Got stress? Tension somewhere in your body or a relationship? Mindful attention in the present moment can help a great deal. It’s crucial to understand within your own experience what your stress looks/feels/sounds like, and even more important that you know how to deal with it. Why? Because stress constantly plays interference, easily fogging your mind, clouding your judgement, causing “accidents” through mindless inattentiveness, and stunting both inner peace and harmony as well as creativity.
It’s said that mindfulness—the opposite of mindlessness and heedlessness—is the essence of the path of awakening, the most potent active ingredient in Buddha’s 8-fold path of enlightenment. When properly practiced, mindfulness offers many wholesome, healing, relaxing and edifying benefits. While many of us seek to enhance listening and communication skills, and increase our effectiveness at work and in life, by combining focused concentration with self-knowledge and insight; mindfulness can also tackle many serious health issues, like chronic pain, headaches, and hypertension.
Mindfulness and lucid, nonjudgmental presence of mind opens the door to conscious, choiceful, intentional proactive responses—rather than mindlessness, heedlessness and reactivity based upon unfulfilling conditioned, habitual kneejerk reactions. Socrates would spend hours in what he called deep thought, akin to meditation practice; Leonardo da Vinci would light a candle, lay in bed, and watch the reflection of the candle on the ceiling to go into a deep state of mindfulness. Einstein thought experiments were exercises in deep focusing of the mind. Edison would sit in a chair, focus his mind, and hold a rock in his hand that would fall into a bucket if he fell asleep, similar to Tibetan cave yogis balancing a lit candle atop their head while sitting in meditation at night to help maintain vigilant attentive, alert mindful presence of mind, and stay awake in a multitude of meanings of the word.
Mindfulness allows us to train the mind to be a less stressed place. Because once we let the stress in, it’s really hard to relieve it. Being here now is okay, as far as it goes, but seems to have become a little stale in our commodifying society. But the New Now is much more dynamic, and even proactive. Check it out!
Breathe – relax – focus – center -focus – and smile.
Awaken now. Meditate as fast as you can.
Remember to remember, “My mind ain’t the best place to live in.”
With love and blessings,
Lama Surya Das