Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sssshhhh! (Part 3)

This is the final offering in my series of posts that have followed last weekend's silent retreat.  I realise that I could well be accused of contemplating my own navel so went online to search out a natty picture to illustrate the point.  This one from the Hip Forums  was too good to miss and also ties in nicely with my observations about the extraordinary prevalence of tattooed Buddhists.

I've been meditating on and off for a good five years and applying the principles of mindfulness, a focus on the here and now in my everyday life.    For the last six months I've got out of the swing of sitting daily and using my breath to anchor me into the present moment.  So it seemed that time away to intensely practice was a good way of reestablishing a beneficial habit.  Today, I'd thought I'd share why it's  been so useful, to this noisy, wine swilling, appreciator of the male form with a dirty sense of humour.

  • I've learnt to tune in to negative emotions that I'm experiencing and differentiate between say, discontentment, anxiety or anger.  Once I've worked out what I'm feeling it seems easy to delve a bit more,  discover the cause of what's irking me and do something about it.
  • Cravings can be overcome sometimes as they're just feelings.  
  • The concepts of impermanence and change have become really important.  I have an appreciation that unpleasant feelings aren't going to last forever.  
  • Similarly it's just not possible to always be in Yellowstone, France or at a Leonard Cohen concert!  I appreciate the good times when they're around but don't get bogged down in wishing for them back at other times. 
  • I've got a better appreciation of what is within my control and the things that I can do nothing about.  This is particularly helpful in a stressful workplace environment.
  • I'm more likely to notice the simple pleasures in life that often pass fleetingly quickly.
  • Excessive baguette eating on one of our French trips caused a bout of tummy spasms that were on a par with being in labour! It was then I discovered that I had a better ability to 'ride' physical pain.  Again this is linked to the idea of impermanence too.    A learning experience, yes, but one which I don't want to repeat. I've cut down on boulangerie visits since then.
  • Dips in my ability to concentrate  are associated with low mood and leave me susceptible to relapsing into depression.  I notice these much earlier now and can do something about them before they get to meltdown stage.
  • And slowly slowly by gaining a realisation of my own inner self I'm becoming more empathic with the experience of others.  How deep is that! 
For more information this BeMindful website seems like a good start if I've not scared you off.  I've said enough for now on this topic  but beware....I'm back on the hamster wheel of daily meditation practice and could have more 'wise thoughts' to share in the not too distant  future!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's very deep and thought provoking, I've enjoyed your meditation journey. I like the idea of tuning in to your emotions, I try and do that to avoid the triggers that cause me distress. Most of the time it works.

    Recognising what you can control and what you can't mostly can be learnt, untill emotions get in the way. I can't control how other people behave, but I can control how I deal with it. Thank you, you have given me plenty to think about.