Continuing with Sally Armstrong’s talk, “The roles of mindfulness, metta and equanimity in our practice“, and her discussion on mindfulness…
Sally shares various definitions of mindfulness, but I really resonate with the definition that Jeanne Corrigal offers:
Mindfulness is paying attention, with open, curious interest, to what is happening within and around us, with the intention of responding wisely to our experience.~ Jeanne Corrigal
Jeanne’s definition brings in many of the points that Sally highlights in her talk. Sally mentions, “We want to be in the present moment, but we need to know what for.” Sally also describes this as “an inner knowing and an outer connectedness to what’s happening in the world” – an engaged practice. Sally describes the aspect of “wise mindfulness” as “onward-leading” – in the direction to the increase in skillful qualities like kindness and wisdom, and decrease in unskillful qualities, like greed and ill-will.
Sally sums up the qualities of mindful attention with these three words:
kind, interested, relaxed. I like that.
Guided meditation: Mark Coleman recently published a book, From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness, in which he expands on many of the points Sally raises. Here is a guided meditation he recently offered, based on his book. It’s about 27 minutes:
Reflection: Sally mentions that as we pay attention in this kind, interested, and relaxed way, we start to see more clearly – our conditioning, reactivity, habits of mind. Among other things, she mentions we may start to see assumptions we might have about ourselves – what we can and cannot do – and the practice can help us break through limiting delusions. For example, one story I internalized over the years was “I can’t cook” – and it’s taken time and practice to open to finding the joy and satisfaction that can come with trying new recipes. What sort of stories are you starting to see through?
Feel free to share your reflections or comments below, or by email.
With warm wishes,