awakening joy: mindfulness
What is Bringing me Joy right now?
Thinking about Lucia and Louis dancing. Being in a nice warm house with some really great house-mates. Feeling quite chilled compared to how I felt this morning, listening to Frank Ocean, thinking about squirrels, a delicious tibetan lunch with my friends, kindness.
I have written some reflections on mindfulness, what’s written in the AJ book is ok, but doesn’t quite work for me and slightly misses some things i have learnt that feel important to emphasise. Mindfulness is a set of practices, e.g sensing the body, breathing, contemplating death, looking at phenomena in terms of pleasant/unpleasant/neutral (Vedana). Practices that we can do over and over again, that lead to particular insights and freedoms. The word ‘Sati’ that is often translated as mindfulness in the west. It’s root meaning is something more like to remember/re-collect/contemplate. When we spend time contemplating the body, the breath etc, we simplify our experience, we investigate, we make more space to choose, especially choices that allow more joy into our lives.
Mindfulness allows us to integrate the experiences we have into our lives, rather than being pushed and pulled around, we can start to respond to life wisely.
The “Don’t miss it” practise is a good example of integration, allowing experiences to permeate into our being. We also begin to integrate things when they are difficult and challenging, and we can find more freedom in those times.
As we practice we also start to observe impermanence, that things come and change and go, we learn to enjoy things when they are present, and when difficult things arise, we can be more at ease with them knowing that they will fade.
The more we practice contemplating and recollecting this practises, the more ‘mindful’ we will become in everyday moments. Mindfulness becomes a frequent visitor.
Mindfulness offers a way for us to slow down and investigate our experiences with care and wise attention. We become interested in what is happening and the impact it is having on us. In this potent pause we can ask:
“Is how I am thinking and feeling contributing to suffering or to freedom?” - Ruth King
I love the concept of uni-tasking from the AJ book. I have been practising this the last few weeks, just doing one thing at a time, and actually enjoying it, or at least finding something enjoyable in it.
Orienting towards pleasure
In everything I do, what can i find in it that is pleasurable?
Live pleasure streaming ::::: Right now I am rushing and typing because that is a habit I have built being on computrers. If i take a second to tune into what’s pleasurable about my experience, I can feel a heavy grounding tingling in my legs, I decide to adjust my posture so I am comfortable and my shoulders more relaxed, I slow down just a little and listen to the tapping of the keyboard, i breathe a little more. My body feels softer.
Quickly I get caught up again in rushing, but the more I practice orienting towards pleasure, the more I will find myself there.
Intention: The first session we ran
The first session went well, we have had good feedback from the group, it is a lovely group, mostly close friends so it feels like a safe space to practice. It’s been nice having more conversations about joy with people when I have seen them. Lesson plan and structure below:
How is the training going?
I’m finding it a bit hard to keep up - I have had a lot going on these past few weeks, but i am managing, it works better for me to stay up to date than to let things run over, this means focusing some time every week to keep up to date i think. I am also creating more work for myself by doing these blog posts, but it’s something I really want to do, it helps my learning so much pulling strands together and creating something.
Second call with James
Working with the self that can arise in a leadership position - identifying with the role. This is an opportunity to practice anatta (no-self) trying ways of looking like - the dharma is coming through me. Let wisdom come from the group! Collective wisdom. Asking great questions so people access their own wisdom, reflecting back to people what you hear them say, give them time. Tune into the wise part of them, look for what is wise in them - see them in that way and speak to that part of them and they will feel seen. Intention: keep going back to this! Keep bringing it in
Next steps Get up to date on the third zoom call and third theme (Gratitude) Meet with Matt before the second session Do the next session!
Having some really freakin cool friends, being about to get off the computer, being in the sunshine today, lemons and great songs, dancing!!! Violet the wood pigeon who comes to eat seeds in our garden. Hot chocolates and warm radiators. Having a computer! Working with matt on this Aj training, and the training in general, i’m really grateful to be doing it. Watching films with friends and cuddles.