Mindfulness. The definition is as follows;
Mindfulness refers to a psychological quality that involves
bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-t0-
paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally,
a kind of non elaborative, non-judgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is.
Personally I believe mindfulness is realising how much of a time wasting idiot you’ve been for the last God knows how many years. Take for example my recent outing on alms with two monks from the temple. We walked towards the nearest town and as it was 6am, it was fairly quiet, except for the temple dogs, snapping at each other and the market being set up for the morning. The sky was still dark and the air was bitterly cold. We walked in single file, giving a generous amount of space between us. There is of course no conversation, with the main focus on each step and the rising and falling of the breath. My mind, on the other hand, had other ideas and instead of silent, thoughtful action, I had at least 3 imaginary arguments in my mind with various people. Some I do not even speak to on monthly, let alone daily basis.
I became aware of my mind then wandering down the ‘who will make the coffee when we get back’. I actually went through the whole scenario. I really don’t want to make the coffee. If I make one coffee, I have to make 6. Then certain people will be indecisive and then it will take longer for me to have the coffee. Why can’t people make their own coffee. I’m sick of making coffee’. On and on this went while we silently walked the street. Finally, I became aware of these thoughts and realised that all the actions involved in making a coffee are neither good nor bad. Getting the cups from the dryer is neutral. Putting a teaspoon full of coffee in each cup is again neutral. Adding milk, neutral. Adding water and stirring are again all neutral, so why the hell was my mind making this into a chore of mammoth proportion. I took a combination of actions that are neither good nor bad and labelled then as something horribly inconvenient.
The amount of times I do this uncountable. I realise I have no idea where I am or where I’ve been in my mind, most of the time. I am neither here nor there, existing in the no-mans land of the mind. I watch a beautiful sunrise, but I’m not there. I am already thinking ‘That’s a beautiful sunrise, I must get my camera…Oh I could post it on Facebook. Haven’t posted a sunrise before. I wonder what effect I can create with Photoshop. I bet my sister would love a picture’. It is exhausting. I have no idea how we are even functioning anymore as the majority of us are not even ‘here’. I spent that walk – what is a moving and humbling experience – in my own world. I also not only thought about the coffee situation but had imaginary heated arguments with multiple colleagues, who I no longer work with and will probably never see again.
I know there are multiple books on being present and in the ‘now’. These books are certainly helpful and incredibly inspirational. Although its one thing to read about it and another to experience it. No wonder I sleep so much. My mind is exhausted with the constant imaginary arguments, wanting, needing, criticising and judging.
I want my ego to leave. As far as I’m concerned it has been a horrendous ‘flat mate’, causing so much drama and confusion. It constantly lies and makes imaginary situations up, just to stress me out and make me miserable. Plus being on a silent retreat makes you really aware of how loud and unruly it really is. The problem is, is that it’s really comfortable where it is and it’s going to take a lot of work to be free from this ‘self’ that was created many, many years ago. No one wants to leave somewhere so cosy and accommodating but I’m afraid there is just no room for the both of us. The eviction process continues….