We’ve all experienced challenges – problems, if you wish. And, if we’re lucky, we’ll continue to experience challenges and problems. That’s a good sign, because it means we reach some limitations of our understanding and now we are growing and evolving. How can we do that without pain?
From my perspective, the basis of all meditation is the ability to focus on one thing, and one thing only.
I am saying this because I heard many times people arguing that meditation is about emptying your mind of any thoughts. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible, because, if you were to empty your mind of any thoughts, for you to be aware of it, you’d need to think “Now, I don’t have any thoughts” – which is a thought you just had! So, it’s a Catch 22 thing…
That being said, it is true that an untrained mind – when trying to focus on one single thing – will quickly start to jump all over the place and get carried away with various thoughts. That’s OK, that’s natural. That’s not the point! The point is, when you noticed that your mind is somewhere else than the initial object of focus, just acknowledge that and gently bring it back to that object. That’s it, no grudges, no fuss, no worries.
Put it this way. The moment you notice that your mind got carried away, that is a moment of mini-awakening, when you just became the Observer of your own Mind. That is a wonderful thing! So, instead of resenting that moment, celebrate it! Then, gently return your mind to the initial focus.
Obviously, you can do that sitting silently on the chair, closing your eyes and taking a time of mental retreat.
However, what would it be like for you if you were to apply the same concept during your daily activities?
Let’s say it’s time for you to wash the dishes (yeah, I know…). Choose to focus only on that activity, paying close attention to what you are doing, how you are doing it, in a state of focused awareness. Just as if that activity was the most important thing in the world. Perceive yourself, as you are moving your hands, your fingers… And, every time you notice that your mind just went elsewhere, gently bring it back to the activity of washing those dishes.
Engage all of your senses in doing that activity. Be there in your totality, not partially. Notice how it feels. You might discover that not only you did a better job in washing those dishes, but also the activity itself gave you more satisfaction, it felt good in and of itself.
I know, I know, most people dislike washing dishes from the start, but this was just an example! J
Consider the concept, the idea that I want to describe.
Better yet, do it! Try it out! You have nothing to lose, have you? Have fun with it!
When you are somewhere, be There! When you are doing something, do That!
You’ll feel better!
Imagining things comes just as easy as having thoughts.
It’s true that the usual tendency is to imagine all the things that could go wrong, but it’s not awfully difficult to imagine that the things will actually go well. Which way do you imagine will make you feel better? (pun intended…)