A desire is not a problem; a thought is not a problem; a feeling is not a problem. They appear naturally in us. They just happen, they come and go. We choose and select those that are important or interesting and we focus on them. We build our lives on those choices.

Problem appears when we get very attached to some desires, thoughts or feelings. We start identifying with them forgetting that there is more, that we can step back, change perspective or choose different point of view. Attachment is mistaken for our identity and nature, but it is only some kind of super-glue that although very strong can be dissolved and removed. We  don't need to get rid of desires and thoughts, it is enough to let go of attachments.

Meditation is a great help in recognizing this misunderstanding. It gives space for a safe and quiet observation of our inner life. It may even help to dissolve a destructive attachment.

Learn meditation.

I can’t really know how my day will look like tomorrow. I can imagine and plan it, but it will never be a precise reflection of the plan; something unexpected will occur. I can think about my past, happenings and situations that I remember, but they are only a subjective memory of events; any other person participating in them would have a different recollection. The future and the past are imaginary, built and constructed by my intelligent, thinking mind as an important part of my identity. In fact they are so important that I concentrate and focus on them all the time. I constantly move my attention and my interest between these two ignoring the only reality I am in:  present.

I started learning mindfulness to return to the present, to concentrate and notice what is happening in my life here and now.

Yes, sometimes I keep my head down staring at a screen of some digital device and when I take it up I see around me people with their heads in similar position, staring into memories, stories, plans and worries of the whole planet. We are focusing on a story told by somebody else. We are losing touch with reality making choices and taking actions based on seductive or threatening stories of somebody else, somebody who took authority from us, manipulated us into his or her world. And we wake up into a very surprising present, unexpected and unwanted, but the one that became our reality. So we start again planning, wondering and analyzing. We are again on a roller-coaster of thoughts between the past and the future.

Please stay here, in the present, be aware of what is happening to you just here just now. Feel the sensations and energies in your body whatever they are, trust yourself, you are wise. Be mindful.

Human being is naturally creative. There is an artist in every one, not necessarily a revolutionary and acclaimed artist, but there is a creative power in every person. All areas of human activities are fields for creation, from domestic tasks to professional one; from creating a party for your children to painting a picture or renewing organization of your office work.

Creativity is like building a prototype, doing something that nobody else has done before; it brings freedom and joy to life. Unfortunately it can also provoke criticism, judgment and need for perfectionism. Expectations that appear around creativity can be like a burden that threatens, blocks and stops us from creating at all. And in the end they can make out of us a sad, disappointed and unhappy person.

These burdens and blocks may not be visible to the eye, but they are as solid and strong as real walls. They are felt as a fact, an object and the truth. So let’s not deny their existence. Accept this truth even if it is your subjective truth known only to you. Become aware of it, be mindful of it, feel it as it is and allow it to be here because it already is. Don’t fight it, don’t suppress it and don’t call yourself names. Let it be, let it move, let it flow. Acknowledged and freed, it will finally have a chance to change into energy you so very much need for your creativity. It will become a building material. That’s the
difference between the mindful and thoughtful approach to life.

Reading books is a virtue in our culture. Reading books is also a wonderful entertainment. We also read to learn and to improve. We read self-help and self-development books hoping for a positive change in life. These books are full of advice and exercises that if performed would change our bad habits and behaviours. Only a very small group of readers actually do these exercises, only 3%. It is interesting why it is so easy to read a book and so difficult to apply what the author has advised. Doing an exercise demands an action from us and an effort. The change has to come from within. But there is a resistance to it, maybe it is fear.

At the same time we would like to be healed, saved and approved of. We want things to be different but without us changing. We want our partner, mother in law, boss or a rude shop assistant to be exchanged for somebody ideal who will do exactly what we wish. That would be fine and acceptable, but the slightest suggestion about the change happening in us and to us creates a shiver of resistance. What is it that shivers, what part of us is so scared of a change that it resists any attempt of it? And it will do anything to convince us of uselessness of any exercise being done.

Sometimes it is enough to start with a very small change, something that will be acceptable to the shivering part of you. My suggestion is a meditation, a mini meditation. Start with five minutes awareness of being present. Mindfulness is the gentlest way to a change, nevertheless it has to be done not only read about.

A human being likes to describe experiences and express feelings. We comment on everything that is happening to us. If we can’t do it loudly or share it with others we keep a monolog internally. If we can’t express our feelings (particularly the uncomfortable one) we suppress them creating a pressure inside us. The story we are telling ourselves is often an attempt to process these feelings, to cope with them or to release the pressure. We want to explain and justify feelings; to tame them and to control them through the thinking mind; after all, the mind is intelligent and should be able to do it.

How does it work for you? Does the talking really help? Does the analyzing and scrutinizing help to release difficult feelings? What is an honest answer to it? (For example: are you still angry with your ex-husband even if you have been divorced for ten years now?)

There is a different way of approaching feelings. Instead of talking about them, you allow them to talk and you concentrate on listening. Their language is not verbal, it is physical, so you simply need to connect to your body, feel what is happening there, pay attention to sensations in the body and let them move in their natural way. Drop the story, feel and be present with what is happening now; trust the wisdom of your body your nervous system. That’s mindfulness. You will be amazed how this simple act of being mindful of your feelings can transform them.

When I look at a beautiful, strong tree covered in delicate foliage I seldom realize that I see only a part of the whole tree. There is much more of it underground, hidden from my eyes; the vast system, being a vital part of a tree, unseen. The tree is whole only together with its roots. It grows together with its roots; it is supported and nourished through them. Its beauty and strength depends a lot on them. Healthy roots give a healthy tree. Maybe I don’t need to reflect so seriously upon roots of trees and plants, I leave horticulture to others.

But I can reflect and wonder about my own inner world that is invisible but can make me strong, beautiful and happy or not.

The thoughts appearing in me; am I aware of them and how they influence my life?

The feelings and emotions appearing in me; am I aware of them at all or do I cover them with stories? Do I allow myself to feel what I feel? Do I allow myself to be honest about these feelings?

My paradigm, my way of thinking, reacting and relating; is it good for me?

This entire inner world is like my invisible root system supporting me on the Earth. I need to take care of it if I want my life to grow and blossom.

I pay attention to this inner world. I am mindful of it.

Spring in Norway is a shocking experience. Within few days a grey and dry landscape changes into a colorful picture of juicy and fresh green. Life is visible everywhere; it is squeezing plants, leaves and flowers from every possible and impossible nook and corner. Nothing can stop it. It has to grow, breed and create. The livelihood of nature is attacking all senses with explosion of forms, colors, scents and sounds. It is overpowering and intoxicating. There is abundance in nature and it is particularly visible now. This need for creating is also a trait in a human being. There is no limit to what a man can dream of, design, make and produce. Our highly technical civilization is a proof of this drive to create.

It seems that there is an excess both in nature and in civilization. It can be overwhelming and uncontrollable, but it is fascinating as well. There is abundance, richness and choice. There is plenty.

Pay attention to it.

Be mindful of it. Allow a notion of plenty into your world.

Why meditate? What is it good for? What can it give me beyond some minutes of calmness?

I can actually relax in various ways not necessarily by sitting still avoiding thinking.

Feeling of calmness and fascinating state of non-thinking are only by-products of meditation.

The only aim of meditation is to be present with what is in the here and now.

In a rush of a day how present are we; how much of what is going around us do we really notice? How much of our environment do we really pay attention to?

We are being absorbed in thoughts because thinking is a way of looking for answers to our challenges and problems.

But thinking narrows our view into a specific tunnel, specific direction blindfolding the environment and taking us to the imaginary past or future. What if the answer we are looking for is just here in the present and we simply don’t see it because we are not interested in it? Or maybe we don’t see it because we have been trained to look somewhere else, not here.

Meditation helps to see the present. It expands our consciousness. It allows to see the bigger picture, to sense information disregarded and ignored by thinking; the information that can be the answer to our questions and the solution to problems. Meditation changes our perspective, opens the vista; it gives clarity and understanding beyond thinking. I love meditation.

There are moments in life when we want to stop thinking. When a stream of thoughts brings no solution and no consolation, but is getting us into a state of mental vortex, thoughts circling around causing only a headache, exhaustion or increasing stress.

On the other hand we live in a world where thinking is highly valued and there is a prejudice and fear against lack of this activity. Our technical civilization is built on a philosophical statement “I think therefore I am”.

Nevertheless everybody would agree with me that there is more to a human being than just thinking, only that intelligence is a winning factor, the most important quality of man.

How about taking a different perspective?

What if we take away this dominant position from thinking and make it only one of many equally important aspects of human being; so we can appreciate thinking when it is really necessary and go off it when it is not wanted?

I don’t know if we can stop thinking, but I know that it is possible not to pay any attention to it, ignore it, forget it, and let it rest so it doesn’t bother us when we want to be left in peace.

Mindfulness teaches how to take attention from thinking by placing it somewhere else. And this something else is not another subject for thinking-another story, but simply non-thinking.

Mindfulness is about being present with what is happening just here just now; it is about experiencing life as it is without assessing it.

Thera are moments in life when this different approach is very helpful and useful because it allows us to “stop” thinking.

There is a painting of Madame de Pompadour in her boudoir. I wondered about the meaning and provenience of this word. The term derives from French verb to sulk; so from a sulking room, a room to withdraw it became a woman’s private room. The mentioned picture is an incarnation of luxury: truly royal wealth and richness masterfully depicted by great artist Francois Boucher. This beautiful woman enjoys her private room in company of precious objects, shiny silks, a little dog and many books. It is her sacred space, her place to sulk, or maybe a place to dream.

It reminds me of another masterpiece, this time masterpiece of literature written by Virginia Woolf: “A Room of One’s Own”. This small book is about woman’s private space, a space where a woman can write, can create and to create is to allow herself to dream.

A woman is often torn between duties, obligation and search for a proof of her own value and it leaves her very little time to dream; and I mean to dream without “buts” and “wells” without looking for a compromise between “the possible” and “the wanted”, I mean to dream wildly, insanely and wonderfully like a child who hasn’t yet learned about “buts and wells”

This room for dreaming is very important. Befriending your dream, allowing it to tell you everything, listening to it in smallest details will make this dream free.

Be mindful of your dreams, let them live.

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