Re: Mindfulness is just the feeling of being alive.
Posted by Posted by John on October 09, 1998 on 02/24/2008 19:52:26
In reply to Re: new experiences posted by sorrisi on 02/24/2008 07:46:12
Mindfulness is just the feeling of being alive. Yet we lose touch with
this feeling all so easily by being distracted in our reactions to the
ongoing events of the day. The ongoing events are like "impacts on our
bodies" that distract us. In reaction to this impact, we get lost in
our thoughts, and without realizing it, we get caught up in our
*automatic* ways of acting-out in life. (See the eight types in the
Playground.) We all go through life as sleeping robots, programmed to
react automatically to the events of life--each of us according to our
conditioned types. These classes are about waking up, and just
feeling "being alive inside" as the present moments are going on. "I
am here now." "I feel that I am *present*, inside my body here." "I
feel my *aliveness* inside."
Can you feel that you are alive in there behind those eyes, and within
that skin that surrounds your body? Can you feel the stirrings of your
aliveness on the inside there? Jump in there with this feeling, and
while feeling that you are in there, look outward through those eyes
at the world around you. Mindfulness is remembering you are in there
while you are looking at what's going on outside. Bring this feeling
of being inside in there "into high relief" while at the same time,
bring whatever you are looking at "into high relief." Paying this two-
way attention to being here now--this "inward-outwardness" is
In its simplest form, "practice" is just a matter of finding a way to
be reminded that this inward-outward awareness can exist, and then,
whenever remembering this, staying in awareness *on purpose* for about
ten seconds. If you will find a way to do this ten times a day, you
will be able to expand your practice from there. This expansion will
entail being able to remember that this awareness exists more and more
frequently during the passing hours of the day, and finding that it
becomes easier and easier to remain in awareness for longer periods of
time. But it *does* take practice to develop this.
A more complex approach to "practice" involves doing "exercises" that
last anywhere from ten seconds to ten minutes or more (depending upon
whatever is done during the exercise). An exercise is done by simply
designating *any given activity* that takes a certain length of time,
(like "from here to that pebble twenty feet ahead there," when I'm
walking, or, "while taking the garbage out and returning") and putting
forth the effort of remaining in awareness during the whole exercise.
An exercise like this can be done with *any activity* that is going on
that you choose.
Beginners can pick short exercises for this, things that don't take
very long, and as they progress in the ability to do so, they can pick
longer exercises, like keeping awake during a whole walk, or bike
ride, or while weeding the whole garden for an hour.
Anything that happens in life can be taken as a mindfulness exercise.
You simply have to be aware at the beginning and at the end. During
longer exercises you will certainly *forget* while the exercise is
going on. So just keep picking up on practicing awareness every time
you remember it again (without hassling yourself about having
forgotten), and then try to be awake when you arrive at the very end.
Then you can reflect back over the whole exercise and see how much
awareness you were able to maintain while it was going on.
In the early weeks of practice, it may be better to work by yourself,
which is easier. But gradually you will get enough ability to keep
remembering awareness again and again that you will be able to do
exercises and maintain keeping awake while you are with other people
and engaged in relating with them. That's when you will become able to
play the awareness game that is taught in this school.