“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault
Turns out, alot is new, but not much. Let me explain…..I had the privilege of spending 4 days with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn last week at a mindfulness retreat at the Omega Centre just outside New York. He is the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a program that is now part of over 700 medical centres in the U.S., and also the author of ground-breaking books such as “Full Catastrophe Living”. He’s been teaching and researching mindfulness since the 70’s and has collaborated with people such as the Dalai Lama and others in this field. Needless to say, he is experienced in this area!
Whoa! Before you get any lofty ideas that I have become any more mindful or enlightened than anyone else, please know it doesn’t work that way… it comes and goes like anything. Heck, I yelled at my kids last night… but maybe a little softer 🙂
What is ground-breaking is the amount of new research supporting the positive benefits of a mindfulness practice, but aside from that… read on!
A few things I’m excited to share with you about this experience… aside from his gracious presence and a chance to ask many questions, guess what? The practice is the same! No special instructions, no special tricks or gimmicks, just you in your experience with your breath. We all have noses and we all have seats to sit on. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Turns out it is one of the hardest things for us to do, or rather, not do. I don’t think it’s news to you that you have an active mind that loves to think up all kinds of stuff for you, but the awareness comes not in emptying your mind, but in the noticing and observing of your thoughts and your stories that you tell about your life. Let go of all effort to control, change, manipulate or empty your mind in your practice, just notice the stories you tell yourself and you might be surprised… or even shocked at who is in your mind!
The other thing I want to share is that the key, as you know, is practice, practice and practice. That is all. Nothing more. I can tell you that from practicing for 4 days straight, there is no doubt in my mind that this simple act is transformative. Whether it’s 2 minutes, 5 minutes or just one conscious breath where you become aware of the present moment (your breath, your surroundings, your feelings), that is enough. Just that. You don’t have to like it…. but notice that too.
I read in a Tiny Buddha article today:
Jerry Seinfeld, in reviewing his shallow life, asked, “Isn’t there more to life than this?”
His neighbor Kramer replied, “I know the answer to that: There isn’t!”
What is the point of grasping for the future or past when you can’t enjoy a cup of tea? Life only ever happens in this moment and the consequences of not being there for it add up over time. Isn’t there more to life than doing things to get to the next thing? Turns out, that pattern doesn’t change when you get to the next thing… you’ll still be doing! It’s a brain state.
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this in the next blog….
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ~Bill Watterson