In our last post we looked at four attitudinal foundations of mindfulness; non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, and trust. Today, let’s look at the last four through seven, with a bonus eighth.
4. Non-striving. Meditation is about switching from an orientation of doing to being. Having too many expectations for meditation can set you up for failure. Confused? Try finishing this sentence stem: All I expect from today’s meditation is……… You fill in the blank. Here’s my expectation for today: All I expect from today’s meditation session is to bathe my brain in relaxation. Get the idea?
5. Acceptance. Accepting the good, bad, and ugly of reality is the only safe way to exist. It keeps us from falling into what Buddhists call the hindrances; greed, lust, aversion, hatred and jealousy. By accepting all aspects of our life in meditation practice, we learn to want what we have even if we don’t fully have what we want.
6. Letting go. Learn to flow with all the changes that come up as you sit. Let go of clinging to any thoughts, good or bad. The same goes for feelings. Feeling spacey? Be with it. Blissful? go there. Irritable? Welcome these feeling and watch them pass. Detach from your experience, as if you were watching a movie on a screen with pleasant curiosity. You wouldn’t jump into the screen, now, would you?
7. Equanimity. Equanimity describes the unattached awareness of one’s experience as a result of perceiving the impermanence of momentary reality. It is the a peace of mind and abiding calmness that cannot be shaken by any grade of good or bad fortune. We New Englanders have developed great equanimity about the weather with our humid, sticky summers, and bitter-cold winters. “ah yup…. If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute” is what the old timers say. Now that’s mindfulness in practice.
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