it’s not a doing, it’s a being – and being doesn’t take any time..
(2012) by Jon Kabat-Zinn
mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally..
ultimately, i see mindfulness as a love affair – with life, w reality and imagination , w the beauty of your own being, w your heart and body and mind and with the world..
living w awareness or wakefulness..
what some of the implication of this might be for how we related to our thoughts/emotions, esp our most reactive ones
my hope is that this book will provide you w an adequate conceptual framework for understanding why it makes sense to engage wholeheartedly and on a regular basis in something that seems so much like nothing
once you establish a robust platform or practice using this book and its guided meditations.. there are practically endless resources available if you want to explore mindfulness further
what you’re asking yourself as you make the effort to pay close attention to aspects of life we so often ignore entirely or discount as trivial and unimportant
in a very real sense, you are embarking on what i hope will be an ongoing adventure of inquiry and discovery about the nature of your mind and heart and how you might live w greater presence, openheartedness, and authenticity – not merely for yourself, but for your interconnected embeddedness w those you love, w all beings and w the world itself.
the world in all its aspects may be the greatest beneficiary of your care and attention in this regard..t
p 1 – entering
9 – beginners mind
suzuki roshi: ‘in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few’
beginners come to new experiences not knowing so much and therefore open.. this openness is very creative. it is an innate characteristic of the mind. *the trick is never to lose it.. that would require that you stay in the ever emerging wonder of the present moment, which is always fresh..
11 – breath
the fact is that we are being breathed.. always out an in .. an ideal anchor for our wayward attention.. it keeps us in the present moment.. we are only breathing now.. the last breath is gone, next hasn’t come yet..
paying attention to the breath (or whatever) is not about the breath (or whatever).. objects help us to attend w greater stability.. gradually we come to feel what the attending itself is all about.. relationship.. coming together into one seamless, dynamical whole in awareness.. it is the awareness that is primary
13 – breathing
of course you are breathing.. but if it were really up to you .. you would have died long ago..
14 – the hardest work in the world
to grow into the fullness of who we actually already are is the challenge of a lifetime..t.. ultimately, mindfulness can become an effortless, seamless element of our life.. the challenge for each is to find out who we are and live our way into our own calling .. we do this by paying close attention to all aspects of life as they unfold in the present moment
17 – mindfulness is awareness
awareness is a capacity we are all intimately familiar with and yet simultaneously complete stranger to..t
shifting from doing mode to being mode..t
26 – inhabiting awareness is the essence of practice
the challenge of mindfulness is to be present for your experience as it is rather than immediately jumping in to change it or try to force it to be different
life itself becomes the meditation practice as we learn to take up residency in awareness – this essential dimension of our being that is already ours but with which we are so unfamiliar that we frequently cannot put it to use at the very times in our lives when we need it the most
if .. mindfulness were to function increasingly as our ‘default setting’.. when we lose our emotional balance momentarily, then it could serve as a profoundly healthy/reliable resource for us..t
the real challenge is how will we be in relationship to whatever is arising.. here is where freedom itself is to be found.. here is where happiness.. equanimity.. peace.. each moment is an opp to see that we do not have to succumb to old habits that function below the level of our awareness.. w great intentionality and resolve, we can experiment w non-distraction/non-diversion/ non-fixing/ non-doing
if we are willing to encounter our old habits in this way.. w/o turning (it) into unattainable ideals and if we can bring gentleness and kindness to the process.. we might taste the very real possibility of being at home/peace w things exactly as they are w/o having to try to change/fix anything in this moment
a radical act of love/sanity
29 – adjusting your default setting
thinking seems to constitute our ‘default setting’ rather than awareness..
a seemingly endless stream of activity (thinking/musing/fantasizing/planning/anticipating/worrying/liking/dis-liking/remembering/forgetting/evaluating/reacting/) that you may not have ever noticed in quite this way until you put out the welcome mat for a few moments of non-doing and just being
critical thinking.. is an extremely important faculty we need to develop refine and deepen.. but it is not the only capacity we have that needs developing refining and deepening.. awareness is at least as important .. in fact it is demonstrably more powerful in that any thought, no matter how profound, can be held in awareness
and neither come from school.. all we need comes from – as you say awareness.. and/or cure ios city
33 – attention and awareness are trainable skills
but they don’t need formal training.. if no one gets oppressed in the first place
probably what teachers most want is to have their students’ sustained attention
if so.. how sad/oppressive is that
it may very well be that the capacity to rest in awareness w/o distraction, in addiction to simply balancing the power of thought and brining a wiser perspective to it, may give rise to an entirely diff kind of thinking
yeah.. begs daily curiosity ..perhaps via cure ios city.. which will most certainly give rise to an entirely diff kind of human (ie: authentic; eudaimonious; happy; peaceful; .. rather than ie: whales in sea world)
it may be that future research will show that mindfulness training actually enhances creativity, freeing the mind to produce less routinized kinds of thoughts and freer and more imaginative associations
34 – nothing wrong w thinking
but when thinking is not held and examined in the larger field of awareness, it can run amuck.. coupled w our unexamined afflictive emotional states, our thinking can wind up causing great suffering, for ourselves, for others, and sometimes for the world..
35 – befriending our thinking
meditation is about befriending your thinking, holding it gently in awareness, no matter what is on your mind in a particular moment.. it is not about shutting off your thoughts or changing them in any away
(thoughts) become workable rather than imprisoning.. and thus, we become a bit freer in the knowing/recognizing of them as events in the field of awareness. they become workable w/o our having to do any work – ti si the awareness that does all the work/liberating
39 – not taking our thoughts personally
it is a big step toward reclaiming our lives when we realize that no matter what their content, good, bad, ugly, we don’t have to take our thoughts personally
we don’t have to believe them. we don’t have to even think of them as ‘ours’.. just recognized them as thoughts..
when we an simply hold them in awareness w a sense of curiosity/wonder at their amazing power given their insubstantiality/limitations/inaccuracies.. then we have a chance right in that moment.. any moment, to not get caught in their habitual patterning..
in that moment we are already free, ready to act w greater clarity/kindness w/in the constantly changing field of events that is nothing other than life unfolding..
40 – selfing
if we fall into the thought stream and get caught up w various thoughts, esp if we self id w them – saying .. this is ‘me’ or that is ‘not me’.. they we are really caught
i me mine. this habit of self id.. the tendency to put selves at center.. hold that habit in awareness.. rather than try to fix it
clinging is optional (ie: to i me mine).. we can recognize it and choose not to feed it..
43 – awareness is a big container
awareness is a big container and can hold any thought/emotion.. w/o in the slightest being caught by any of it..
45 – the objects of attention are not as important as the attending itself
the awareness that ‘whatever’ is going on in this moment.. and the awareness is already ours.. already available/complete/capable.. you already are it
p 2 – sustaining
49 – mindfulness based stress reduction (mbsr)
there are vast public debates about how to pay for health care, but what the ‘care’ itself consists of, or even what constitutes robust health and how it can be maintained and restored, often receives far less scrutiny and even less action..t
the idea behind mbsr is to challenge people to see if there is something they can do for themselves..
‘health and well being’ – true extent of your being human .. coming to know w greater intimacy your own mind/body.. thru systematic cultivation of intrinsic bio and psycho capacities for well being and wisdom, including the compassion and goodness that lie w/in all of us
51 – a world wide phenom
mindfulness meditation is really all about awareness: its quality/stability/reliability/capacity to free us from our own habits of self diminishment and of ignoring what is most important in our lives
a story about people grokking what matters
mindfulness develops bare attention, discernment, clear seeing, and thus wisdom, where ‘wisdom’ means knowing the actuality of things rather than being caught in our misperceptions and misapprehensions of reality. and those misperceptions/misapprehensions tend to be truly legion for all of us, no matter who we are, because it is so easy to be caught up in our own belief systems, ideas, opinions and prejudices.. they form a kind of veil or a cloud that often prevents us from seeing what is right in front of our faces or from acting in ways that truly reflect what we most care about and value
there may be times when our family members try to get thru to us – out of love/desperation – point out how much unnecessary suffering we are generating thru what we may be refusing to see or what we are taking so personally that we may be misconstruing it entirely..
but even in such circumstances, it is uncannily hard for anyone to get thru to us.. usually we can’t hear it or don’t believe it, so caught up are we in the momentum of our own delusion and habits of self distraction
anything and everything can become our teacher of the moment, reminding us of the possibility of being fully present: the gentle caress of air on our skin, the play of light, the look on someone’s face, a passing contraction in the body, a fleeting though tin the mind. anything. everything. if it is met in awareness..
64 – mindfulness is not merely a good idea
until and unless you implement it and sustain it thru ongoing regular practice, leavened w an appropriate attitude of gentleness and kindness toward yourself, mindfulness can easily remain simply on more thought to fill your head and make you feel inadequate .. one more concept/slogan/chore/thing to schedule into your already too busy day
65 – to come back in touch
the real challenge .. is that the practice itself gives us instant access to other dimensions of our life that have been here all along, but with which we have been seriously out of touch
to see w/o really seeing, hear w/o hearing, eat w/o tasting.. we can easily zone along on autopilot for most of our lives, meanwhile thinking we know what is happening, we know who we are.. where we are going.. that could be said to be our current default setting: the highly conditioned and tenacious mode of unawareness, of auto pilot, of mindless doing..
66 – who am i
an interesting thing happens when we start to question and investigate in an open, curious and systematic way who we are and where we are going..t
mindfulness reminds us that this internal narration of ours is entirely based on thought.. it is a construct, a fabrication that we have gotten comfortable with.
how to be you et al
68 – you are more than any narrative
when you begin to question the narrative of yourself and inquire as to who is even doing all this talking inside your own head, you may come to realize that you have no idea.. offers an entirely new and much freer way of being w experience..
70 – you are never not hole
while we may long for wholeness, the great irony is that it is already here in any and every moment and it is already ours..
awareness … doesn’t saddle us w stories of how great/horrible/inadequate we are .. they are merely thoughts.. coming and going..
72 – paying attention in a different way
power of mindfulness lies in examining the fundamental elements of our lives.. in particular all those self id’s we indulge in and their consequences.. and the views/perspective we adopt and then proceed to think are us..
paying attention.. to the actuality of life unfolding moment by moment by moment..
i call this orthogonal rotation in consciousness. nothing is different, yet everything is different because we have rotated in our way of seeing/being/knowing
73 – not knowing
not knowing is basically just being honest about our ignorance.. we have been highly conditioned to feel that .. not knowing is foolish/shameful.. t
if you are completely preoccupied w what is already known, you can’t make the leap into that other dimension of creativity or imagination or poetry or whatever it is that allows for seeing a hidden order in things which , until it is seen and realized, it isn’t seen at all
i don’t know ness – usefully ignorant
74 – the prepared mind
louis pasteur: chance favors the prepared mind
what is the prepared mind? a ready/open mind that knows or maybe just intuits wha tit doesn’t know, questions its own tacit assumptions and is drawn ti inquire – to look more deeply beneath the appearance of things and perhaps behind the conventional narrative about why things are or aren’t the way they are
75 – what is yours to see
p 3 – deepening
79 – no place to go, nothing to do
in many asian languages.. the word for mind and for heart is same.. mindfulness.. not about doing.. it is about being.. attending itself.. nothing to attain
norton productivity law: it takes getting nothing done to make us human again – Quinn Norton
80 – the doing that comes out of being
meditation is not about navel gazing or giving up functioning in the world.. it is very much a way of letting all the doing you are engage in and care about come out of being..whatever emerges is something other than mere doing because it is informed by other dimensions of experience that come from intimately knowing our own mind
mindfulness – the how of coming to our sense moment by moment.. there really is no place to go in this moment.. we are already here..
can we let go into non doing.. into pure being
there really is nothing to attain, no special state or feeling because whatever you are experiencing in this moment is already special/extraordinary.. by virtue of the fact that it is being experienced..
the paradox.. everything you might wish for is already here.. and the only important this is to be the knowing that awareness already is
82 – to act appropriately
mindfulness is required to be able to see beneath the surface of appearances to what is actually unfolding in our own experience.. to hear what is really being said.. can hold (all this) so that you might not shoot that arrow in the first place.. but if you do, you’ll see the effect of it and have enough integrity /character to apologize
83 – if you are aware of what is happening .. you are doing it right
the important thing is that you noticed it.. can you let it in and be aware of it.. can you not add anything to it.. this is where the non judgmental piece comes in
85 – non judging is an act of intelligence and kindness
in each new moment we are presented w this option.. to see what is actually happening, which we call discernment, rather than to fall into judging.. which is usually overly simplistic, dualistic, binary thinking .. black or white, good or bad, either or..
suspending judging, or not judging the judging that does arise, is an act of intelligence, not of stupidity.. also kindness toward self.. counter to tendency to be hard/critical on selves
87 – you can only be yourself
the real challenge of mindfulness: the challenge to be yourself.. the irony.. is that you already are
88 – embodied knowing
what does it mean that we are already who we are.. how will we embody that knowing in the most stressful moments.. we might ask whether it is possible to inhabit a sense of well-being in any given moment.. to experience a profound sense of flourishing, of what is sometimes called eduaimonia..
might it be possible to be aware of fleeting moments of joy, perhaps in the absence of the storms and cloudiness that are also fleeting if we don’t feed them? perhaps joy/well-being is already here and we are ignoring it or we don’t have the proper lenses to even detect such currents in ourselves..
90 – feeling joy for others
like joy and a sense of well being, compassion for others and loving kindness are currents native to our hearts and minds, and so are already present.
perhaps they are simply unattended and unobserved, obscured by the overgrown vegetation of our usually entangled minds, preoccupied as they often are w our endlessly driven agendas
one virtue of the cultivation of mindfulness and the intentionality behind the practice – to help us to turn toward that which we are most impelled to turn away from
93 – is my awareness of suffering suffering
as we investigate the full extent of that experience, as opposed to merely living in a habitual reactivity colored and perpetuated by old, worn out patterns of thought w little or no awareness
94 – what does liberation from suffering mean
we can see that much of it is indeed a form of suffering that we create for ourselves on top of what the outer circumstance bring us, which can be horrific enough w/o our compounding it.. it is adventitious (intrinsic) suffering that causes us by far the vast majority of suffering we experience..
being attached to anything, clinging to anything, is a prescription for suffering..
let go of the things you have to cling to
in the face of even the most unthinkably terrifying situations, we have a powerful innate capacity to hold whatever it si – even terror, despair and rage – in awareness, and carry it differently..
this is what mindfulness offers us: new way of being in relationship w what is .. not as an escape route or as a n expedient. but as a way of being more in touch w our humanity/ goodness/beauty..
viktor frankl on concentration camp: ‘everything can be taken from a human being but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any give set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way’
98 – liberation is in the practice itself
it invites us to be willing.. over an dover again in the face of .. overwhelm, reluctance, despair.. to turn toward what we most want to turn away from.. it invites us to accept what seems beyond accepting and to experiment w embracing the actuality of it w a sense of enormous kindness toward ourselves..
not contrived/forced.. but a willingness to rest in the not knowing.. in the whatever.. with kindness toward oneself and toward those who most need our tenderness and our clarity..
each moment when we can take refuge in the domain of not knowing.. out of such moments we can take action even in the face of loud interior narratives that predict hopelessness, despair and failure.. even in the moments when we do lose our mind and our heart, in the next moment or whenever we are ready, we can begin again, and again, and again.. we can return over and over to something deep w/in ourselves that is steady, that is reliable, that is whole.. and that is not a thing
104 – energy conservation in meditation practice
it is amazing what the mind will do to construct and reinforce an id
the natural mind? or the manufactured one?
let how you live, your actions and attitudes speak for you w no need to synthesize a satisfying narrative for others, or even for yourself
106 – an attitude of non harming
when we intentionally align ourselves w non harming as the core motivation and foundation of mindfulness practice, it allows us to take an entirely diff perspective on how we might be in relationship to our various transitory but often painful states of mind, as well as to the whole of our lives as they unfold moment by moment..
if you cultivate that kind of attitude toward self.. can rest in meditation/awareness w ease.. w/o having to get anywhere else or experience anything special
root cause of suffering – clinging.. greed
we generate less suffering in ourselves and others when we are aware of how attached we may be to our desires and then let the at awareness modulate our thoughts, emotions, and actions
110 – aversion : the flip side of greed
hatred or aversion is the flip side of greed. it too arise form our unexamined attachment to our desire – only now it is the desire that things be diff from how they are
114 – now is always the right time
because it is the only time
115 – the curriculum is just this
what is unfolding in this moment.. whether we like what is happening or not..
whatever is arising in this moment becomes the curriculum for liberating ourselves from the shackles of greed, hatred and delusion..
117 – giving your life back to yourself
the flowering of mindfulness in one’s life is always more of a development and an integration of what is already there rather than an adding or subtracting of specific qualities.. it’s not a technique at all.. it is a way of being..
the techniques, when understood and used properly are simply skillful means for waking up to the actuality of what is already here and providing a more skillful – that is wiser – way of being in relationship with it
118 – bringing mindfulness further into the world
once you have established a foundation in formal practice and in allowing life itself to be both the real teacher and the real practice, you may discover that your natural creativity and imagination find many ways to carry the practice of mindfulness into diff areas of life
if you are a teacher.. satisfying to feel love of learning and sense of adventure come alive in classroom.. as teachers we live for this
if believe in this mindfulness.. life as teacher.. how could you confine anyone to a classroom? no matter how loving the teacher..?
i think the idea of a teacher is a corruption of natural mindfulness..
military is also making use of mindfulness training to deal w the huge social costs of multiple deployments on troops and families]s.. as to refine training that instills in soldiers greater stress resilience and greater discernment and restrain in counter insurgency situations
anything that needs training (not even going to get into.. anything that goes along with war/killing people).. seems a compromise to the human spirit
this training is in part to hopefully dramatically reduce civilian causalities during combat operations in which the enemy doesn’t wear uniforms, civilians are everywhere and the soldiers themselves might be terrified
we have in our brief lifetimes, all the moments we need to *take responsibility for who we choose to be in relationship to what is and to what might be **if we follow our hearts and our intrinsic wisdom.. this opp invites us all to engage whole heartedly, each in our own way, in an ongoing adventuring in the domain of the possible and the not yet realized
to me.. *this seems unethical (puts guilt/burden on people w/o shells and a world out of sync).. we need to provide an alt before we tell people they could change us/world.. ie: today.. **following hears and intrinsic wisdom isn’t enough.. we first need a reset.. get people back their shells et al..
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’
p 5 – ripening
123 – the attitudinal foundations
in addition to the ethical foundation on which mindfulness practice rests, there is also a complementary attitudinal foundation..
seven: non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go
1\ non judging: when you begin paying attention to what’s on your mind, you rapidly discover that basically everything isa judgment .. no need to judge the judging or try to change it. just seeing it is enough..
not knowing is akin to not judging.. when we don’t have to know everything.. we can be open to seeing w fresh eyes
2\ patience: we are always trying to get someplace else.. some better time/moment we can so easily become impatient and driven.. prevents us from being where we already are…
mindfulness is about stepping out of time altogether.. this can give us a lot more time in our lives.. so there is no hurry
3\ beginner’s mind: our ideas/opinions/expertise so easily cloud our ability to recognize what we don’t know.. important to seeing w clarity/creativity and living w integrity
how to meet each moment as fresh.. w the attitude of beginner’s mind, boredom can become unbelievably interesting.. as you watch it.. you might find it dissolves into something much more interesting, another mind state.. true for virtually every mind state
4\ trust: what we know, what we don’t know, that awareness, our heart, ..
5\ non-striving: as a culture we are really into doing, making progress ,alway sneeding to get somewhere.. so th enotion that there is no place to go, nothing to do, and nothing to attain can be qite strange.. to our need to alway sbe getting better..
when we inhabit the present there really is no place to go.. nothing to do.. nothing to attain.. unlike anything you’ve ever taken on.. such as learning to drive a car, where once you learn it, it becomes automatic.. a skill that you use and never think about. that may be why there are 50 000 fatal traffic accidents in the us every year..
no place to go because the agenda is simply to be awake
how you are in relationship to this moment influences the quality and character of the next moment.. what a remarkable opp
6\ acceptance: realizing how things are and finding ways to be in wise relationship with them.. if you don’t see and accept things as they actually are, you won’t know how to act.. or you might be overwhelmed by fear..
clinging is the opposite of acceptance..
7\ letting go: letting be.. not pushing things away or forcing ourselves to release.. letting go is akin to non attachment to outcome.. when we are no longer grasping for what we want, what we are already clinging to , or what we simply have to have.. letting go also means not clinging to what we most hate..
the more we let go in this way the deeper our well being..
p 5 – practicing
feeling your breath is very diff from thinking about hour breathing
we’re not trying to relax, we’re not trying to get anywhere and not trying to obliterate thought.. we’re simply resting in awareness, w thing exactly as they are
again.. it is the awareness that is primary, not the sounds, or your thoughts about where they are coming from, or which ones you prefer, or your emotional reactions to certain sounds.. so the challenge is to simply rest in awareness, hearing whatever there is to be heard, moment by moment..
we are not trying to change our thoughts, or sub certain thoughts for other thoughts, or suppress them as if they ‘shouldn’t be happening’ or escape from them..
in dwelling in awareness, there is a freedom right inside this moment.. w/o having to have anything be diff from how it already is..
we grow naturally into self understanding, which can very much influence how we are in relationship to our experience, inner and outer.. whatever it may be.. we are befriending the mind and the heart as they are and learning to inhabit an imperturbable silence that is never not here – a stillness that is native to our very nature as human beings..t
out of this intimacy and this cultivation, healing and transformation unfold naturally
awareness doesn’t have to do anything.. it doesn’t have to make anything happen. it just sees. it just knows.. .. and in the seeing/knowing.. these arisings.. self liberate.. dissolve on their own.. they don’t lead to anything else, they don’t capture us and pull us away , if we don’t feed them
there’s no doing here.. just resting in choiceless awareness, in open presence, moment by moment.. .. activity of the mind does not have to define us.. we do not have to be caught.. the contents of the mind/heart are not personal..
an invitation to take up residency in awareness and dwell here in this timeless moment we call ‘now’.. that gives us another dimension of being in which to live, in which to be touched by the world and thru which to touch the world and others in their joy/pain, in which to come to our senses – all of them – and wake up to the actuality of who we are
as we learn how to stabilize our paying attention and how to allow objects in the field of awareness to become more vivid – to see them w greater clarity, to drop beneath the surface of appearances – we are actually learning how to inhabit and how to rest in the capacity for awareness that is already ours.. to live our lives as if how we live them in the only moment we are ever alive.. really matters..t
may you walk in beauty – and may you realize that you already do
ou would have gotten distracted..Congressman Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, says mindfulness might look a lot like nothing, but he really believes it can change America for the better.
at the University of Massachusetts, Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, uses mindfulness to treat addiction.
Chade-Meng Tan a former engineer whose become kind of a mindfulness guru. And as could only happen at a place like Google, his actual title is “Jolly Good Fellow.”