Posts Tagged ‘present mind’

Just a short while ago, I was sitting and cooling down after a long, hot Epsom salt bath. I was soaking out the rest of a cold, and the tension I’d worked on earlier.

As I was relaxing and breathing in the fresh air, the thought came to me, “This moment is like no other.”

So I stopped to make note of what made that moment so unique. I’d come out of hot soaks before, but I have a different meditation and relaxation each time. So I suppose, I come out of them a little differently each time as well.

I had also certainly had “working sick” days, but I’d struck a better work/rest balance today. My toddler had a particularly rough time getting ready for bed, but I’d helped him shake it off and go to bed pretty amiably, even playfully. So I suppose those were differences as well.

All that said, I’m not sure the details are really what I was trying to draw my own attention to. Even if I had that thought during a truly unpleasant experience, at least that exact experience wasn’t going to repeat in exactly the same way…

It comes down to the observation about snowflakes: however invisibly they may join together in a drift, they hold a unique pattern, according to the exact conditions in which they formed. Simply acknowledging the beauty of that truth acknowledges the precious gift we can enjoy in receiving each present moment.


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It struck me today that if we want to be open to newer and better ways of living, we have to embrace the idea of letting go of the life we have now. That sounds a little obvious, but how often have you sat down and reviewed just how ready you are to lose some or all of the comfortable habits you’ve developed? Even the things you may not like so much, aren’t they at least somewhat comforting in their familiarity?

I realize that everything in life is impermanent and unpredictable, but I’m not talking about tragic loss of life or friends or family. What I’m thinking of are the day-to-day mini-rituals, or even mini-chaoses, that comprise the feeling of predictability and homeliness of our regular lives. It sort of feels like we hang onto those out of habit, even if we so very much wish for some things to be brighter and more exciting, or even just easier and less dull.

Over the next few days as I recapture the habit of relaxed mindfulness, I’m going to keep my eyes out for ways I might be clinging to things I’d be better off letting go.

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I’ve just a few moments, so I wanted to drop a quick self-reminder about the importance of keeping perspective on stressful situations:

When not currently in a stressful situation, don’t carry the stress around with you. There’s a time and place for everything important. Remember the importance of the time and place you are presently in.

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Happy Zen Year!

So, 2013. What a year, huh? It was so full of hidden gems and other rocks & hard places, it was tough to stay present in our own skin. There was too much popping up all at once, and too much falling away. How could we keep up?

I heard once that odd numbers hold more chaos and even numbers more constancy, so that made me think that perhaps I could apply that concept to years. If 2013 was chaos that kept the world off its center, perhaps 2014 may be a year of regrouping within that center.

So I’m committing to focus at least one moment each day in a way that brings my full attention to that present moment. I’m shooting for actually posting about that moment or other thoughts each day, to stay present here, as well. Part of my joy is to share what I receive with others. This 2014 is a year to dedicate to joy, being present with it and sharing that presence with others.

You who read this, regardless of when you read it, please consider making a similar commitment to dedicating a tiny slice of each day to connect to the world through your own center. No matter how you feel about yourself, you’re a part of this crazy planet, and we need you to honor that. You don’t have to do anything “special”, just pause with a breath and thank any random moment for allowing you to experience it. That alone will bring you into that precious moment, and experience the simplicity of pure presence that is zen.

It’s time to start showing up. I and the rest of the world dearly look forward to sharing it with you.

Here’s to a Happy Zen Year!

Note: This was actually posted on the 2nd, when the thoughts finished forming into words I could type. Clearly, I’m pretty fluid on the implementation of this goal. Just be who you are and let life flow through you!

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I used to talk to someone about having a relatively Zen Buddhist approach to life, and he got onto me about how much I like certain things. “Isn’t the whole point to have no attachments? You’d be upset if you lost your computer, so you can’t really be Zen.”

I told him how I prefer Alan Watts’ translation of the concept as “no hangups”.  Sure, I can be upset if I lost my computer for example, but I’d do well to not let the event carry me away with it.  It also wouldn’t do me any good to get bogged down over the idea of it making me upset.  Entanglements can become pretty recursive like that.

What’s funny is that relatively recently, my computer did get fried and took a while to be properly fixed.  And I wasn’t that upset.  Maybe that was one of life’s little pop quizzes.

Speaking of, tonight something came up that made me pretty angry and upset.  Now that I’m sitting here already getting over it, I got to thinking about the process I just walked through. Yeah maybe I shouldn’t have gotten mad to begin with, but I’m not gonna get all that hung up over it.

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I am quite a fan of breathing meditation, particularly ones where you visualize white or golden light entering with your breath.  You then imagine that gold light flowing in through your lungs and to your heart, where it stays for a moment while you hold the breath.  (If you can’t or don’t want to hold your breath for a second or more, it can stay there while you exhale, and then glows more brightly as you add to it another breath.)  Then, as you exhale, the golden light flows to a part of you that needs attention or healing, or even just pumps outward from your heart, mingling with your bloodstream to nourish your whole self.

This is a little meditation that’s worth the practice, and can be done with half a mind while walking, doing dishes, driving, and so on.  The more you do it, the more you’ll find ways it works for you, and helps you better master being in your own skin.

There’s a great healing power in focusing on your breath.  As you bring in more oxygen, your body is nourished.  As you breathe deeply and rhythmically, your emotions are balanced.  As you focus on your breath and your heart, your mind is calmed and more receptive to the answers you need.  In this more-centered space, you’ll find insights if you practice patiently opening yourself to the golden flow of intentional breath.

This is one key to the heart of wisdom.

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I was thinking today about the idea of how most of us seem to feel like an observer of or commentator on the world around us, more than a participant.  Life seems to keep us so busy, so surrounded by activity and yet with these barriers between us, and without enough time and energy and community spaces to bridge them.  So it’s easy to feel like we don’t really affect those around us, let alone the broader events of our world.

And yet, that’s completely backwards from the way things are.  We inherently make an impact wherever we are, whether we try to or not.  If we keep our head down while we’re out and about, making sure to just stay in our own space and keep to ourselves, we’re just one more person occupying others’ space without really acknowledging them.  It adds to the crowded loneliness of others as well as ourselves.

On the other hand, we can bring our eyes up to those around us, and practice being there with them without really crowding their space.  Some people will want to be invisible, but most will appreciate a non-intrusive yet genuine smile, polite words, kind patience, and respectful/humble offers to help.  In this way, you become someone who has acknowledged their humanity, and welcomed into the space you have shared with them.  It reminds them of their value, and that at least one stranger found them worthy of a positive thought.  To some people, that can make a deeper, more priceless impact than you could ever imagine.

We can also get involved in our worlds around us by seeking out and joining groups with similar interests, online or off.  These can not only help us feel more connected, they can also help us find more ways to participate in our world for the better.  Where there are groups that can help improve the lot of those who need help, we will benefit greatly.

I’m going to link again to my little video on why I’m trying to find ways to be involved with local groups meeting up through the Occupy meme.  I foolishly posted it on a day when I knew Tumblr would probably be busy, so it wasn’t really available before.  It’s some thoughts of mine about the kind of difference I’d like to see in the world, and that I hope to find ways to figure out how to help make real.

Meanwhile, give some thought to how you’d like to feel tomorrow.  Then, before going to bed, set in your mind that you’re going to give it a shot in the morning.  When you wake up, recall that wish, and put it in your head.  It’ll get easier to find and hold the feeling as you practice, and soon you’ll find others around you can feel it, too.

With much, much love ~


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I was talking to a friend today about overcoming Worry Addiction. I used to be horridly addicted to worrying and fretting, and now I’m merely susceptible.  This is thanks to giving up worrying for lent one year.

I’m pretty sure the way I managed it was practicing “postponement” – agreeing with myself that right now isn’t the best time to put my energy toward a situation, as this present moment isn’t when I can do anything about it. Either I don’t have all the necessary info, or I’m just not in a place where it can be helped. Therefore, I promised to do what I could to get into the right time and place and then put the needed energy to it.

This worked, with practice, because the part of myself that felt the deep importance of whatever it was I was worrying over didn’t feel neglected. It felt that I was giving it strong consideration, and rather than dismissing it, was merely trying to make sure it got the time and energy needed for such a momentous issue. (It doesn’t matter how trivial the issue; it’s absolutely EVERYTHING to the part of me that feels it’s so important, just like a baby with a favorite toy.)

It also helped to have a few things on tap to shift my attention to, such as something I COULD plan for, especially if it was something I could also look forward to. Or even just something positive to dwell on. Anything to keep the energy channeled toward something happy rather than manic.

Anyway, I still catch myself getting frantic now and then. But with practice, it’s gotten easier to redirect the energy.

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I have just one reason for not posting again on a regular schedule…

My ‘present mind’.

While at times it will jaunt off into an internal tangent and take me somewhere completely removed from a current situation, generally my mind is on exactly what’s in front of me.  And little else.  Meaning thoughts I had even moments before entering the room, intending to do something very specific, are gone completely when something there needs even a moment’s attention.  The past is fully in the past, even if I’d intended to bring it into the future.

This means that not only do I need a list to go shopping, but I also have to take measures to ensure I remember to bring the list. It also means that unless something is such an established habit that it has become a part of the schema of where I’ll naturally go — it won’t happen.  Almost no matter how much I want it, chances are good I’ll forget.

So when reading about the ideal of the Present Mind, focusing and knowing completely only that which is before you — don’t take it too literally. Oh sure, it’s a valuable skill to be able to pull off, but only when it’s appropriate. It’s not meant to be an ‘all the time’ thing.

If you don’t believe me, try it for a while, and see how many possible ‘presents’ go unopened…

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It’s been some time since I’ve had a day of doing virtually nothing. I was able to casually take care of a key responsibility without really losing too much time, and also zip through some things for work. But mostly I caught up on a couple games I’d been meaning to play, and ate cookies and cookie dough.

I didn’t get a nap, but I did get to chill out on the couch while doing all this. Without a single thought as to what couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get done before the clock tolls twelve.

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