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- adapted from Wei Wu Wei
When an artist looks at a slab of marble, he doesn’t see what needs to be created as much as what needs to be revealed. He chips away carefully, with technique and mastery, removing what doesn’t belong. Finally, with painstaking determination, he discovers the inherent beauty within the marble: An Exquisite Masterpiece.
This is an old Buddhist story that I’ve held close to my heart for many years. It reminds me that the meditative journey is about uncovering the beauty that lies within the heart and mind. For me, this practice is about truly finding our way to acceptance, understanding and compassion.
Recognize and Allow Everything: the inevitable pain and aging of the body, the behavioural habits in your mind that you believe to be true, the repetitive feelings that may cause you to act out in addiction or spiteful words, and stories entangled with memories, emotions and reactivity. If we can attend to these arenas of mind with clarity, honesty and kindness they lose their power. Then, gradually, we discover our true nature and live from an open and gentle heart.
Within this discovery is the ability to embody mindfulness – living fully in each moment the best we can.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is defined as moment-to-moment awareness of what is happening, with non-judgmental attention. We train to see the truth of each changing moment. Life is in constant flow or flux, and it is the same with our minds— shifting, creating, from one moment to the next. Using the breath as an anchor, mindfulness meditation helps the mind to settle and collect, eventually leading to the development of concentration or stability of mind. When the mind is relaxed and stable, there is a maturing of receptivity, or seeing clearly; from this relaxed and open state, mindfulness is born.
Mindfulness is an attitude of settling back into our experience of what is happening and observing it from a new perspective. When we are able to notice what is happening and not be so identified with what our present thoughts/ideas/emotions are, there is an opportunity to understand what is truly going on. Wisdom becomes available for us to see clearly the reality in each changing moment. It is from wisdom that deep understanding and transformation are cultivated, where compassion grows and letting go occurs.
This style of practice requires curiosity and energy, as we need to be constantly aware of the thoughts, beliefs, and stories in the mind. It requires us to not believe the contents of our minds but rather trust in mindfulness. Mindfulness has the capacity to remove the overlay of inner monologue, resting in natural spaciousness and reflection. It is a conscious presence to experience life as it is, inclining the heart and the mind to equanimity.