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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mindful Practice 8

By now you know being mindful is not easy.  It requires a great deal of effort in the beginning but as you practice it gets easier.  Meditation plays a big role in becoming mindful because, for one thing, it acclimates the mind to being in the moment.  Meditation is not only important for learning how to stay in the moment it is also important for recognizing judging thoughts.   For example, you are meditating and a thought suddenly appears, "Betty is a good friend."  And then another thought appears. "But she needs to lose some weight."  The first thought was generic and the second thought was judging.

It is okay to have judging thoughts as long as you recognize them as such.  Let's say you are sitting in a waiting room at the doctor's office and you have been waiting for a long time.  You hear the doctor talking to another patient in the adjoining room.  You think, "why is he talking to her when he knows I was here first.  I've been waiting here for over forty minutes.  He is a no good son of a _ _ _ _ _ for treating me like this."

One thing you could do is get very angry and leave.  The other thing you could do is recognize the thought as a judgment.  In the first case nothing would be gained and in the second case the negative feeling would disappear.  Once you recognize negative thoughts for what they are - nothing but negative energy, they disappear almost immediately.  You cannot be your thoughts if your are mindful, therefore you cannot be negative or angry.

Include in your sitting meditation practice some thought awareness.  Just let your thoughts come and go without trying to control them and simply recognize them..  There may be times in your meditation where there are no thoughts at all and that is great.  As you get deeper into meditation the gaps (no thoughts) between thoughts will widen but what you want to be aware of are the thoughts on both sides of the gaps.  Are they generic thoughts or are they judging thoughts?

By recognizing thoughts they become distant from the "you" - the witness of the thoughts.  Thoughts become objects and you can observe them without becoming emotionally involved.  You want to see them for what they are - subtle and temporary forms of energy.  By becoming the observer of your thoughts you can identify them better and easier than when you become emotionally involved with them.   

By becoming aware of your thoughts during meditation you can become aware of them when you are not formally meditating such as when you are carrying on a conversation, walking, talking, teaching, resting, watching television, participating in sports, watching sports, and so on.  As your thought awareness grows you should see your mindfulness grow too.  Thoughts that normally provoked anger, despair, jealousy, anxiety, and other negative emotions will become temporary objects of energy passing by.  You will become more mindful.

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