There’s Something Happening Here…

The following piece is from Sarah at Left Brain Buddha, and I think it is interesting for us at ICPPD where we have been offering Mindfulness Certificate courses and classes including an online Mindfulness and Mindful-Living course.

ICPPD is offering a 1 day Mindfulness Silent Retreat outside Athlone on 27th February and later in May, our 3 day Certificate in Mindfulness and Mindful-Living 4th, 11th and 18th May 2016 and in June an intensive training for Mindfulness Instructors.

Don’t forget 20% off the 8 week Online Mindfulness course for the month of January 2016  

There’s Something Happening Here…

… and what it is, I think, is pretty clear.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a day-long retreat and workshop led by Jon Kabat-Zinn (who developed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the late 1970s). I also attended his lecture at the University of Minnesota the following evening.

Over 500 people attended the “Day of Mindfulness,” and over 2000 people poured out on a chilly Friday night to hear Kabat-Zinn speak, as he put it, about nothing.

Clearly, something’s happening here.

People are hungry for greater calm and balance in their lives, and for living in harmony with others, tuning in to their innate goodness, and dropping their unconscious and reactive patterns…

I think people are fed up with the sound and the fury, with busy-ness, with distraction, with “continuous partial attention,” with ridiculous levels of stress, with living on auto-pilot…. There’s a sense that we’re missing out on our own lives.

Over 4000 years ago, the Buddha spoke of these same problems. He said that something was inherently unsatisfactory about the human condition. We wish for things to be other than they are. We desire things we cannot have. We dislike the things we do have. We lose the people we love.

We desire permanence, yet everything is transitory and changing.

So what do we do? How do we cultivate a life that is harmonious and joyful? How do we, as Thoreau asked, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” this life that is so short and so long and so amazing and so terrifying all at once?

Some have tried to find the answer in psychedelic substances, and others have turned to contemplative practices. (In fact, the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll generation helped to popularize transcendental meditation and eastern philosophy.)

I don’t claim to have all the answers to the problems of the human condition, but I know MINDFULNESS is a core part of the solution. As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated in his lecture last week, (and I’m paraphrasing based on my notes), “We need to wake up to the way we’ve been conditioned. We can live the life that is ours to live, not by trying to get to the next moment, but by cultivating an intimacy with the present moment.”

How often do we do that? How often do we simply befriend the present moment as if it contained exactly what we chose? How often do we choose to sit with discomfort or boredom or sadness? {How often do we reach for our phones as a way to escape the present moment instead?}

Kabat-Zinn put it this way: no matter how much longer you will live, there are an INFINITE number of moments until you breathe your last breath. How many of them will you be present for?

When we’re not paying attention, we miss out on a lot more than little things like a colleague asking us a question. We miss out on the fundamental richness of the present moment. We collaborate in our own stress when we continue our days on auto-pilot, trapped in unskilful habits and patterns.

Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that when we wake up in the morning, we ask ourselves, “Am I awake?”  – because we may not be.

When you’re in the shower, ask yourself, “Am I in the shower?” Because you may not be! (As Kabat-Zinn joked, you could be having entire conversations and arguments with people who are nowhere near your shower!)

When you’re in your car, ask yourself, “Am I in my car?” because, frighteningly, you may not be.

What’s happening here?

When held in awareness and approached with genuine curiosity, the present moment is fascinating. Even boredom is interesting when we investigate it ~ Kabat-Zinn reminds us that our minds have over 500 channels, plus re-runs!

Even the most miserable of moments can be transformed by shining the light of awareness on it, for sunlight is the best disinfectant.

“It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound…” I think more and more people are listening.

Something’s happening here. Something’s ALWAYS happening here… will you be awake for it

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