Saturday, November 5, 2011

Anything But This Moment . . .

Sitting, it usually does not take long before the unpleasantness makes itself felt. Drinking from the bitter cup of suffering is an exercise in patience, and faith. One that I am not always able to see through the end. Lately, it has been hard staying seated for the whole thirty minutes.

Walking, I thought I would be brave and go 'naked' without my phone. This is the perfect opportunity to turn exercise into a walking meditation, I tell myself. Soon, I discover the pain there also. The same one I was feeling during sitting. To stay with each step and the burden of fully felt discomfort, or to find ways to escape? The mind ends up playing its usual tricks and takes me somewhere else.

At the gym, I went without a book. Yes, I shall turn the time on the elliptical machine into yet another form of practice. It's been a while since I have exercised my heart so hard. Body, breath, and mind start to rebel against so much effort. I start wishing I had not left the book at home. Anything but this moment . . . Then remembering 'breath as an anchor', I decide to investigate the new sensation of breath under stress. Mouth open, throat dry, air burning through the lungs. For a while, I forget that I don't want to do this.

Throughout each day, I make many such overtures to mindfulness, and I almost always find it incredibly challenging to stay with the unpleasantness. This is why sustained practice is so hard.

How do you manage to stay mindful?

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