and impulses that run through the mind like a coursing river, if not a waterfall.  We get caught up in the torrent, and it winds up submerging our lives as it carries us to places we may not wish to go and may not even realize we are headed for.

Meditation means learning how to get our of this current, sit, by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than to tyrannize us.  This process doesn’t magically happen by itself.  It takes energy.  We call the effort to cultivate our ability to be in the present moment “practice” or “meditation practice“. (p.8-9)

Excerpt from Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn


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