When not present, when we are fixating on some object of perception, we tend to be reactive to new information. We are led around by this wild mind and reactive to the moment rather than in sync with it. Such a mindless state is at the root of most of life's discomforts, not only for the individual, but also for those around us. As if constantly stepping on our dance partners toes and our own.
Developing mindfulness in all facets of life, empowers us to make conscious choices. It empowers us to untangle the knots of our discord rather than to further bind ourselves. The Theravada tradition from Burma where I learned some of this calls it the 5 posture practice.
To be aware of our arising states in all states: sitting, walking, standing, laying down and everything in between! Meditation and other practices can help us to train this attuned state of present time presence.
When our attention becomes to fixated on the objects of our perception and we incur an increasing sense of attachment to these objects we increase our base experience of suffering. In this state it is hard to act appropriately in a world that needs us. And that's just it, mindfulness, meditation, yoga are not ends in of themselves but allow the space to participate more fully in life.
I've always found the below parable quite interesting in contemplating my relationship with myself and the world:
Mindfulness is the first step in shifting our perspective. The constant process of marginalized living --- of separating and dividing and of cataloging our experience into likes and dislikes --- happens only in reflection to the ever arising moment. To be at the tip of the arising moment in what ever form it may come, brings freedom from the compulsive behavior that permeates most of our lives.
I lived over the local highway and every time a car passed, which was fairly often, it would get a rise out of me! It was as if I would grow more irritated by the sound as the days passed on. This would not do I thought.
I certainly could not stop the flow of traffic though and the thought of moving from such a great situation seemed absurd. Rather than block it out, I set to change the shape of my vessel and quite literally used the sound of passing vehicles to correct my posture. Every time I heard a car, I mindfully shifted my reaction to the action of adjusting myself. Almost a decade has passed and you could say I am no slouch.
Many of life’s experiences would seem way to salty to bear, but perhaps our perspective is more powerful than we think. With just the right salinity of self, we may soften and hone many of the tasks at hand into vessels of mastery.
Epi-genetics and developmental psychology
Maybe it is just me but it seems like the world is waking up in many ways. We have all been a little existentially shaken by the global pandemic and this has certainly shined a big light on how vulnerable our mental health is. Ok, maybe more that a little existentially shaken. Closed systems have limits and the planet earth is teetering deadly close to one! Getting our heads in check so to speak is crucial if we are to turn the necessary corner.
Right now, the average individual is spending between 6-9 hours on screen and the our global state of affairs, statistically speaking in regards to in-equality and climate metrics, is noticeably getting worse??? If we are so attentive to such a power point of focus, technology, why is the obvious direction we should be taking not what is happening? Have we collectively lost our minds?
Whatever is going on, it seems to control much of our lives. In a world of the hyper-informed are we loosing sight of safe land in our quest for satisfaction? How deluded are we to allow the greed, anger and delusions of society ruin us? I wouldn't say there is an easy answer here but beginning to unpack how one person, a supercomputer in and of themselves, with a supercomputer in their hand, their phone, can become part of a real technological movement for personal and collective peace....is indeed the calling of our times!
The below video by Alan Clements is call for us to question our strange complicity to the apparatus of conformity and to hear the voice of our times. It is call for us to confront our addictions and denial with the sacred rage of illumination! It is a call to beautify all aspect of ourselves, even the dark ones!
How do we find freedom?
Where is the handle of agency in our narrative? Sometimes we are driving and sometimes we are a passenger but control is always the contention.
Our minds are often filled with more conclusions about how things must be, than with questions and wonder. When we are unable to control our narrative our mental health suffers on many levels. But how easy is it truly be the author of our minds? Who and how we are, is so often just a softball of conclusions about our place in the larger narrative. I am this. I am not that. A regular prison of conclusions to overcome at times.
“A mind free of conclusions is truly free” U Pandita of Burma
Understanding something conceptually is useful but it has its limits. Reading a book on swimming helps, but it could never substitute for the real thing. Often we can find ourselves so lost in the abstraction of life that we can miss living it to a sufferable degree indeed.
We often people say "easy to say hard to do" and that's just it. Finding away into our highest selves is a lot harder that it sounds. Freedom is easy with a full tank of gas but a different story when our tank is empty.
And so Where to focus? Is there a better way?
Where are we to focus with so many obstacles or points of potential fixation? With the effect of suffering an unavoidable aspect of life, is the eradication of suffering a realistic aim? Or what gradient of it is achievable considering that the tool in our hands, the instantaneous global communication system at our fingertips, can be as addictive as heroin. Can we mind our phones like we mind our garden?
Time spent at the core of every spiral or story seems to empower those who see it, turning the passive observer into an author of living. It puts the pen in our hand and we are able to sit at the tip of this undifferentiated self, decidedly open to renewal and with access to personal power.
The more we familiarize ourselves with this awareness of direct personal experience, the more we are able to generate insight into the nature of our inter-beingness; an experience that inspires and ignites our personal sense of responsibility in the world.
It gives us the courage to care and the free energy to do it. But getting sucked into our phone screens is easy even for the ‘enlightened’. Let us not be DOPAMINE ADDICTS so deep in denial that we miss our chance for freedom.
Pray, meditate, do whatever it takes but get off your mat and find your niche of action!
It is OKM’s mission to help the world buy each other a little more space to have this option. It's easy to say of course but not so easy for everyone to slow down to find space or afford it. When we don’t recognize this luxury in the ‘developed’ world, our appetites for distraction and entertainment create illness and we end up in bed, with the flu of course; scheming up new business plans to sell, sell, sell --- often at the expense of others. Success, if blind, can become disaster!
The consequence of mindlessness is a grave reality that we are seeing on the planet today.
We will be able to come together in a meaningful way when it counts? OKM believes we will! If we can only recognize our points of fixation as opportunities for freedom, our future looks bright.