During the practice of seated meditation, you sit and stay present by focusing on your breath. You watch your thoughts merry-go-round in your mind, and you don’t get on.
Otherwise, you would get up from your seated meditation and do the laundry.
You learn to detach from the mind chatter and create a tiny gap between your thoughts. You linger there. You become a wallflower at the party in your mind.
A mind that is more still feels inspirational upsurges that bring clarity. You feel directed by an inner knowing. I call these inner promptings. Inner promptings are interrupted by the barrage of thoughts that take over the bandwidth in our mind. These include relationship concerns, or other worries and the rerun of images. Images that pass through our mind are residue from what we have seen most recently on TV or on the computer.
I accidently became an expert on the effects of TV. When I was fourteen I gave up TV. (It sounds like a drug!) Except for Mork and Mindy, of course. I watched that one show on Thursday nights at eight with my best friend, Gregg.
Today, if I watch a movie, the images stay with me for up to four days. Twenty years ago, I started the Buddhist’ practice of mono-tasking. When I eat, I eat. When I walk, I walk. When I am with someone, I listen. Often, I don’t have an interest in conversing. I want to hear them. If I do eat while checking emails, I don’t feel the same. All the nutrients, solar energy and farmer’s care that went into harvesting the fruit or veggies were consumed. I like to taste their abundant, nurturing gift. Eating now feels like giving thanks.
I recently watched the documentary Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds. The film displays the capacities of an awakened mind, through science, training of consciousness and its connection to the natural world. This extensive film was visual in the most unusual way. There were repeated images of nature. Often minutes would be spent on the sacred geometry of the _____[get name of flower] centre of a flower. This film stayed with me for more than a week. The less action-packed scenes, the reverence resided in my consciousness and evoked more beauty moments in my day. The entrainment of my consciousness with natural rhythms, and the intelligent order in the universe had a lasting effect. I’ve seen that in non-duality or joy, I do not hunger for stimulation. Life is fascinating itself. Each person in front of me is my teacher. I need less. I feel more. Life meets me constantly.
*“Life goes headlong,” Emerson lamented in contemplating how to live with presence in a culture of busyness, offering the antidote to our civilizational haste:“Now pause, now possession is required, and the power to swell the moment from the resources of our own heart until it supersedes sun & moon & solar system in its expanding immensity.” Half a century later, writing about the most important habit for living with presence, Hermann Hesse cautioned:“The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry- hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.”*