mindfulness: the essence of positive reprogramming

One week ago, after a busy week of courses and therapies, with Sunday looking like the first really free day, the phone rings at 4 a.m. Usually, it is either someone from Asia forgetting about the time zone or some kind of an emergency. Private number, says the screen of the phone.  The ringing stops before I could answer it. Someone who had one too many, I tell myself, go downstairs, get a glass of cold tea and return to bed. The sleep is shattered, though. I decide to try and snooze some more, and when I am about to drift away, the phone rings again. With a visible number, now, and no, it is not Asia. It is the mother of an ex classmate of my son, desperate that her 20 year-old child did not report on the come back time and he was still not home. According to criteria all over the world, these “children” are adults.

Instead of dismissing on the spot the agitated and worried intention of the call, I feel this woman’s mood creeping onto me, like a contaminating wave of gray drizzle. Is everything all right? The boys are out to town, clubbing. The heart starts racing. This is too much. I take the phone and for the first time in months I am playing on the colored screen. Everything is calm. The method works, and after winning 3 top scores, I plunge back into dreams.  And through the dream I can hear the door at 5 am. The clubber is back :D.

I woke up touched by this woman’s agitation and her self-induced pain. At the toothbrush time  I had decided to talk to her, not because she had ruined my only quiet night of the week, but because she needed help. Her obsession on this youngster, a bright and handsome guy, touches his soul like plague. He needs to experiment and get to know the world. And then I thought what I would do with her in therapy. Any psychologist would try and reveal the rusty mechanisms and wheels in her mind in order to determine a return to the normal logic in the mother-son relationship. Then something else came to my mind. 

Mindfulness  is the English word, and fortunately English translates better than other languages what is called Sati in Pali,  smṛti in Sanskrit. It is found from the Upanishads on, being one of the fundamentals of the Hindu scriptures and Buddhist teaching.

Attention, concentrated on reality but especially on the present moment, becomes a real power when combined with a clear understanding what is going on. Presence is a word that seems really adequate, because it combines the focused attention on now with the potential connection to a superior energy layer that we call Divine, Self and so forth. 

Buddha preached about touching presence by continuous practice of calm awareness of the body, feelings, mind and moods. Constant practice leads to wisdom. Far from transforming one into a victim of circumstances, the presence should be combined with discernment .

And all people I had met during the week came to my mind. A large number were under the shadow of agitation. Something bad happened at work, my girlfriend left me, my lover is jobless, I do not know what is happening to me – although wonderful, I am scared… and so on… and so forth…

Thinking back of all these people, their common problem is that they ran away to yesterday and tomorrow, into regret, sadness and fear. Regaining the presence and coming back here, now. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, just now. Allow yourself to have this moment of personal silence before getting sucked back into the whirlpool of fear and suffering. Then compare the two feelings and decide if it is worth starting to train the mind.

And if the answer is yes, start today, with ten minutes of mindfulness. Watch your mind. If it drifts to yesterday, bring it to now. If it runs into tomorrow, bring it back, into now. Ten minutes later, compare how you feel> is it different from the moment you started the daily training.

One can get a nice biceps in the gym, in two months. But when you train the mind, you may feel the effect from the first moment, and what is wonderful is that this muscle never aches from overload :).

love, beyond cliches

We see daily on those electronic communication media tens of quotes about love. They make you wonder how much the dilligent writers are practicing out of the overwhleming amount of displayed wisdom .

Don’t describe it. Do it, at all levels.

Last month’s agitated days and nights are flowing like a kind of preview to the grand unveiling of the mind. Each of them, a good time to learn and re-learn all facets of this tarnished noun, that looks dusty, sugary and teary but still so new, each time you discover another aspect of it.

The woman that sighs thinking of  that man who is equally attracted and scared by her. Incapable to explore other possibilities than the classic one, containing the compulsory condoms and ring.

The little pet that is finally cured after months of chronic wounds, coming to thank and ask for yet another cuddle and another stroke. With its freshly cleaned fur, it sticks to you, offering a share of unconditional love.

The white haired couple, walking in the park hand in hand, with all their passion’s traffic lights off, but with the love’s one shining green after years of hurdles and trials.

The soul that cries and laughs about how far and yet how close we are to the ones we love> because what matters is not what you get, but what you give. The  awareness of love beyond death, distance, disasters and separation, like in a beautiful cartoon illustrating a dear song, where the two halves are searching and re-searching for the other for the entire life, even if they won’t meet .

The Love, with a capital L, that you discover when you feel the urge of straightening a strand of hair fallen on the forehead of a woman who cries. When you would like to embrace that being, wounded by its own vulnerability, speaking to you with words that ooze pain.

All those days and nights and words and jokes and affectionate humor. Discussions over things that raise the same interest, plans, and dreams and desires. Respect for the other’s silence and detachment from what we do not posess, we do not control, we just fuel.

The endless love one can feel for the giant, mellow and warm being we call Planet, and to all her children, with or without leaves, with scales, feathers, two or four or more legs. The plant children, the stone children. The light buds floating in the air like invisible UFO’s. The Love that envelops you when you sit in one of those places, fewer every day, where nature is still pristine and untouched by the coarse boot of “civilization”.

And, finally, but not eventually, the profound understanding of the loving connection between all that is, animated by the huge force of a feeling that triggers the mechanics of the entire Universe, and the revelation that actively practising this feeling puts gas in the life’s engine. And then, Silence. And then, Joy,

It’s like any fitness routine, the mind gets shaped progressively and learns to love, really, unconditionally, all that is. And, like any routine, it should be performed constantly, no matter if today you are sad, desperate, jealous, furious. Practise it like a slingshot that throws you back in to our inherent Human nature: loving kindness.

You can start tomorrow, if you forgot today. Smile to the first man you see tomorrow morning and watch the miracles flowing through the day.