May 24, 2013
I always look for new ideas on how to be more mindful of the present moment. Sometimes it is so very difficult to do that. There are always thoughts jumping ahead to what is scheduled next, what might happen, what will never happen.
Today I ran across a little article that was directed instead on focusing on the day today. As I thought about it, I felt that really that is what I try to do. I keep the day as a whole in my head, and as I wind my way through the hours and events, I then focus on those specific things as they are happening.
The Ten Simple Rules for Daily Living came from the website Greatfulness.org
(photograph by me: Oregon coast)
Here are the thoughts, in my words:
* Only for today, I will live the day being positive and not try to solve the problems in my life in one day.
* Only for today, I will be mindful of my appearance. I will dress as if my appearance is an expression of my thoughts and values. I will not raise my voice. I will be kind and compassionate to others. I will not criticize others. I will not judge others. I will only work on improving myself.
* Only for today, I will remind myself that I have within me the capacity to be happy. To be content.
* Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances around me without requiring that all circumstance adapt to my own wishes.
* Only for today, I will commit 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering to feed my thirst for learning, knowledge and understanding.
* Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
* Only for today, I will make a plan for myself. I might not follow it exactly, but I will do my best. I will be mindful of hastiness and indecision.
* Only for today, I will remind myself that today is a gift.
* Only for today, I will have no fears. Within the hours of the day I will focus on each moment. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness and compassion.
January 5, 2013
Do you know what a Buddha Board is? Or a Zen Board? It’s a magical board where you use a soft calligraphy brush dipped in water to create a picture, a design, or to write a word. Then as you sit back and watch, it slowly disappears, dissolves and is gone. It is brief, fleeting. Impermanent.
What if we could make our crazy, busy, over thinking minds like a Buddha Board……noticing what we have created in our mind, or are experiencing with our emotions, and then watch it fade away and be gone? Anxiety, worry, fear, doubt, apprehension anger, sorrow, anticipation, even joy and happiness. What if all these things were there, and then not there?
For me the idea of not holding on to the experience of happiness, joy, satisfaction, contentment, etc., is hard to “want”. At the same time, I understand these are a type of false happiness because they do not last….they fade even if I try to hold on to them. They are fleeting. They cause me to have desires for more of the same, or feel sad when they are replaced by another emotion, or to long for the past, or be anxious about whether the future will hold more of the same good feelings or not, to wish or hope for something more or different……what a circle.
Another analogy is your mind being like the sky with clouds drifting by…changing and disappearing. Thoughts and emotions are like that. When we watch clouds for real in the sky we do it with awe and humor and then, when the cloud has changed into something else or floated away, we do not mourn the “loss” but think: “That was fun.”, or “That was beautiful.” Often we do not give it another thought. No longing for that cloud to return. It was, and now it is gone. Yet we experienced it, appreciated it. It brought some fun into our lives….made us smile and feel good.
Our minds are so jam packed full of stuff: thoughts, ideas, emotions, self doubt…..Sometimes it is hard to just be settled and present with where we are now. To be grateful for life and health. To smile and make eye contact with someone. To say “thank-you”. To be present for ourselves and someone else.
Everywhere we go there is artificial noise, and visual overload. All around us are images and suggestions of what will make us feel happy, or powerful, or important, or satisfied, or beautiful, or even scared or worried.
But will they really? In a lasting, meaningful way?
I’ve come to a time in my life where I WANT my mind to be like a Buddha Board. I want to be able to watch the clouds in my mind drift by, change shape and disappear. I want to be able to be in THIS moment, free from longing for the past or being anxious for the future. One is gone forever, and the other may not even come.