Category Archives: Mindfulness

Mindfulness for Beginners—Jon Kabat Zinn Page 27—The Beauty of Discipline

To cultivate mindfulness really does involve and call out of us a certain constancy of motivation and purpose in the face of all sorts of energies in our lives, some from inside ourselves and some from outside, that dissipate our awareness by perpetually distracting us and diverting us from our intentions and purpose.  The discipline I am referring to is really the willingness to bring the spaciousness and clarity of awareness back over and over again to whatever is going on—even as we feel we are being pulled in a thousand different directions.

Just taking this kind of stance toward our own experience, without trying to fix or change anything at all, is an act of generosity toward oneself, an act of intelligence, an act of kindness.

The word discipline comes from disciple, someone who is in a position to learn. So when we bring a certain discipline to the cultivation of mindfulness and are aware of how challenging it is to bring a sustained attending to any aspect of our lives, we are actually creating the conditions for learning something fundamental from life itself.  Then life becomes the meditation practice and the meditation teacher, and whatever happens in any moment is simply the curriculum of that movement.

Pema Chodron From her talk, “Don’t Bite The Hook”.

TRAFFIC JAMS

“If you can practice patience in the traffic jam with a sense of humor approach or whatever approach you want to use, you are training for really major difficulties in your life. So, it sounds silly, but actually, it’s true. If you’re sowing seeds of aggression in the traffic jam, then you’re actually perfecting the aggression habit. And if you’re using your sense of humor and your loving-kindness or whatever it is you do, then you’re sowing those kinds of seeds and strengthening those kinds of mental habits; you’re imprinting those kind of things in your unconscious. So, the choice is really ours every time we’re in a traffic jam.”

From her talk, Don’t Bite The Hook

From Ajahn Sumedho

Notice what it’s like when you open to emotional
feeling, to moods, without judging it, not making any
problem out of it, whatever its quality is, whether it’s
emotional or physical, by learning to embrace it, to
sustain your attention by holding it without trying to
get rid of it, change it or think about it. Just totally
accept the mood you’re in, the emotional state, or the
physical sensations like pain, itching or whatever
tensions, with this sense of well-being, of embracing.
When I do this, I notice the ‘changingness’. When you
are willing to let something be the way it is, it changes.
Then you begin to recognise or realise nonattachment.
We say ‘embracing’: in this way satisampaja¤¤
a is not attaching (upàdàna) to them, it’s
embracing. This sense of widening, it includes; it’s
not picky-choosy, it’s not saying, “Pick only the good
things but the bad ones I won’t,” it takes the bad along
with the good, the whole thing, the worm and the apple,
the snake and the garden. It allows things to be what
they are, it’s not approving. It’s not saying that you
have to love worms and want them in your apples, to like them as much as you like apples. It’s not asking

you to be silly, ridiculous or impossible, but it’s
encouraging you to allow things to exist, even the
things we don’t like to exist, because if they exist, that’s
what they do, they’re existing. The whole thing, the
good and the bad, belongs. Sati-sampaja¤¤a is our
ability to realise that, to know that, in a direct way, and
then the processes take care of themselves. It’s not a
case of Ajahn Sumedho trying to get his act together,
trying to cleanse his mind, free himself from
defilements, deal with his immature emotions,
straighten out his wrong, crooked views, trying to make
himself into a better monk and become enlightened
in the future. That doesn’t work, I guarantee — I’ve
tried it!

Gina Lake on Healing and Aawakening

And a very small summary in case the vid is too long.

SOME NOTES ABOUT HEALING AND AWAKENING

•    Awakening is due to grace, and whether someone awakens and when is up to grace. Not everyone is meant to awaken, and those who are meant to awaken will awaken when it is the right time for them. 

•    Having said that, it is also true that those who are destined to awaken are usually called to the spiritual path and called to do spiritual practices and attend to their own healing. The will to do these things comes when it is time to awaken, and you can’t make that will be there when it isn’t. This will is often intensified by the suffering caused by difficulties experienced in early childhood or some loss later on.

•    Whether you awaken or not is not as important as how you are in every moment. Whether you have had an awakening or not, you can experience awakeness by simply learning to be present. Presence is awakeness. The more moments we spend in Presence/Awakeness, the more that prepares the ground for awakening. So if there is anything we can do to awaken it is that: Be present as much as possible. And then if you don’t awaken, it won’t matter!


•    Spiritual practices such as meditation prepare the container of the body to be able to hold or support the higher vibration of energy that comes with awakening. When people’s bodies aren’t adequately prepared, they might experience physical problems or become destabilized mentally or emotionally. 

•    You can have had an awakening and not seem like you have, because you still have so much unhealed conditioning that pulls you back into the ego. Or you can not have had an awakening and be very content and happy and live much of the time in an awake place because you have healed enough conditioning. 

•    The problem is that if you still have a lot of negative thoughts and feelings, you will have a hard time being present and staying present for very long. Fears and desires and thoughts about the past and future pull you out of the present moment. Healing is important because it is difficult to move out of or beyond a negative mind. Healing makes the thoughts and feelings more positive, and that makes it easier to be present—to experience awakeness, whether you’ve had an actual awakening or not.

•    Some experience of Presence/Essence/Wholeness/the true self is necessary to entice people away from the mind, particularly away from their negative thoughts. Without a sense of who they really are, people get bogged down in the mind and can even get bogged down in witnessing the mind or doing inquiry. They stay stuck observing or witnessing their mind and fail to turn their attention away from it to the present moment. They don’t know another way of being yet because they haven’t gone deep enough into Essence. 

•    Although people might realize that they are not their thoughts or mind, it is still difficult for many people to be present—to drop into their body and the present moment and stay there. That is because the mind is compelling, especially when it is negative, and also because when there has been some wounding, people don’t trust life or trust the experience of just being. They feel they have to be doing and thinking in order to survive. Trust is a critical issue in being able to move into the present moment. If trust has been impaired by an abusive or a neglectful situation in early life, then being present for any amount of time is challenging. 

•    An awakening, as I define it, is a permanent shift in identity in which the primary state one lives in is Presence rather than ego-identification. Considerable conditioning drops away at awakening, but some conditioning remains and comes up to be seen and healed, which is easier to do once you realize your true nature.

•    What heals is contact with true nature, both the therapist having contact with true nature and the client. Contact with true nature happens when we are present in the moment.