Mindfulness Journal

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:13 am

Recently I committed to living mindfully for a period of time: viewtopic.php?f=77&t=13928

I'm starting this thread to journal my experiences with mindful living, jot down impressions, observations, discoveries, questions, etc.

Should you read something here that resonates, I invite you to join in: share comments, anecdotes, guidance, advice, encouragement, etc.

Now back to the present moment. :-)
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:20 am

One of the first things I've noticed in my attempt to live mindfully -- i.e. to stay mindful all the time, except when I'm concentrating on something that doesn't have room for mindfulness, a demanding physical or mental activity, for example -- is that I keep forgetting to be mindful. Forgetting to remember. It's not second nature yet, it's still quite unnatural feeling. And, when I remember, the doing of it is also not second nature. My first response to remembering is often confusion: Ah, yes, let me be mindful. Mindful ... hmm, what's that again? So I've come up with a tagline that helps me get the feel of it very quickly: "See things as they are."
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:39 am

Its happens the same with me! I forget to be mindfull and then I think "Oh yes, let me get back on track...". Another interesting thing that I found is that when I am in the bed trying to sleep, but keeping myself mindfulness, sleep will come faster. But if my mind is very agitated, sometimes meditation in bed can be worst and, for some reason, I will have a harder time to sleep.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:50 pm

Thanks, Nosta. :-)

It's soooooooooo much harder to remain mindful when the demons manifest. Self barges in utterly sure that he's the only thing that can save the organism from the wrath of the demons. And how does he do that: By taking all the power, exercising martial law. (Little does he know that he's a huge part of the problem, perhaps all of it.)
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:32 pm

If I may make a small suggestion?

The intent to increase your mindfulness is a very good one, and keeping a journal is a useful tool to aid this process. In my experience I found it all a bit overwhelming at the start and so now I advocate starting with simple things. If you meditate, for instance, you could spend a few weeks on being mindful of your posture. Later you could add being mindful of your food whenever you sit to eat. These activities are already defined within your day and so it is (potentially) simpler to focus on what you are familiar with. Further down the track you will likely find that you can bring your mindfulness to bear on other aspects of life more easily - as you will have already established a good base. Otherwise you risk the danger of being swamped with details.

Apologies if you are already taking this approach but I felt the urge to put this out there. :smile:
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:38 pm

Good idea :)

Today I am completly in the oposite side of mindfulness; I heard some bad news about my job and I am REALLY angry and sad today. I have hatress feelings towards my government, who did such things.

When I loose control, mindfulness is gone.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:43 pm

Qing Tian wrote:If I may make a small suggestion?

The intent to increase your mindfulness is a very good one, and keeping a journal is a useful tool to aid this process. In my experience I found it all a bit overwhelming at the start and so now I advocate starting with simple things. If you meditate, for instance, you could spend a few weeks on being mindful of your posture. Later you could add being mindful of your food whenever you sit to eat. These activities are already defined within your day and so it is (potentially) simpler to focus on what you are familiar with. Further down the track you will likely find that you can bring your mindfulness to bear on other aspects of life more easily - as you will have already established a good base. Otherwise you risk the danger of being swamped with details.

Apologies if you are already taking this approach but I felt the urge to put this out there. :smile:

Thanks for the advice, Qing Tian. I recognize the danger of overwhelming myself with 24x7 full-on mindfulness. Which is why I'm "wading in" gradually, taking my time, not trying to be heroic. Fortunately, I'm quite forgiving for my lapses in mindfulness, which are frequent. I don't beat myself up (like I used to) ... just calmly become mindful again. Over and over and over and over. You know how it goes. :-)
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:58 pm

Qing Tian, I am trying a similar idea: meditation at night and mindfulness while driving, to work for example.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Qing Tian » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:43 am

Coll Nosta! That's exactly how I started. Then I added eating, then a sport I played, simple walking, and so on. There are so many simple things we do everyday that lend themselves to helping us in this practice. Just choose which ever appeals at the time.

Of course, integrating it all is a major task, but it is very rewarding even just to try.

Way to go folks! :anjali:
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:30 pm

Mindfulness smooths out the roller coaster ride. It's a relearning of how to be. More equanimous, less oscillating between extremes. That takes getting used to, conditioned as I am to enjoy the oscillations.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:10 am

Sometimes I feel cheated when I "wake up" from a lapse of non-mindfulness ... like I missed out on consciously experiencing that lapsed chunk of time, which is now gone forever.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby lobster » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:48 am

:meditate:

Slow down. Actions done with tai chi awareness (not granMa speed) come with practice. Mind watched, slows into being rather than reactive monkeying around.
I commend your most worthwhile effort. :woohoo:
Can we race down the road with our hands in the air chanting the sacred woo hoo mantra? :smile:

Are we mindful of our pop corn or our pops corny jokes? :popcorn:

With the return to mindfulness or the instigation of such a practice, we have in effect started meditating, however imperfectly . . . as a being, rather than a posture . . . :bow:
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:09 pm

lobster wrote:Slow down. Actions done with tai chi awareness (not granMa speed) come with practice. Mind watched, slows into being rather than reactive monkeying around.

We fill ourselves with coffee, sugar, multitask our way through the day, watch media designed to excite, stimulate, engage in adrenalin-rush pleasures ... and wonder why our minds have such a hard time slowing down. Mindfulness is a life style, not just a mental practice.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Qing Tian » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:37 pm

Trying too hard can be counter productive and frustrating.

If you practice anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) you will know what I mean. When one first starts this practice the attention is placed on the breath and often assumes control - that is we end up breathing in and out at the rhythm that our attention dictates. The correct way of course is simply to observe the tides of the breath. Mindfulness in everyday life is often the same: try too hard and you end up controlling.

Just from personal experience, your kilometerage may vary (as they may one day say in metric countries!)
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:54 pm

Qing Tian wrote:Trying too hard can be counter productive and frustrating.

This is my experience also.

To quote Albert, mindfulness "should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." That last bit is important, because if I get too lax, I'll fall back on reflexive mental behavior (monkey mind) and mindfulness will hardly arise at all.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:55 pm

I'm finding it helpful to keep coming back to here/now in the midst of activities that require full concentration. All it takes is a few seconds, one breath ... to reconnect with the present moment. Doing this periodically helps to frame everything -- even things that normally require all our mental energy -- in awareness.
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby lobster » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:31 am

How Wonderful :twothumbsup:

In the moment. In the return to a natural state of taste.
Grounded in the present being, enables the knowing of a Being Present.

This enables the awareness of The Teacher independent of formed behaviour.
What fun :woohoo:
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:04 pm

I hope that rachmiel doesnt mind if other people use this topic as their own mindfulness journal; it would be a great way to share ideas.

Well, anyway, recently i noticed this:

1) It takes a lot of time to be used to mindfulness and to remember doing it, but thats something that grows. In the begining one may remember to mindful only once in a month for example, but as you read and learn more, as you try to make an effort, you will remember more times...like 2 times in a month, then more, etc. There will be also an increase in the amount of time you are mindful. First you get only for 2 minutes, then 5, etc...At least these days I am mindful at least, lets say, 3 times a week and for at least 15 minutes; today I was mindful 40 minutes. Not bad for a very distracted and lazy guy like me.

2) If I get mindful a few times a day for same days in a row, I will be much more calm, concentrated and with clear mind in general. Even if I am not mindful on a given moment, I still be more calm, etc. There is some scientific research saying that mindfulness meditation will bring more results not only to your emotions (getting calm, lucid, etC) but also in your brain structure. So I suppose that mindfulness while doing daily tasks may bring the same results. For all the purposes, its still "meditation"...

3) When you are mindfull, you live more every moment, and better, because you are right there doing what must be done; all your being is living that moment. I could notice that, for example, today. While I was driving back to home I was very mindfull. Generally, while driving, I am wandering so when I get home I can remember almost anything about my travel. But not today...when I got home today, I was aware that I got home, I could remember my travel, I knew what I did 40 minutes before (40 minutes was the time of my travel and I was mindfull all that time).
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby lobster » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:19 am

40 minutes was the time of my travel and I was mindfull all that time


There is stillness, being, awareness. Bringing it into life.
There is listening and presence, now as always.
So simple. :namaste:
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Re: Mindfulness Journal

Postby rachmiel » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:12 am

Awareness sees external (senses) and internal (mind) stuff. If you are open to it, awareness reveals this stuff, makes it consciously available to you.

Awareness sees and reveals, but it does not understand, it does not connect the dots. It does not act. Something else does these things, something groks what awareness reveals and acts accordingly. Call it: intelligence.

It's this partnership that delivers the goods: awareness reveals, intelligence fathoms and acts.

Awareness without its partner, intelligence, is like a shortwave radio receiving all manner of signals and playing them back ... to a deaf person.

---------------------------------------

Awareness, when permitted/encouraged to be present, creates this mysterious "intelligence" thing. Or, more accurately perhaps: awareness creates an environment in which intelligence can flower. Likewise, intelligence nurtures awareness, seeing its necessity and beauty.
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