Mindfulness Via Yoga

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Stillness revised

OK.  Here is my thought about thinking.

There is a large space in my mind. Even though I know the anatomy of my beautiful brain is quite small, the amount of data that comes and goes there is quite large.

People come and go into this space. Each person represents a story. A few of them visit often and a very few of them settle in to be near me. They talk to me. The visitors tend to have stories and the stories are sequential. They are long, shaggy dog stories and I have heard them all before. The stories that are unique are told to me outside this room, where I can examine them and enjoy them. Or puzzle them out.  They are my stories.

When a certain person or idea continues to nag me I get out a little signboard and put on it a label that says: Go away, You are an idea that has come to me some other time and it is not unique. It is just an ordinary and uninteresting idea. I’ve had that thought another day.  Go away and leave me in stillness.

Sometimes that works. When the thoughts are simple ones.

The most insistent, repetitive thoughts are the tough ones and certainly the most interesting. About them I am very curious.  Sometimes I see them as words. Sometimes as pictures. When I first started to learn to meditate I would lie awake at night and worry about these thoughts. Over and over again, chafing at being awake. A first step for me was to say to myself:  I am old enough that just lying here, being still, is restful. I am old enough now that I don’t need a lot of sleep for rebuilding of cells in my body.  But then there were still the obnoxious thoughts.

So the trick, oldest of all–  certainly not an original idea –  would be to picture sheep jumping over a stile. I label each little creature with one of these ideas and watch them go. Of course they go and they return as well.  But, after awhile, the ideas become

 dispassionate. Cartoons. Creatures without personal meaning.   In the daylight I wonder who was the first person who thought of this device for falling asleep. Perhaps the shepherd, concerned for individual animals, a true worry. For us, sheep are a bit more abstract.

Just playful thoughts.

My meditation practice changes, day by day. I’m such a curious person, always asking Why?  I find it difficult to say: Well, that just is.  There is a long winding pathway between escaping inside images or mantras for rest and learning how to sit with what is.

How about you?

Put in a comment. What is your story?





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The trick to understanding Mercy is not to think about it too much.

Indeed, it does droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven;  for Mercy is Divine. When I think about it too much or talk about it too often, then I get all mixed up in the mortal emotions that confuse the awareness of what mercy is.

I have chosen to decide that the first step, at least my first step, in learning to be merciful is to Suspend Judgement. That’s the only way I know I can avoid a circuitous road trip through thinking about forgiveness, compassion, identification and empathy, and all the associated concepts that take me down the blind alleys into confusion, dead ends, and just getting lost all over again.

Again, I think that we ( mortals ) can learn to be merciful. By being aware,of course, of just what is going on in any situation.  Here’s a story.

Right up front in my day, today, I found a set of neighborhood Facebook posts. Let me say that this neighborhood is blessed with neighborliness. They look out for one another and they care for one another. They are aware of everything that is happening on their streets . They help on another to solve problems and vet suppliers. And, in a big blessed way, they are constantly in giving mode:  Who wants my child’s outgrown coat? Can you use the rails from the fence I tore down today? and so forth.

Most of all they are careful to inquire about any sort of suspicious activity; this is a neighborhood full of children who can walk to school.

And so in this context, first thing this morning, I found a series of posts asking if anyone knows a “weird” guy in a pickup track who has been seen going through my garbage cans on trash day. Yes he has been seen sitting near the park in his truck. Just sitting there. Someone suspects he lives with his mother in this neighborhood. No one is sure. Should we call the police?

An experienced police officer once told me, ” Half the calls that take up police time would be eliminated if neighbors would talk to each other.”

What would happen if someone would talk/ ask the man in the pickup truck:  Are you hungry? Could I make you a sandwich?  Are you lonely?  Tell me where you live and are we neighbors?  Oh well,  you get the picture.  Suspend Judgement and thereby get rid of the fear of unknowns. Be free to be merciful.