The body is slow and analog; the mind is rapid and digital. It is almost impossible for the body to follow and keep pace with the mind. While the mind moves with an unlimited speed of thoughts, the body has to yield to the resistance of matter. It means that it is much easier and faster to think about something than to do it physically. One simple action can give space to hundreds of thoughts completely unconnected to this action.

This discrepancy creates feeling of duality, fragmentation and suffering. Slowing down the mind allows me to catch up with the body; or rather paying attention to the body slows down a stream of thoughts until it is ignored completely, until it is non-thinking.

Focusing on what is happening here, what my body is doing and sensing disperses the rushing thoughts; it takes me into the here and now. It helps me to be Not Two. It erases the gap, the separation. And it is called mindfulness.

I quite often miss from my sight what is here, in front of my nose. I leave the present to automatic trained behaviours and pay attention only to everything that is not here. It seems that I live many lives at the same time. For example while I brush my teeth, my body takes care of it without bothering my intelligent mind. This thinking mind is occupied with much more important or interesting tasks. So while I mechanically move a toothbrush and rub my teeth with it I am already on the road wondering about traffic, hoping that my car will not play tricks on me, I am going through five alternatives for a dinner I should have today, I am analyzing what happened to me yesterday and if I manage to do everything I have planned for today hoping not to forget all the important things, sometimes I also have an argument with whoever I have to argue. All these actions are happening during this short time I spend doing some necessary hygienic on my teeth completely unaware of the very teeth. A few minutes are packed with amount of tasks, situations and emotions that could take more than a week to be done in real time.

If I continue with this “double life” through a day focusing on hundreds of stories and ideas appearing on my mind when I do shopping, water plants, walk my dog, fry eggs, watch TV or whatever I am physically doing, I simply get exhausted, drained of energy and anxious.

I will not stop all this stories from appearing on my mind, because it is what my intelligent mind does. But I can move my attention away from it, just for a few moments, I can leave this stream of thoughts and pay attention to something else, namely to what I am doing and feeling just here, just now, experiencing consciously the present. That’s mindfulness.

A feeling is energy. Energy is not good or bad. Only how we use it can be good or bad. Feeling of anger is not bad, only acting violently and cruelly on it is bad. We confuse a feeling with an action it may provoke. This misunderstanding makes us afraid of our own feelings so much that we avoid them. We simply don’t want to feel, because it can make us bad and nobody wants to be bad. So we judge feelings and justify actions by telling various stories about them.

I don’t have responsibility for a feeling appearing in me, but I have responsibility for my answer to it. I can answer by reacting to it or responding to it. A reaction is automatic, done without any reflection, it is based on fear (and it is valid sometimes too); a response is different – it is wise and mature and it comes from understanding and acceptance. To respond I need to listen to a feeling first, I need to be aware of it, connect to it. This attitude of mindful awareness creates some space and time that gives me possibility to choose, to choose a proper action, to choose a way I want to behave without hurting myself and others. Mindfulness changes approach to feelings; it makes them my friends not enemies. It allows me to live fully, because life is more felt than thought.

Be mindful.

I am surrounded by chaos/uncontrolled reality. It is rather difficult for me to live in a chaos; I need some order and structure to feel safe and secure. So from the very beginning of my life I scan my environment and filter all information in order to choose what is important and useful. I learn how to behave and act in order to survive. Growing up I create programs and patterns of behaviour that will keep me safe; they are like walls separating and protecting me from that chaos of life.

But a wall can be also an obstacle, a problem; it can not only protect me but prevent me from expanding and developing as well. What if I don’t need to be protected in the same way now as I had been protected three decades ago? I have changed but the walls are the same: so high and so strong that I hardly see any reality behind them.

So if I want to break free and change my life I need to do something about these walls- these programs. But before doing the work of changing my paradigm it would be advisable to have a peep at the reality, to see with my grown-up eyes what is in the here and now (not what I think it is) and start the work of creating new ME in coherence to the present moment. The direct way of seeing and experiencing
the reality is through meditation. It is the shortest way to being with the now. That’s why I meditate.

Every meditation is different; like every day is different. I plan my days but I approach meditation with no plan at all.

I don’t start meditation with a wish for a result or some benefits. I simply want to be with myself and to be a witness, a listener; somebody who knows nothing and hopes to be allowed to listen. It is a time when I don’t need to be in charge. I don’t need to be on guard for some “wrong” thought, feeling or behaviour. I simply want to hear what my energy system – called “the body” is communicating. The language it communicates in is non-verbal, so to hear it and understand it. I have to tune to this language. I have to feel.

So if there is anxiety and nervousness in me I feel it and allow it to be. I don’t advise it to calm down and be rational. If there is sadness and grief I accept it and allow it. I don’t ask it to look up and be cheerful. If there is anger and irritation I feel it and I allow it to shake or to tighten the jaw, I don’t order it to calm down and control itself. And when there is joy and happiness I cherish it with no comments.

I allow it all, whatever it is. This perspective takes off the pressure of expectations from whatever I feel and how it changes. I observe the change. I am non-active participant of this world. I am a benevolent companion to myself. I really enjoy this state so I put half an hour of meditation on my every day schedule.

Mindfulness is an awareness of what is in the here and now. Since we are trained to be aware of what can be in the future and what had been in the past we have lost this awareness of the present, we removed ourselves from the present. So to get in touch with the now our nervous system needs to be retrained and taught again how to be sensitive to the presence. It is essential to our lives since the life is happening now and nowhere else.

It simply takes mental training to be in touch with the now. And as any training it is done by repetition and practice. We accept that learning a skill like dancing, a new language or even cooking takes time and practice. But for some reason things like mindfulness and meditation should be acquired after one, single encounter or exercise. It is not enough to know about it, like it is not enough knowing about how to eat healthily; one has to do it and doing it once in a span of life won’t help a bit. Doing is work; is this work possible without effort and discipline?

I don’t like to be pressed to do things and a very word discipline makes my skin creep, so I don’t do meditation by discipline and order from my strong will. I don’t want to strong will myself to meditate. I want to do it with curiosity and interest, but even then I need to at least commit myself to it. I need to give it a chance and do it more than once. I need to find a portion of determination, willingness and curiosity to repeat it a few times. I simply choose it over other occupations.

At one point of my life I decided to do it, to spend some time every day learning meditation. Now it is part of my everyday life and it brings me peace and understanding of myself. I love meditation

I feel all the time, even if my mind doesn’t think about it. My body senses constantly the environment, my senses receive signals even if majority of them are ignored by my intelligent mind. The mind chooses those signals that for some reason are important to it and ignores others.

Why some are important and others are not is contained in a story of my life. Living is learning what is good for me and what is not, what is serving the purpose of survival and what is not, what should be hidden and ignored and what should be noticed.

Only that sometimes this knowledge becomes outdated, no longer valid or may be a burden to me, because it makes me behave in a way that no longer serves my best.

The mind got stuck to an old memory of an experience, created an idea around it and won’t leave it, and my nervous system created a protective behaviour around this experience and won’t leave it either. It simply will not recognize that the environment has changed, that I have grown and that these new circumstances need a different approach. So how to talk to this stubborn energy system, how to show and prove to it that what was thirty years ago is no longer here.
You know my answer: meditation, because meditation drops thinking and gets beck to seeing and sensing the environment as it is now, not years ago and not years in the future, but simply now.

And when I can see it as it is, if I can sense it as it is now, if I can be enlightened to the reality, it will be easier for me to shake off all these useless programs and behaviours of the past that simply blocks my life now. That’s why I meditate. It is the shortest and gentlest way to an important change.

Be aware of a story. The moment I realize that I am telling myself a story I know that I am not in the here any longer; I am away somewhere in the past or in the future watching an imaginary film. The moment I am aware of that I can choose: shall I stay in a story or shall I leave it and get into the presence, into the here and now.

I have been walking on the beach, enjoying beautiful weather; if I want to have a break from the busy every day, from planning and fixing and remembering what to do the beach is a great place to take such a break, a break from thinking. So I do my walking meditation on the beach. It means that I completely focus on the sensation my body perceives; I hear the sound of waves; I smell the freshness of the air, I feel my feet on the sand, step by step, just soaking in the sensations that this moment is bringing to me.

And then my mind sneaks in and after a moment I discover that I don’t see El Mar but a shopping list. My mind is attacking me with its stories: shopping story this time, so I remove myself from it getting back to the cold, grainy sensation of the sand under my feet. But the mind is here again, this time the subject of the story is more alluring; a dress I could buy for myself, I could even look quite well in it and maybe impress some people. This time the story my mind is telling me is very pleasant, entertaining, but I can take a step back from it and take it for what it is - another story. And I have a choice, I can stay with it or I can get back into the here and now.

Due to practice of meditation I am in position of choosing. I can easily realize that my mind is talking, and I can decide about the next step; do I want to stay in the story or do I want to leave it. I am in charge. I have more space to roam in. That’s why I love meditation.

Mindfulness is about connecting to the present. My physical body is always present and it is enough if I pay attention to this presence of my body; to what I see, feel and sense just now.

The modern person is quite often disconnected from the body, being glued to a virtual life of imagination and for the most part to an imagination of somebody else. The virtual world is being presented to us constantly, the never-ending stream of pictures, stories and sounds created somewhere by somebody in different time and space, not here and not now.

The overload of good and bad stories, seducing or scaring pictures, energizing or pacifying music – all this takes me away from the now and the here, and it can entertain and inform me but it also drives me crazy.

So to stay sane and connected I practice mindfulness. I redirect my attention towards that what I can taste, smell and touch now; I connect to the kinesthetic sense of my body; I feel that I am alive. I experience my existence now. It is so simple just to be. I AM

When I feel fear, anger, resentment or any other so called “negative” feeling I will do anything to escape these feelings. I will immediately manage them with thinking, telling stories about them, sometimes even blaming others or acting violently and automatically to avoid them. I will do anything not to feel them.

Somewhere in my past I was taught to suppress and control my feelings; maybe it was useful and necessary then. But I learned it so well that it blocked me and removed me from being in the here. It has put me on a racecourse between the past and the future. It stopped me from experiencing and appreciating the present moment. (Because these unwanted feelings were in the here, present inside me.)

Mindfulness is a remedy for that. It takes me back to the present and allows me to feel and to live my own, unique and rare life. It removes the fear of experiencing difficult, uncomfortable feelings. It creates safe space to approach these feelings. And when I can do it in meditation I allow them to move through my body, to find a right form, reconcile and become an integrated part of my human-beingness. I allow defensive energy of these feelings to become a creative force of my life. That’s why I love meditation.

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