Monday, June 19, 2006

All Set For the Venture of Mindfulness

Yesterday I was strolling along the shoreline, water up to my knees, listening to some fabulous music. There was a beautiful play of sunlight reflexes on the water, and everything was just so lovely - perfect in every way. Still, in this ideal situation, I realise I am not able to enjoy it for what it is, as thoughts on other things constantly distracts me. Seems like such a waste of a lovely moment, not being able to cherish it fully!

Buddha’s idea of even the loveliest experience being tainted by worry of loosing it seems relevant here. I therefore had the idea I might try some Buddhist meditation to see if it makes a difference in my trying to get to grips with my awareness problem. Having consulted the internet I have found some really cool stuff; Zen Buddhism being especially tantalizing. Zen is concerned with what actually is, rather than what we think or feel about what is. Zen is not a philosophy or a religion because Zen is not words. Zen tries to free the mind of the slavery of words and the constriction of logic.

By chance my friend the psychotherapist has been able to give me a scientific angle on the matter. In psychotherapy they talk about “mindfulness” as a way of mastering situations by seeing them for what they really are. (To master a phobia a patient is, for example, trained to view a situation exactly for what it is there and then, as a means of controlling it. When we experience something that frightens us the autonomic nervous system is triggered. Our mind then reads this as we actually should be scared and thus the panic is set on. The body fools the mind in other words. If we just calmly feel the here and now we peel of all the excessive thoughts that might fool us into being scared.)

And now for some audio files on Buddhist meditation ...

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